Metro Regional Cabinet Meeting
Location: Mount Saint Vincent University
Time of commencement: 19:10
Time of Adjournment: 21:35
Duration: Two Hours and Twenty-Five minutes
Present Voting Members: Katie Bates, Becca MacAulay, Brooke Betyna, Jasmine Metzler, Alex Torrealba, DJ Shuman, Kailey Webber, Emily Webb, Ella Stacey, Mitchell Aguinaga, Matthew Boutilier, Cameron Fiander, Isabelle Parmiter, Emily Robichaud, Renee McLeod
Present Non-Voting Members: Anna Gaudet, Jeremy Scallion, Quinn MacIsaac, Julia Lawrence
Regrets: Qendresa Sahiti, Youna McGowan, Bleona Sahiti, Julia Gonzales
General Statements: Everyone on Cabinet went around an was given the opportunity to provide a general statement regarding the Metro Regional Conference held the weekend of November 10-11. Becca felt that conference ran smoothly because Cabinet worked hard to maintain good communication. Isabelle thought the conference was great. She liked that the people who were on Cabinet last year ensured that the issues found last year were improved. It was Mitchell’s first Metro Regional Conference and he would not change his experience for anything. Ella relayed Julia G’s statement for her was she could not attend the meeting. Julia says that everything at conference went well and she got good feedback about the keynote speaker. Ella really liked how organised Cabinet was. She is very proud. Renee felt that Blossom 2018 went really smoothly and she liked it better than past conferences. She is happy that the risks taken by Cabinet with all of the changes made turned out to be worth it in the end. Emily W. liked seeing the conference come together. Emily R. thought the communication was good. She had people tell her that Blossom 2018 was their favourite Metro conference. Kailey was really happy with this year’s conference. Matt found that overall everything went great. Cameron believes the conference went well operationally and was a big success. The only issue he had was the technological issues which were out of the Cabinet’s control. DJ enjoyed seeing the change in his school’s Students’ Council since the conference. Quinn felt that Cabinet did well with interpersonal communication and all of their hard work paid off. He is very proud. Anna G. noticed how any issues that arose were immediately dealt with. Alex was happy with everything. Jasmine was so unbelievably proud of this conference. She found that it did not seem like there were big problems. Brooke enjoyed seeing people enjoy themselves at conference. Katie felt that Cabinet was stressed and nervous the night before conference, but everything worked out. Blossom 2018 was Jeremy’s 19th conference and they tend to get repetitive. This conference really stood out. Most conferences have one thing that goes wrong and stands out, but there was nothing. As an advisor, Julia L. found that it was her favourite conference. She felt that Cabinet worked as a family.
FRAME: Throughout the debrief, cabinet followed the guidelines of FRAME. F is for Focus. Cabinet takes a large, broad topic and breaks it into smaller more focused sections. R is for Reflect. This is time to think about and discuss the issues of the focused topic during conference. A is for Assess/Action. Assess is a look at how the reflected topics panned out. Action discusses how to improve on those issues in future conferences and events. M is for Mediate. This is a chance to weigh the positives and negatives. E is for Evaluate which completes the reflective process and changes to make based on the assessments made. FRAME is a tool to guide reflection and allows Cabinet to dig deeper.
Focus: Zello, Communication between cabinet and participants, and Security.
Reflect: Katie found that Zello worked well, but sometimes questions were not answered before other questions were asked which left them unanswered. Matt mentioned that since only one person can talk at a time, made it hard to say something or ask a question. Cameron found that Zello’s dependance on Wifi caused issues when the Wifi cut out. When it was loud in the auditorium, Ella found that it was hard to hear. Emily R. mentioned that headphones are definitely a requirement when using Zello. The Public Relations made a group line and it helped them with communication, especially during Engagement Sessions. Emily W liked how when individuals really needed someone they would just call them individually. Quinn thought that Zello was better than Walkie-Talkies. He liked how messages can be replayed. Becca thinks that Zello was a good tool over Walkie-Talkies because everyone could use it whereas Cabinet cannot get enough Walkie-Talkies for everyone which caused certain members to be out of the loop. Emily R. found that Zello was instantaneous and a really good tool for communication. Mitchell found that Cabinet looked unprofessional with the headphones in the ear as it can be perceived as disrespectful. Julia L. found that Zello drained phone battery.
Assess/Action: Renee suggested when Cabinet does their introductions at Opening Ceremonies, they should make it known that the headphones are for communication purposes. Becca said that it would be a great time to say that if someone needs anything they can find someone on Cabinet. Anna mentioned that Walkie-Talkies are used as an identification device, but the switch helps out with levelling out as Walkie-Talkies tend to look like Cabinet is more important than delegates. Alex suggested seperate lines should be made beforehand for each position or the people that they know they will have to get a hold of. Before conference, Cameron thinks the Co-Premiers should have conversation with Mount Saint Vincent University regarding having more reliable internet access. He also mentioned that Zello uses very little data. DJ wondered if it could be an option to not give the delegates the Wifi. But, since Cabinet encourages promotion on social media it would not make sense to not provide internet access. The Snapchat filter was heavily used at conference, which means that it was also viewed by people who did not attend conference. It is a good promotional tool. Cameron suggested that should Cabinet use Zello again, the 3-Tions and Logistics should create their own line.
Communication with Conference Attendees
Reflect: The Skillbuilding Co-Chairs found that the text service, “Remind” worked really well for communication with the Skillbuilders. Matt found that Delegates did not always check in with their advisors, so that may be something that needs to be communicated better. The 3-Tions felt that they needed a section in their turnover explaining how to sign delegates out early. Ella noticed that the students from Citadel High School did not know who their advisor was. It is really important to make sure attendees know who their advisors are. Anna felt that at times Cabinet did not use great manners when telling delegates rules. For example; when telling them not to run during Epic and when telling them to listen up. Conference attendees did not seem to know their parameters. Jasmine found that they had to remind them multiple times during meal time to check in with their advisors. Matt thinks that it was not made clear to delegates who could take them to places outside of where the whole group was. Cameron found that sometimes Cabinet would raise their voices without the need to. Quinn agreed and added that sometimes Cabinet’s communication to attendees was not always the most respectful. He reminded Cabinet that if it is someone’s first conference they might not know the structure and rules. Emily R agrees that sometimes Cabinet may not have been the most respectful, but delegates were not always either. They would be places they were not supposed to be, and were sometimes rude when told what to do. Quinn said the only behaviour that is controllable is the individual’s. Cabinet just needs to be always doing the best they can.
Assess/Action: Katie suggests for future conferences having advisors wear the colours or merchandise of the school they are representing to make them more identifiable. Anna found the worst for people leaving unaccompanied was during meal times. Cabinet should always be setting an example and not do anything that the delegates would be told the cannot. Cam said that the 3-Tion turnover package should include a rigid procedure for early sign outs with a list of what to do. They should communicate that in the confirmation email as well. Quinn said the Cabinet should be integrating with delegates. He also suggested creating communication itineraries for each position with who they need to communicate with and when. This will ensure that all information is being communicated well. Renee agrees with Quinn, she says it’s important to make those connections. DJ said that 4 people from his school decided to perform in the Talent Show because Renee made those connections. Emily W. suggested that everything should be outlined for who explains each piece of important information at the Opening Ceremonies. Ella said that Cabinet should explain how to identify the Cabinet and Alumni. Isabelle suggested explaining the Eight Key Concepts at Opening Ceremonies. Also, she thinks it would be a good idea to have all of the Logistics introduce themselves. Anna thinks the “Pinnies” were a great idea, but fell short in practice. The Logistics and Chaperones should get shirts next year. 3-Tions and the Welcoming Co-Chairs should have communicated better about emails sent to participants as both of their emails had very similar information.
Reflect: Katie gave a shout out to the Mount Saint Vincent University Security for always being kind and accommodating. Jasmine mentioned that for the last Skillbuilding session the doors were locked. Cam said that it was frustrating that they could not keep the door unlocked. Anna feels that conference attendees should not walk through the Library as there were complaints from the Library staff. She suggests that everyone walks outside.
Assess: DJ suggested making a schedule of when the doors need to be unlocked. Quinn was confused as to why they cannot keep them unlocked. Cabinet discovered that the doors were locked for the last Skillbuilding session when the delegates did. For future events, someone should go check the doors before the delegates leave for Skillbuilding session. This will give Cabinet time to call Security and give them time to arrive. Renee mentioned that if someone calls security, that should be relayed to everyone on Cabinet to avoid multiple calls to Security. Ella said that Skillbuilders should be sent to their rooms before delegates so they can get ready for their session. Should the rooms all be locked, Renee suggests that Cabinet uses triage to prioritize which doors should be unlocked first. For example, First Aid and Mental Health First Aid would be very important rooms to unlock. Cabinet should all have the phone number in their contacts to reach the Mount Saint Vincent University security.
Focus: How Cabinet woke people up, explanation of room options, washrooms, bag storage.
How to Wake People Up
Reflect: When Katie was going around waking people up, she heard that there were horror stories being told about how Cabinet wakes delegates up. This caused them to be up before Cabinet got there. Katie heard good things about how Cabinet decided to wake them up, and the song choice. Cabinet should be using soft music during wake up at future conferences.
Explanation of Room Options
Reflect/Assess: Cameron said some people may not have understood what each room means and it made registration slower. Last year there were people who abused the Open Spectrum room and that did not happen this year. Anna said that there was a little bit of a language barrier when explaining rooms. She suggests since there were forms made in different languages, Cabinet should also consider finding a way to communicate the rooming options in different languages. Cameron said the Open Spectrum room tends to be communicated as a gender neutral space, but it’s also a space for people who feel like they would be more comfortable in a less populated space. He mentioned that having the Chaperones explain rooms while people were waiting to register made the registration process a lot smoother. Anna had noticed the Masculine Spectrum and Open Spectrum storage room was bigger than the one for Feminine Spectrum. As there are more conference attendees who identify as female than those who identify as male, it would make sense to give the Feminine Spectrum the bigger storage room.
Reflection: In the morning, Cameron noticed that there were girls in the male washroom. The primary concern is how it could cause discomfort for people who identify as male. It could also be a source of discomfort for Mount Saint Vincent University students.
Actions: Renee said that since there are so many females and only one washroom near the room, they should be able to have access to the male washroom to speed up the time to get ready in the morning. She suggested having someone monitor the washroom in case a male needs to use it. Cameron suggested communicating where all of the washrooms are, including the Gender Neutral ones. Katie said that creating more Gender Neutral spaces could be something that the Co-Premiers next year can discuss with Mount Saint Vincent University. Renee suggested making signs to help people locate washrooms.
Reflect: Delegates should not bring valuables to conference. In the past, Valuables have been stored in a storage room by the Multi Purpose Room. Renee said that it should be suggested that people write their name on all of their belongings, so they cannot be misplaced, lost, or accidentally stolen.
Action: Cameron suggested making a list of everything that has been left behind before Cabinet leaves the University. This would ensure that if anyone got an email from someone looking for an item, the member of Cabinet would be able to answer quickly. Katie said in the future they could organize the items in the storage room by last name. For example, everyone with last names commencing with A-L would place their belongings on one side of the room.
Cabinet Room: If the Cabinet room is near where delegates are sleeping, they should be mindful when having conversations after lights out. The room should be located away from where others are sleeping, as Cabinet does have to meet after everyone has gone to bed.
Turnovers: Cabinet should look over these minutes again, when working on their positional Turnover Package. This is due on July 1st, 2019.
Demographic: Cameron made visual graphs to show the demographics of registered participants. This allows the Metro Regional Cabinet to look at where they need to direct their promotion towards. Blossom 2018 had 189 registered Delegates and Skillbuilders. Sir. John A. MacDonald High School sent the most students, but Eastern Shore District High School had the highest percentage of participants sent based on their school population. Dartmouth High School and Halifax West High School could be focal points for promotion next year. Attention also needs to be given to students in grade nines. No one in grade nine that attends a junior high school attended conference. Cameron thinks Cabinet should discuss ways to get students in grade nine more involved as Cabinet may not be giving them the best opportunity to. Hosting a grade nine conference might be a good idea to consider. Anna said that it was hard to get junior high schools involved last year. Anna feels that junior high schools should get their own conference to cater to their needs. Ella said that if the Metro Regional Cabinet were to host a grade nine conference, they should divide up the Head School Representatives promotional workload. Katie said that as a School Representative, she enjoyed promoting to junior high schools and believes that it would be a great lesson for the School Representatives in professionalism. The date for a grade nine conference cannot interfere with any provincial conferences.
Use of Space: Jeremy felt that registration was held up because the feminine spectrum had to backtrack to their storage room, as it is located before registration. Also, he felt that having the registration for Engagement Sessions right after the registration with the 3-Tion caused a jam in the flow of Delegates. Fixing said issue would make registration quicker and improve the Delegates first impression of conference. He believes that this issue can be resolved by using the spaces booked in Rosaria more efficiently. For example, the open area on the second floor of Rosaria could be used for the Public Relations to do registration for Engagement Sessions. This would create a larger gap between the two lines and would allow everyone to drop off their bags before continuing with the rest of conference. It also guides people to the Multi Purpose Room for the welcoming activity, and would reduce the number of delegates who linger outside of that room. Another improvement to make would be to use the Multi Purpose Room more efficiently. This year it was used for meeting Skillbuilders, the welcoming activity, the masculine spectrum sleeping room, and the wake-up activity. He believes that a much better use of the space would be to use it as the feminine spectrum storage and sleeping room. This would eliminate the messiness of this year’s storage room for those who identified on the feminine spectrum. He suggest using the largest room available for the largest demographic of Metro’s attendees.
Motion to Adjourn: DJ motioned to adjourn the meeting and Ella seconded said motion. Motion passed, meeting adjourned.
Date of Next Meeting: TBD