Helpertunity, our organization which supports recreation, education, and volunteer activities for elderly, disabled, and homeless persons, was recently welcomed to collaborate with a local informal organization of classic car enthusiasts. The group hosts a monthly car show they call “Saturday Cruise Night” at a local shopping center called “Victoria Plaza” in Apopka, Florida.
Classic Car Show attendees have long used their gatherings to provide a Social-Constructivist Learning Environment for novice car re-furbishers and owners, and enjoy the camaraderie of one another’s company as well as the Self-efficacy which arises from the chance to collect prizes for their attendance and participation in an event (Noe, 2013, p. 130). Helpertunity’s efforts, with the ongoing program, are to educate attendees and the public on the value of their Classic Car Hobby, as it relates to the Therapeutic-Recreation Interests of Elders who live in Nursing Homes and Care Facilities. Helpertunity also holds a Stakeholder Interest in overall Public Relations with the Plaza Owner who helps to cover event hosting expenses, and the Plaza Tenants, who hope to gain increased customer revenue. Helpertunity aids in providing a Non-Profit entity to the group and event, which can increase good-will, donations, and raffle participation.
In order to conduct a “Rapid Needs Assessment” for the event, Helpertunity must use what it already knows about the Baby-Boomer and Traditionalist Generations, in conjunction with what it already understands about Small-Business and Retail Property Owners (Noe, 2013, p 131). The goal of each stakeholder group is to create an enjoyable recreational-socialization experience, while also increasing the opportunity for financial gain. Current organizational development and performance issues relate to measurement metrics which focus on event attendance, and the desire for greater incentives which encourage and reward attendance and participation. Without expanding or complicating the event beyond the capacity of the volunteer coordinators time or the donating sponsors’ budgets, there are ways in which Helpertunity may be able to increase participant and sponsor satisfaction, across the board, by integrating observations, interviews, and surveys which are conducted in a recreational game-based manner (Noe, 2013, p 142-143).
By assisting as an intermediary non-profit organization, Helpertunity may also be able to work with the current event-coordinator, through a more in-depth interview process, to assess how the organization might positively impact such areas as: increased print and digital media; initiation of social-media presence and promotion, increased publicity; increased prize acquisition, distribution and variety; increased prize-satisfaction through award-presentation methodology; increased participation and satisfaction for the general public; and increased awareness and participation of Classic Car Owners in community-service and volunteer capacities which relate to their interest (Noe, 2013, p. 143). Early design ideas point to the possible inclusion of a “Plaza-Patron Scavenger-Hunt Bingo-Card Game,” which would unify incentives onto a one-page bingo board, and allow for additional recognition, incentives, and awards to participants. Such participation in this type of experiential-learning could further participants transfer of cognitive understanding and skills practice, in regards to Therapeutic Recreation and Activities as a professional service, for a learning outcome.
Noe, E. R. (2013). Employee Training and Development. Sixth Edition. New York: McGraw Hill.