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Leadership

Answer People

by Tanja Swanson, President Oregon State Federation of Garden Clubs
March 21, 2020

                                                                        ANSWER PEOPLE

 

In Klamath Falls, Oregon, we have something that I think every community should have!  It is a group of people, who call themselves “Answer People”.  They started here more than 25 years ago and consist of people from the Bureau of Land Management, the library, the forest service, fish and wildlife, but also the Garden Club, the bowling alley, park and neighborhood organizations, youth clubs.  Anybody who is interested can join.  Every month they get together and hold a round robin meeting, everyone gets a turn to talk.

The Answer People’s goal is twofold: 

  • One is connecting with each other, seeing what is going on and how we can work together on projects.  When someone in the community has a question, we do not always know the answer, but we do know who does! 
  • Two:  The other object is to improve customer service.   Every time someone encounters especially good service, we send a “Pat-on-the-Back” to their supervisors and publish that in the local paper.  Once a year we invite these recipients to a special luncheon where we honor them again.

There are more than 100 people and organizations involved in Answer People.  Not all attend every meeting but everyone on the list gets the monthly e-mail with the notes from the meetings.  Once a year we get an updated booklet with all the contact information from everyone involved.

Best of all, it doesn’t cost anything.  Members take turns hosting meetings at their business or at the library meeting room and provide light snacks.

I think this is such a smart way of connecting with each other, I think every community should have an Answer People group!

As a garden club representative, I have made some very interesting contacts.  A local youth organization: “Youth Rising” has been helping us out with different projects and I would love to make them an official youth club.  The other day I was talking about my special project “Nature Playgrounds” and someone from Fish and Wildlife was very enthusiastic and provided me with interesting links.  He had built these parks back East and he wondered how else he could help!!

It is always good to hear what the other organizations are up to and how we can collaborate on events.

Tanja Swanson, President Oregon State Federation of Garden Clubs 


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