January 31, 2013

New Ombuds at Kidsports Blog About Their Work

Earlier this month, Jeff Sather and Cody Johnson began an internship as Ombuds for Kidsports, a youth sports organization in Eugene, Oregon. Both are working toward a Master's Degree in conflict and dispute resolution at the University of Oregon. The two have been blogging about their experiences, which may be insightful for other new and aspiring Ombuds.

Their first task has been introducing themselves and getting to know the stakeholders. Sather writes:
The Ombudsman must work hard to become a known and trusted entity for all stakeholders to talk to. This means that I have to go out of my way to engage the staff, parents, and coaches in a way that makes them feel certain that I care about their problems. I have begun speaking to the staff at Kidsports on a regular basis and just asking questions about their role in the organization, what seems to give them problems, and generally just checking in with them. What I have noticed is that there will inevitably be conflicts in their daily lives that they would like to talk about. If I can listen to them, ask questions, and give them some bits of helpful advice on how to manage some of their daily interactions it is a start in creating a good rapport. 
Johnson says that this initial outreach has already paid off:
As a result, a few intakes indeed came into our office, and we had our first conflicts to solve! Due to confidentiality, I can't specify what these conflicts entail and who they involve, but we did get one solved and another is in the process. Its such a rewarding, feel-good experience to help people in this way. 
So far, they seem to be blogging every week.  (Slather's Blog; Johnson's Blog; Kidsports Ombuds.)

Related posts: University of Oregon to Provide Ombuds for Local Youth Sports Program; Recent Conflicts Highlight Role of Kidsports Ombuds.

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