By: Madeleine Arseneau and Baylee Rubinoff
Madeleine is the Association Development Advisor for OSCIA and has been with the organization for only a few short months. Madeleine is working on her Masters of Science in Capacity Development and Extension at the University of Guelph where she examines the role of education and extension services in the adoption of climate-smart soil practices. Madeleine is happy to start her career in agriculture with such a renowned organization.
Baylee is the IT Business Analyst with OSCIA and has been in the role since October 2021. Previously, she worked with OSCIA in the role of Association Development Advisor, since joining the organization in March of 2021. Baylee holds a Masters’ degree in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from the University of Guelph and brings her education and experiences to coordinate OSCIA IT projects, in collaboration with internal and external teams.
This year has seen many changes and updates including the launch of the Mobile Soil Technology Suite, an improved membership platform, local constitution updates, new training sessions, and much more. We are excited to continue working with the Board of Directors, and local and regional associations to continuously improve the OSCIA membership experience.
Since our last update, we have successfully launched four editions of The Innovator and countless weekly Grassroots Matters e-blasts. Grassroots Matters is a revamp of the former News and Views e-blast into an updated, easy to read format. These materials allow us to easily share agricultural information and research with our membership.
There have been a number of updates to most local constitutions. These changes reflect the improvements OSCIA has been making including growing our list of membership benefits, increasing access to information and research, and clarifying and streamlining association volunteers’ roles and responsibilities. Our most notable change, addressed with the constitution update, has been the increase of membership fees for 2023. This increase will allow the local and provincial associations to offer improved programs and events for members.
Excitement continues to grow for the Mobile Soil Technology Suite (MSTS) for the 2022 year. With our calendar open for bookings, we are looking forward to increasing access to research and knowledge at events across the province. Over the past year, the MSTS attended several OSCIA local association events, Crop Stop, and two ONFARM events near Guelph. We are thrilled with the soft launch success, given the restrictions we faced due to the pandemic. If you are interested in learning more about the MSTS or would like to use it for your 2022 event, please contact email@example.com.
Our Regional Communication Coordinator Winter Training Session, with representatives across the province, allowed us to discuss our communications materials, and brainstorm ideas to provide value to our membership. For those local and regional associations interested in participating in a virtual training session, here is a list of the current workshops offered:
- Membership Platform training
- Board Governance Training
- Secretary-Treasurer Training
- Recruiting and Retaining Members
- Running a Successful Meeting
- Conducting Interviews and Elections
As always, be sure to check out our training modules for a range of topics and workshops: (https://www.ontariosoilcrop.org/association/skills-development/).
This year came with a redesign to the membership platform, bringing the platform into the OntarioSoilcrop.org website, under the OSCIA managed environments. This platform migration provided us with the opportunity to work with our local associations to reconcile incomplete records, and provided users with the ability to manage their information and memberships, as well as access previous editions of The Innovator. To date, over 250 members have renewed and paid for their 2022 membership online!
Finally, we are excited to announce the launch of our Supporting Partners Program, at the end of February. This program will allow us to identify partners in the community to provide financial support or in-kind support to the Association and work towards growing and improving our many programs. If you are aware of potential partners, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.