GUIDELINES FOR PATHWAYS LAUNCH IN DISTRICT 65
By Sam Mehta, DTM, Pathways Chief Ambassador & Guide
Around May 15, 2018, Pathways learning experience program is anticipated to come to District 65. How can we as members in our clubs become ready to welcome Pathways?
Strong planning and a proactive approach will help make the Pathways roll-out a success:
To begin with, you need to plan, prepare and participate, to the fullest extent in all aspects of the pathways program. This includes  Plan to welcome the team of Pathways Guides and Ambassadors to visit your club and make a presentation.  Prepare yourself in Pathways by logging in to the TI’s and district 65 websites and familiarizing yourself with resources and information about Pathways program as much as possible.  Participate by logging into the Pathways program and take the initial assessment in the selection of paths, immediately after the roll-out.
In addition to planning, preparation, and participation, add another “p” word: patience. Starting any new program of this magnitude requires a period of adjustment. Pathways is designed to be convenient and user-friendly; however, new users still need time to feel and get comfortable, especially if they’re not as experienced with working online. (Base Camp, the program’s learning management system, is online, however you do have the option of working in Pathways online or in print.) Also, remember that Base Camp provides tutorials and videos that offer step-by-step instructions.
Joint club visit by Pathways Guide and Ambassador
Pathways will be rolled out by region and not by district. District 65 is in Region 9 along with five other districts. The roll-out date for Region 9 is anticipated to be around May 15, 2018. Before a region launches Pathways, most of its clubs will be visited by a Pathways Guide and a Pathways Ambassador. These two member volunteers will deliver a presentation about the learning experience, helping club members prepare to work in the new program. The visits are crucial—they help set up members for early success in the program. In district 65, the visits will begin during the last week of March 2018 and continue throughout the months of April and May 2018. It is anticipated that some 98+% of the clubs in district 65 will be visited by May 15, 2018 – the anticipated roll-out out date for Region 9. Pathways Guides and Ambassadors in district 65 have done an excellent job in cooperation with respective club leaders in planning and scheduling of the club visits. The presentation at the clubs is anticipated to take about an hour, including Q&A. All club leaders are requested in addition to providing adequate time for the Pathways Guide and Ambassador visits, to make sure that all club members are made aware of this presentation and that the members attend this presentation in large numbers.
Subsequent virtual visits by Pathways Guides
Immediately following the joint-club visit, Pathways Guides will plan and schedule the virtual support sessions, primarily with the club’s Vice President Education [the Base Camp Manager under Pathways] who will be responsible for managing, monitoring, and approving speeches and projects related activities of its members. The President of the club as well as the club’s secretary will also be responsible for the above-mentioned tasks and will participate in the virtual support sessions, where practical and feasible. Virtual sessions are designed to provide hands-on opportunity to learn and function, primarily in Base Camp. The Leadership of all clubs in the district and especially the VP Education is requested to show a great amount of flexibility in scheduling the virtual sessions with the Pathways Guides. Please remember that each Pathways Guide is responsible for training and support as many as ten clubs in the virtual sessions. Pathways Ambassadors will also continue to be available to answer questions and direct the members to resources and links available, including a variety of tutorials. Various communication platforms such as Teleconference, Skype, WhatsApp, Group Chat, Webex, Zoom, Join.me, and others will be used to make the virtual sessions productive and practical for all.
Clubs in District 65 will be having the club officers elections in the first meeting in May. During this period, Pathways is also anticipated to be rolled out in the district. Whether your club holds club officers elections, or appoints officers or ask for volunteers, please make sure that under Pathways, the responsibility of VP Education changes significantly. The VP Education as the Base Camp Manager will need to direct, support, and help club members function in the Base Camp. Make sure that this position is held by a club member who is tech-savvy and familiar with working in an online environment.
Jump in and Explore
Pathways is self-directed and self-paced learning program. Those club members who become more proficient in using Pathways, are requested to help and support their fellow club members, some of who may initially fall behind for not having worked in an online environment. The spirit of members helping members remain not only unchanged in Toastmasters but becomes crucial during Pathways smooth transition.
When Pathways is rolled out in our district, be sure to enroll immediately. Begin a project and start learning. If you still want to finish some work in the traditional education program, please fee to do so. You do not have to stop working in the traditional program once you start Pathways.
Current members can work in the traditional as well as Pathways programs, if they so desire, for the transition period of two years from the time Pathways rolls out in our district, which translates roughly to end of June 2020. This is the transition period. However, new members who join clubs after Pathways roll-out will only be able to work in Pathways. After the transition period ends, every member will work in Pathways.
I encourage all club members in district 65 to enroll in Pathways early rather than taking a wait-and-see approach. Club officers can lead the way by enrolling early on to set an example at each of the clubs. It makes it easier to convince members to join if the club’s officers are enrolled and actively participating in Pathways.
Pathways is a journey best traveled with fellow club members. Please do not hesitate to start your Pathways journey, instead be ready to jump in and explore.
Sam Mehta, DTM,
Pathways Chief Ambassador & Guide
March 21, 2018