My life as a Combined Federal Campaign Overseas representative
September 12, 2013
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany - I stared at the email in my inbox with a slight mix of curiosity and alarm. I read the message again, this time aloud. Yep, I had been tasked. The email was sent to inform me that I would be serving as my unit's designated Combined Federal Campaign-Overseas representative for this year. I wondered how much extra time this was going to take from my work schedule and most importantly, what exactly does a CFC --O rep actually do?
Thankfully, I also received another email saying there would be mandatory training session. This was a good thing because other than donating, I knew pretty much nothing about CFC-O. I'm also not a big fan of online training, so it was a relief to know that I would get to sit down with a live person to learn the lowdown on my new duty.
When I was in the military, I remember being herded into some random conference room for a briefing on CFC and being told why I should give. Most of the time the briefing was given by our unit CFC rep who read verbatim from his or her Power Point deck. Other times we just watched a video and prayed to be done before lunch.
Afterwards, a paper pledge card would mysteriously show up on my desk. This was an ultimate fail. Anyone who knows me, knows that my desk is pretty much a black hole (most of the time), especially when I'm on deadline. Stuff goes in, but it doesn't always come back out. A pledge form was no exception.
I knew how important contributing to CFC was, but after nearly a decade of federal service, it almost became a checking the block kind of thing. So becoming a rep actually forced me to do some research on the campaign and how it actually works. As a CFC-O rep, I would be responsible for directly contacting my co-workers about the campaign, assisting them as needed with questions and submitting their completed pledge forms.
On the way to training, my first thoughts were please no Power Point slides. I haven't had any coffee or Red Bull and this could be bad. Also please let me get a good seat so I can actually hear and see what's going on. If I can't, I may be tempted to text, tweet and balance my checkbook- all at the same time. Most of the reps present at the training were Soldiers. So I quickly found a spot near the front and tried to blend in, civilian clothes and all.
Our facilitator and campaign manager (Europe), Samantha Barrett, was pleasant, knowledgeable and best of all she had an English accent. Whenever I hear an accent, it makes me want to actually listen so it was win-win situation all around. She answered our questions with real answers (that actually made sense) and without reading from a training manual.
I always have questions about everything (it's what I do), so that earned her a gold star right away. We did have Power Point slides but we moved through them relatively quickly so everyone was able to remain awake.
The point of contact for the Kaiserslautern Army Community Capt Kyle McKemy, spoke with us and provided instructions on how we would submit our unit pledges.
He also introduced us to a few more of his colleagues spread out across the different Army installations here. It was good to be able to put a face with a name. What I liked most about the training was the fact that it provided me with a list of different resources and reference materials to help with questions or concerns. I'm not one of those people who can remember everything, especially if it involves Power Point slides and sitting longer than half an hour.
All and all, I honestly did learn quite a few things from the training and I realized that whatever your role is, CFC-O is time and money well-spent. I encourage everyone (CFC reps included) to take an opportunity to learn about the campaign and donate to one of the more than 2500 international, national and local charities.
This year's campaign runs from Sept. 16- Nov. 15. For more info check out http://cfcoverseas.org/