Summer at the 'shop

Appalshop is suddenly brimming with new energy! Lots of summer interns have arrived, and all this good weather certainly is keeping everyone in a good mood!

I'm feeling good about my decision to stay on longer. I feel like a lot of the projects I've been working on all year are just now coming to fruition, which is no time to leave! And I just get busier by the day, so I might as well stick around and get some of these new ideas and concepts going!

I finished creating our work plan, which was very helpful in getting us to think about what skills and assets each of us have and how to best move forward. I'm excited to be doing more work coordinating our volunteers and helping grassroots groups develop campaigns around their own goals. I'm working with a woman in the Virgin Islands to help them develop a campaign to bring VI prisoners who are currently housed in Virginia back home to the VI and to stop interstate contracts that allow for prisoners to be shipped across the country. You can check out the blog that they've created to get some idea of the work they're doing. And the post at the top about being on the radio is how they've been teaming with us so far. We have this radio program that allows them a way to connect with their loved ones up here in Appalachia.

The migration to the CRM SalesForce database is moving slowly. Our old FileMakerPro database computer has crashed (major virus), so we're struggling to migrate all our contacts. and also trying to figure out the best way to customize the new database to fit our needs. We're still on the lookout for a consultant to aid us in this, so if you know anyone, please let me know!

The online social networking stuff continues to aid our work. I've been twittering and we've developed a pretty good following, though it would be great to have even more followers! Check us out at And I finally made us a facebook page (moving from just having a group), which is exciting because it means that people can more easily read about what we're doing. Become a fan!

Let's see. I'm also preparing for our intern to arrive next week. And then we're bringing on a new VISTA member, Andy, to start working with us in July. So a lot of my work in the next month is going to be around preparing work flow charts and organizing our lives here so that we can seemlessly move into having a third staff member.

On another note, if anyone is interested in going to a a great festival next weekend, come down to Appalshop! It's Appalshop's annual Seedtime on the Cumberland. Music, crafts, food, literary readings, dancing, watermelon seed spitting, jamming. It's gonna be a great time!