FAM Tours for Service Agencies
Working Group Two were in charge of “ensuring programs and networks are in place to support newcomers” and adopted the concept of Familiarization (FAM) Tours for service agencies. They established the logistics for delivering the program and recruited two lead agencies to host the first two FAM Tours, to be inaugurated in March 2016 (one in Penticton and one in Oliver). Supporting materials include a program rundown, sample communications, evaluation form, and an agency contact list. These materials will be reviewed following the tours, to evaluate what works and what is not working. The underlining intention is for the coordination of FAM tours to be simple, duplicable and open for any organisation to take lead. This shared collaboration will be key to building program longevity.
The word FAM is short for Familiarization. Familiarization Tours have been popular in the tourism industry, as a way to introduce tourism writers to the area. Leveraging this concept, there is a coordinated series of FAM Tours of local service agencies in our area. The goal is for staff members to have an opportunity to tour other agencies/organisations, and ultimately be in a better position to provide referrals when needed.
Front line support staff is met with numerous client challenges every day. Our organizations are dedicated and talented, however, we cannot be everything to everyone. By improving first hand knowledge of the agencies in our region, we will be better equipped to provide quality referrals when needed.
The first tour included four stops; South Okanagan Immigrant & Community Services, Martin Street Outreach Centre, South Okanagan Women in Need Society and the South Okanagan Victim Assistance Society. Eight front line staff, from various organizations, attended the tour. There are countless agencies in the area who are providing a wide range of services that we want to know more about. Our plan is to host several unique tours each year.
The SOS Local Immigration Partnership Council is a collaboration of 50 community leaders from across the region that are working to increase the pace of social and economic integration for new immigrants, a goal we all play a part in attaining. The LIP Council is led by South Okanagan Immigrant & Community Services with funding from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.