Au Pair Monthly Meetings!
One reason I decided to become a local coordinator is because I wanted to support the local au pairs and create a strong local hosting community here in Southlake! I love getting to know everyone, hearing your stories, celebrating your successes, being there for you during difficult times and watching you become even more strong and confident young women and men over the course of your time here!
The majority of time I spend with au pairs is during the monthly meetings and since we are about to kick off a new school year and get back into the normal routine I thought it would be a good time to post a reminder (or if you are new or just joining the group – expectations) and talk about au pair monthly meeting etiquette!
1. Meetings are mandatory and au pairs must attend at least 10 meetings per year to be compliant with the program contract. From the au pair contract you signed: “You are required to attend all meetings during your year, and the only exceptions to this rule are if you are sick, on vacation or if there is a host family emergency. If you do not fulfill the requirements you may be considered in violation of the terms of your visa.” Keep in mind the meetings are for your benefit and because Cultural Care and the Department of State want to make sure that I am seeing you in person every month to make sure you are safe and well and have the opportunity to talk to me about anything you might need (in addition to doing fun things, making friends, meeting new au pairs, finding out about local events and deals and all the other things that happen at monthly meetings). My au pairs will tell you that I spend A LOT of time planning meetings to try and make sure they are as fun, interactive, and experiencial as possible and my au pairs determine where we go and what we do so you have a voice in the process!
2. Failure to attend will result in an incomplete on your program contract. You will be reported to the Program Director and Compliance Officer and an email will be sent to your host family notifying them. This is the LAST thing I want to do/deal with so just come to the meetings and save us both the drama! 🙂 I will do everything I can to help you prevent this from happening.
3. There is a monthly meeting every month posted on the Southlake Area FB page, on my website under events and I send reminders on the WhatsApp group so there should never be a question as to when or where the next meeting is! I usually post the meetings 3 months in advance so everyone has plenty of time to schedule around (you cannot be scheduled to work during a monthly meeting) and arrange transportation (your host family is responsible for transportation to and from monthly meetings and any costs associated). I also send a monthly reminder email to the host families of the upcoming meetings.
4. Two (2) meetings can be excused for the above reasons with pre-approval from your LCC. YOU are responsible for telling me PRIOR to the meeting that you will be unable to attend. Otherwise the expectation is that everyone will be attending so we will be expecting you! Do not make us late or make us wait for you!
5. Related to the last point – be on time! I always allow the au pairs to arrive up to 30 minutes early to the meetings in case they need to talk to me about anything or want to get some extra social time. 🙂 The meetings start at the stated time and you are expected to be there, checked in and ready to go at that time. If you are going to be close on time please let me know in advance so we can plan for it. In the United States there is a saying that on time is late and early is on time. If you show up late the message is that your time is more valuable than everyone else’s time and it is considered very rude. Texans will likely tell you don’t worry about it or no problem because they are very nice and tend to forgive easily but I want to be very honest and help you and tell you that showing up a few minutes early is the expectation and will get you respect and more future invitations!
6. Try to speak in English only during the meetings. It is good practice and allows us to have larger group conversations and keeps others from feeling excluded. If you have a question or don’t understand it is totally ok to ask for help.
7. While most of my meetings are free or low cost, if there is a cost for the meeting it must be covered by the au pair. The only costs covered by the host family are transportation or parking. There are some larger events that we do (Rangers baseball game, Billy Bob’s, Rodeo, ICE!) so a good practice would be to budget $10-20 per month for meetings and you should be covered.
8. To receive credit for the meeting, you must be on time, participate, and stay until the end of the meeting.
9. You must participate in some form or fashion. You cannot be on your phone, laptop, iPad, or anything else. The point of the meeting is to participate!
10. You must meet any new au pairs who have arrived! If there is a new au pair to the area, you must introduce yourself!
Easy right? My theory is that I try to be as open, receptive, and accessible as possible. If you want me to respond and show up for you, you need to respond and show up for me! This is the only thing I will ask of you during your program term. Now let’s make this year great!
Thursday, 2 August 2018 1:22 PM