Program Coordination Check List Weekends

Program Coordination Check List Weekends


Program Coordination Check List - Weekends

(Last revised 5/30/2017)

Although this is designed primarily for Way of Shambhala (WOS) programs, it is ultimately designed to cover all “WEEKEND” programs. A separate document discusses the EVENING Program Coordinator’s Check List. This document discusses: “The Teaching Team,” the “Weekend Coordinator’s Check List,” plus three “Forms and Templates” that you might find useful.

The Teaching Team

The teaching team consists of the entire staff mandala for the program: the teachers, the meditation instructors or assistant directors, the coordinators, and the staff. Ideally, the teaching team would stay together for an entire series –for instance, the Contentment in Everyday Life series which includes the Level II weekend and the five week Contentment in Everyday Life class. This continuity is especially important at the beginning stages, where everything and everybody is new for the participants. It will also help the participants make the connections between what was taught and experienced in the level and the course, if the teaching team (or at least part of it) is present for both. In the event that it is impossible to have the same teaching team serve an entire series, it is recommended that there be as much continuity as possible. For instance, if a teacher is invited from outside to teach the level, then hopefully the assistant directors could be local and continue into the course with the participants (either as teachers or meditation instructors).

A. Director’s Role

The Director(s) is the lead teacher for the program. The Director presents and embodies the curriculum of the level. S/he presents the talks during the weekend and is responsible for seeing that the overall atmosphere provides the proper spark for the participants.

B. Assistant Director’s Role

Assistant Directors work with all staff and participants interviewing participants and leading group discussions. They provide feedback from the interviews and discussion groups to the Director so s/he may present the proper emphasis in the talks. Assistant Directors also help maintain the learning environment.

C. Coordinator’s Role

The Coordinator is responsible for creating an environment that facilitates the presentation of the Shambhala teachings. This has many aspects, and the Coordinator has an excellent opportunity to put his/her own understanding of the teaching into practice. Some aspects of the Coordinator’s role are:

Attending to the details of the physical environment (clean, fresh, awake, perky, elegant, and welcoming).

Attending to one’s own state of mind and that of the staff and Director. Pay attention to being as well as doing. Participants and staff will learn a lot from the way you work with your (and their) confusion, hesitation, speed, aggression and spacing out. Raise lungta and maintain a sense of humor.

Leadership. In working with Director, Assistant Director and staff, it is not just a question of getting it right, but also of bringing people along. Staffing a WOS program is a practice experience for everyone—the practice of warriorship.

Attending to details of form and decorum. The Dorje Dradul introduced many aspects of form and decorum that help to wake us up and cut through cocoon. Examples include: beginning and ending staff meetings with a bow and perhaps a few minutes of sitting practice, mindfulness of speech in meetings and announcements, cutting through speed and sloppiness with a light touch of decorum in entering and leaving rooms, and dress. Discuss this with your staff and avoid stiffness and heavy-handedness. It feels quite organic when people relax into the form.

Protection. A WOS program creates a protected environment within which the participants may be very open, tender and raw. The staff has a responsibility to take care of participants, not in the sense of “idiot compassion” but in maintaining the integrity of the mandala and environment. Watch for people having a hard time and for any situation where someone might be inclined to take advantage of a participant’s open and tender heart.

Coordination. It is virtually impossible for the Coordinator to coordinate properly and maintain an overview if he/she gets involved in doing many tasks. Do not get pinned down running errands and washing dishes—coordinate, communicate and delegate.

Weekend Program Coordinator’s Check List

One month before

 Maintain daily meditation practice

 Request cash advance from Shambhala Comptroller Peter Sharp (916-396-2548) or email Peter at:

 Review three-fold logic for the Shambhala Training level (ask the Director for a copy)

 Meet or call the director to discuss view and vision specific to the level

 Recruit staff
Restrictions: For Shambhala Training weekend levels, students are encouraged to staff any levels they have already taken. However, this policy applies only after a student has completed level 3.

  • Assign lead food/reception person
  • Assign sound/recording person(s) (contact Jon Draffan 530-771-7970)
  • Confirm who will be the program’s Registrar (contact Jane Austen at

 Dorje Kasung service
Typically, there is no Dorje Kasung service in the Shrine Room when an Acharya is teaching an entry level program such as a dathun, weekthun, Shambhala Training Level 1 to 3, or a program that is not a Shambhala program, such as Karuna Training. Civilians serve as interview escorts, hall keepers and gatekeepers for these programs. If an Acharya or Shastri feels the need for service during an entry level Shambhala program, or if there are specific security concerns, please contact the local Rusung (Elvia Garcia at 530-574-7427) preferably at least one month before the program.

 Recruit several persons to clean Meditation Hall before the first class session

 Flowers: Contact Helen Tashima (530-756-5750) or Yasmin Spiegel (530) 758-4057). Remember to obtain expenditure receipts.

 Contact Toni Rey (916-396-3497 or ) and Betsy Ramsey (530-758-7155 or 530-756-4948 or ) about using their offices during the weekend. Locate keys to their offices that are in locked box in the Annex.

One week before

 Check with weekend Director. Some topics.

  • Preferred food, drink to be available in Director’s office
  • Desired introductions
  • Staff Concerns and Staff Meeting
  • Sunday Center sitting 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. coordination
  • Prepare Weekend Program Schedule. Coordinator will ask the director for the current program schedule. (see Attachment A-1 below for this sample template)
  • How does the Director prefer arrangement of Meditation Hall set up, (i.e. room (circle, rows, direction of cushions, etc )
  • Prepare Rota Schedule (see Attachment A-4 below for a sample)
  • Email Rota Schedule to all staff.

 Locate the charcoal, juniper, ink, brush, paper, and paper towels

 E-mail a copy of three-fold logic to each staff person. Ask Director for names of the Asst. Directors

 Plan simple menus for Sat, Sun Breakfast, Teas, and Reception

 Check paper supplies, cutlery, crackers, wine, water, etc.

 Shop as necessary for food and supplies, AND SAVE ALL RECEIPTS and write the name of the person who made the purchase on to the receipt

One day before

 Clean and uplift environment of Meditation Hall, Director’s Office/Annex.

 Be sure Meditation Hall is closed for Class

 Setup Meditation Hall

  • Gomdons, zabutons, chairs
  • Great Eastern Sun banner – if not already up
  • Confirm all is covered with respect to the sound system, microphone and recorder (Jon Draffan 530-771-7970)

 Setup Director’s Office,

  • Table with: ink, paper, brush, and water to dip brush in, and paper towels
  • Clean shrine and furnish with: charcoal, juniper, and burner
  • Arrange nice chairs, side tables, gomdens, zabutons, flowers
  • Ask if Director would like sake, or any special request
  • Glasses, water, whatever snacks and drink Director wishes

 Convert Peter’s advance check into cash for honorariums and other expenses

 Put up slogans for weekend, if applicable (Ask Director)

Beginning of the Program (Friday evening or Saturday morning)

 Post rota across from the small fridge in Community Room

 Post schedule for the program that the Director has provided

 Get from the Registrar the list of registrants. The Coordinator will provide a list of the registrants for the Director(s) as needed

 Get Annex Key for Director, as needed

 Set up chair, table, and flowers for director’s talk

 Distribute honorariums privately. Standard honorariums for Way of Shambhala programs are given with the view of gift giving out of appreciation, not payment for service.

  • Coordinator: $75 for the program
  • Assistant Director: $75 for the program
  • Director: $175 for the program (co-directors split this)
  • Shastri: $100/day for a full program
  • Acharya: $200/day including travel days, plus travel expenses

Program Registration Fees for Staff: With the exception of a few WOS programs in which a small honorarium is payable to Directors and the Coordinator as discussed above, DSMC is an all-volunteer church. In other words, DSMC does NOT have a work-study option for participating in programs. Instead, under DSMC’s “Generosity Policy,” the Registrar will negotiate a fee with any participant unable to pay that program’s requested fee.

Staff meeting

 Director’s wishes

 Schedule for weekend (post this in the Community Room for all to see)

 Announce the location of posted Rota

 Meet and greet

 Security – keeping doors locked

 Appropriate staff participation in group discussion

 Caution about talking in “kitchen” and “bathroom”.

 Modeling, “mindfulness gentleness” “on-the-spot”, precision

 Importance of everyone cleaning up on Sunday

First Sitting

Announcements to participants

  • Valuables – Bring into shrine room
  • Parking on Weekends
    1.Shambhala Center is located in a small shopping center. The bank is closed so please feel free to park in any non-disabled space, all day.
    2. Most street parking is limited to 2 hours. Most is not metered, but is enforced. There are some streets near the Center that are not time limited – good luck on that. Read parking signs carefully.
    3. There is a parking structure at 4th and D that charges $5 for 8 hours.
    4. Other business parking lots in downtown Davis are private. DO NOT PARK in them. And the covered parking by the bank is considered sacred. DO NOT PARK there.
    1. Street parking is not limited or enforced on Sunday – except for downtown city parking lots (which are a few blocks from the Center in any event) perhaps. Read the signs carefully.
  • Schedule for weekend
  • Lunch plans
  • Location of Bathrooms and the key code = “2015”
  • Turn on deck lighting during evenings where the switch is located on the wall between the two bathrooms
  • Saturday evening Dutch dinner at local restaurant (if director desires)

Check with the director on when to do the following

  • Introduce Director and AD’s
  • Introduce staff

Announcements to participants after lunch

  • Remind to keep wearing name tags
  • Request to maintain sitting in the same spot—to facilitate escorting them to interviews
  • Seating charts (after lunch)

Small Group Discussions

 Prepare rooms for discussion groups (gomdens, chairs, etc.)

 Divide into groups

 Assign participants/staff/AD’s & rooms (see Attachment A-3 for sample)

Food Preparation and Shopping Guidelines

We want to create an uplifted and beautiful environment while not expending much. Meal times that should be considered include: the final reception, two breakfasts, one tea, and snack and drink for the Director’s Office.

If having lunch in

The five restaurants that we generally use for weekend Saturday lunches include: Chipotle (227 E Street), Chickpeas (Covell and Anderson), La Pinata (1st and B), Preethi (2nd and G), and Hunan (207 D Street).

Sunday Morning

 Check with Director on any changes to the schedule, set up, interviews and other aspects of the day’s activities

 Check on Meditation Hall staffing to accommodate community needs during the 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. regular sitting practice time. Who will time-keep, hall-keep, and gate-keep?

 Check with Director on how s/he wants to handle announcements and transition from community sitting practice time

 Discuss participant interview assignments with Director

 Prepare interview assignment sheets (see Attachment A-2 below). Create sufficient copies of these lists of participants including one copy for the Coordinator plus a copy of the appropriate list for each interviewer and escort)

 Make Seating Chart for benefit of escorts, as needed

 Set up Interview Rooms

 Remind escorts about the protocols, timing and aspects of holding the container during interviews

 Orient Meditation Hall staff on the protocols, timing and aspects of holding the container during interviews

 Restore director’s room after interviews and other rooms as necessary

Cleanup Sunday Evening

 All staff

 Food can be saved for morning meditators group

 Lock up and confirm heating or cooling is off for:

  • Meditation Hall room (both doors and window)
  • Director’s Office and other interview rooms
  • Library door and window
  • Community room door and window
  • Lock hallway door with hex key.

Toni Rey’s office doors must be locked. This includes both doors from Hallway and both doors from waiting room to her’s and Betsy’s consulting office. Do NOT lock the door between Betsy/Catherine’s consulting office and their business office. Turn off heating and cooling in the offices.

Final Program Coordination with the Registrar

 Final Financial Accounting
Forward all cash expense receipts to the Registrar who will complete the necessary reconciliation, convert cash to a check, and forward all accounting information and program income to Peter Sharp.

 Final Attendance Accounting
Determine and forward to the Registrar the names of all participants who completed the program so that the Registrar can update the Shambhala International Database. The Director will make the determination as to who completed when someone was unable to attend the entire program.

Forms and Templates

Coordinators may choose to download this entire MSWord file so that s/he can open it up at home, scroll down to any of the following attachments, and print out blank forms (Attachments A-1 and A-2). Or in the case of Attachment A-3, the Program Coordinator might wish to complete a staffing schedule in Word by editing this sample, and then printing out the relevant pages for posting for all to see.

Attachment A-1 Sample Weekend Program Schedule

Attachment A-2 Blank Participant Interview Form

Attachment A-3 Blank Discussion Groups Form

Attachment A-4 Sample Rota Schedules (e.g. Friday Level 4 and Sat-Sun Level 1)

Attachment A-1

Sample Weekend Program Schedule

Shambhala Training Level One (Davis)

December 5-6

Coordinator will request updates to this schedule from the Director


7:30 Staff prepares coffee, tea, and light breakfast

8:00 Coordinator and Registrar arrive

8:30 Participants, Director, Ads arrive

9:00 Talk plus Q&A: Basic Goodness

10:30 Short break

10:45 Director’s meditation instruction, Q&A

12:30 Catered lunch with all staff and participants

2:00 Sitting

3:00 Interviews

4:30 Tea (Optional)

5:00 Talk plus Q&A: Freedom from Laziness


7:30 Staff prepares coffee, tea, and light breakfast

8:00 Coordinator and Registrar arrive

8:30 Participants, Director, Ads arrive

9:00 Announcements

9:05 Sitting with Community

9:45 Walking meditation / Break

10:00 Sitting and AD talk

11:00 Small group discussions

11:30 Sitting

12:00 Lunch

1:00 Set up interview rooms

1:30 Sitting

1:45 Interviews

3:15 Tea set up

3:30 Light tea

3:50 Sitting

4:00 Director’s talk

4:30 Reception set up

5:00 Reception

5:45 Clean up & pack up.

Attachment A-2

Blank Participant Interview Form

Escort: / MI:
Escort: / MI:

Attachment A-3

Blank Discussion Groups Form

Group #1
Room: / Group #2
Room: / Group #3
Room: / Group #4

Attachment A-4 (Day 1 of 3)

Sample Rota Schedules

Sample Level 4 Rota Schedule - Friday

Time / Class Activity / Staff Activity / Assignments / Notes
10:00 / Arrange Annex, Shrine and Library / Robert and Zenna
6:00 / Sound System / Jon D.
6:00 / Registration / Kayleen
6:30 / sitting / timekeeper / Katherine S.
6:45 / Introduction and announcements / Zenna
7:00 / Talk 1 / Introduce Dir. / Zenna
9:00 / Finish Talk / Excuse group / Dir.
9:05 / Dedication of Merit / Timekeeper / All

Attachment A-4 (Day 2 of 3)

Sample Level 1 Rota Schedule - Saturday

Time / Class Activity / Staff Activity / Assignments / Notes
7:30 / Director's Room set up / Elvia / heat, cushions, table, water, Ikebana, snacks
8:00 / Staff Meeting with Director / All / Assignments, directors preferences, escort procedure
8:10 / Breakfast set up / Elizabeth, Pat
8:10 / Shrine & Room Prep / Lan, Conny / heat, cushions in standard rows, table, water, gong, timer, Ikebana, sound system for director, wireless microphone, recorder
8:10 / Check bathrooms / Elvia / supplies, cleanliness
8:10 / Registration / Joe / table, table cloth, student list, registration sign, envelope for money, name tags
8:30 / Breakfast - registration
9:00 / Opening Talk / Opening Talk / All staff in shrine room / Coordinator does intros and welcome; Director will be time keeper
9:00 / Sound System / Lan / assist Director getting set up with microphone
9:00 / Timekeeper / Director
9:00 / Gatekeeper / Elizabeth/Joe / Registration person will monitor latecomers and then join others in the shrine room for the opening talk
Sit outside door to allow people in the shrine room when they are ready and the room is ready for them
9:00 / Hall keeper / Asst. Director / monitor environment (heat, light, cushions, etc), throws for some
9:00 / Director Water Service / Conny / Monitor director's needs in the shrine room
10:30 / Break / Breakfast Clean up / Pat, Elizabeth
10:45 / Meditation Instruction and practice / Asst. Director / Director in the Timekeeper seat
11:30 / Lunch set up / Pat, Elizabeth, Conny / Set up lunch in Community room
12:00 / Lunch served / Lunch in the shrine room. May need to move cushions around.
1:00 / Lunch clean up / Elizabeth, Conny, Joe
1:00 / Set Up Interview Rooms / Elvia, Lan / Chair outside the room, chair or cushions for Directors, ikebana, water, other director needs
1:00 / organize interview assignments / Elvia
1:30 / Sitting in standard rows / Meditation Practice / Asst. Director / Asst. Director Talk on shrine positions
2:00 / Timekeeper / Conny / 15 min. sitting; 7 min walking
Timekeeper and Gatekeeper may take turns in their 2 roles.
Gatekeeper / Elizabeth
2:15 / sitting and interviews / Interview Escorts for Lyle (Director's room) / Joe
Interview Escorts for Marshall (Mary's Office) / Elena
Interview Escorts for Martha (Kelly's Office) / Elvia
3:45 / Tea Prep / Elvia, Elizabeth
4:15 / Tea / Tea Break
4:45 / Tea Clean Up / Elizabeth, Joe
5:00 / Director’s Talk / All staff in shrine room
5:00 / Sound system / Joe
6:00 / close for the day / Clean up / All / check for things left behind, arrange cushions in rows, trash cans, bathrooms, lock doors, sweep if necessary

Attachment A-4 (Day 3 of 3)