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Volunteers make NCRA run!

More than 175 people serve on more than 20 committees and task forces as well as the volunteer members serving on the boards of NCRA and the National Court Reporters Foundation. Together these members provide NCRA hundreds and hundreds of volunteer hours that keep NCRA working on projects that benefit the court reporting, captioning, and legal videography professions and all those who practice in the field — whether they are members or not. As many NCRA staff members have noted: “We couldn’t do it without you.”

The committees work on a wide range of programs and projects. For example, six separate committees work with NCRA certifications — the Certified Legal Video Specialist (CLVS) Council, the Certified Realtime Captioner (CRC) Certification Committee, the Skills Test Writing Committee, the Written Knowledge Test Committee, and the Test Advisory Committee, all under the auspices of the Council of the Academy of Professional Reporters. Obviously, some work on specific portions of the tests, like the Skills Test Writing Committee, which writes Skills Tests for the five certifications that require them (the RSR, RPR, RMR, CRR, and CRC). The CLVS Council handles the creation and review of the CLVS certification as well as the education programming, with some aid from the Council of the Academy of Professional Reporters for standardization purposes.

“I really couldn’t do it without the volunteers on my committees,” says Amy Davidson, NCRA’s Director of Certification and Testing, who works with several of these committees as they create the Skills Tests, Written Knowledge Tests, and mandatory education for NCRA credentials. “They are the subject matter experts; and without their expertise, hard work, and input, our certification programs could not exist. I’m very appreciative of their commitment to their profession and NCRA.”

In trying to explain the amount of work that the committees do, Davidson paused trying to find a way to share the size of their contributions. She estimated that the committees as a group created more than 300 new questions for the Written Knowledge Tests and about 160 new Skills Tests that would be distributed throughout the various certifications — all during a pandemic and in the first year of putting a new test, the Registered Skilled Reporter, into place.

Recognizing that it’s not a competition of which committee does the most work or produces the best results, many NCRA staff members shared similar stories of their work with volunteers.

“A lot of the committees I work with focus on sharing information to help the profession. For instance, the Captioning Committee has collected information about TV stations that are not meeting standards set by the Federal Communications Commission and resulted in a campaign to let people know about the complaint procedure. This is truly advocacy at work,” says Jocelynn Moore, NCRA’s Director of State Government Relations. “In a similar way, the NCRA STRONG Task Force has been creating resources that many reporters can use to explain why court reporters are still the best way to record and preserve the record.”

Many of the committees are charged with creating articles to share information learned; brochures, flyers, or other resources to share; or educational sessions for the NCRA Conference & Expo, NCRA Business Summit, live online sessions, and other venues. Many of the committees offered suggestions for the virtual events hosted in the past year as well.

It is rare to find NCRA or NCRF programs that are not in one way or another touched by a committee. Heidi Renner, NCRA’s Content Manager, who produces the JCR Weekly among other things, says: “I’m so impressed with the Proofreading Advisory Council for the dedication they show each week. The JCR Weekly just wouldn’t be the same product without them, and I admire their willingness to fit weekly proofreading in around their busy work schedules. And their knowledgeable, supportive, and just fun comments make my Tuesday nights easier.”

On behalf of the NCRA staff and all the members who benefit from the work of our committees, we send our thanks to all of the committee members: Thank you for volunteering! We couldn’t do it without you!

This article is an abridged version of one that appeared in the April JCR. NCRA members can read the entire article in the JCR.

Contact lbutler@ncra.org if you are interested in volunteering.

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