Field Study - Anthropology

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  • Topic: Board of directors, Non-executive director, Executive director
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  • Published : April 22, 2012
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Daniele
 G.
 Dubois
 
 

 

 G2
 603
 Anthropology,
 Summer
 2011
 

PAWS of Jackson Hole: Final Field Project

As an example of an “affinity group” I chose to study the board members of a non profit organization in Jackson Wyoming called PAWS of Jackson Hole. The group consists of 10 voluntary board members and two paid directors of the organization. I chose this specific group for my fieldwork due to my profound interest in animal welfare. I hope someday to be able to participate and contribute in some of their programs. I felt that studying the group from an emic [insiders] perspective I would gain a much deeper understanding of their mission than by simply reading their pamphlets and gaining an etic [outsiders] perspective. I used participant observation to accomplish this task. I sat in on board meetings and interviewed individual board members to gain greater insight as their specific goals for the organization as a whole and also tried to determine what qualities do these individuals share that help them attain those goals. My ultimate goal was to determine if I would be a good “fit” for this organization. The methodology I used and the questions I asked can also be used by others to determine their suitability for participation in non-profit organizations in their own community. I chose to study the 10 board members and 2 directors of a non-profit organization that “advocates for animals and promotes responsible pet ownership through local outreach programs” called PAWS in Jackson, Wyoming. The entire board members and directors oversee seven specific programs to accomplish their mission. These programs include the Teton County Animal Shelter where the group focuses on helping to fund the daily running of the shelter by proving food and supplies as well as promoting adoption of local homeless pets. The Mutt Mitt program [providing poop pick up bags] which helps to keep the community clean and free of pet waste. The McDoc Fund provides financial support for veterinary bills for stray animals as well as to those families that cannot afford treatment for their pets. Dog Park called Sophie’s Place is their newest program which offers an off –leash space where dogs can socialize. SafePAWS offers a kennel facility on site at the Community Safety Network Shelter for victims of domestic violence.

 

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Daniele
 G.
 Dubois
 
 

 

 G2
 603
 Anthropology,
 Summer
 2011
 

Sean’s Club is an animal assisted therapy program for at risk teens. Spay neuter provides financial assistance for individuals who cannot afford to pay for their pet’s sterilization. The RDOG: Responsible Dog ownership group is responsible for sponsoring public service media campaigns that highlight various “responsible pet ownership” issues such as respect for private property and public spaces in Jackson Hole. The reason that I described these programs individually is that it provides the reader with a scope of the responsibilities shared by this group. Each board member is directly responsible for two of these and presents up dates to the entire board so that if any decisions need to be made the entire board can vote on them. The entire group is based on consent identities. All board members have the same passion and unwavering love of animals. They all share the belief that responsible dog ownership is necessary for peaceful coexistence of dog and man in the Jackson Hole community. There is also a component of assignment given to them upon joining the board, particularly when board members introduce themselves as “PAWS board member” at social gatherings to differentiate themselves from others in the community and bring attention to their commitment to animals. I first encountered this group at a local fundraiser called the “FUR BALL” about three years ago. At the time I was working for a company that printed all their brochures....
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