Roles and Responsibilities

AmeriCorps VISTA - Federal Grant

AmeriCorps is the Federal partner that approves all the VISTA projects, places VISTAs and provides most member benefits.

Intermediary Sponsor – Montana Community VISTA Partnership (MCVP)

An Intermediary Sponsor is often called the “project supervisor.” Montana Community VISTA Partnership (MCVP) is the Intermediary Sponsor. We manage the grant and submit the approval for projects to host VISTAs. We have the primary responsibility for managing the project, including reporting on progress, but the day-to-day responsibility of supervising the VISTAs rests with host site supervisors. Our program will inform host site supervisors of their responsibilities to both our program and AmeriCorps.

Host Site Supervisor – Your Organization

A host site supervisor is responsible for day-to-day supervision and coaching of their VISTAs. Host site supervisors must notify MCVP immediately of any change in a VISTA's service status. For example, if your VISTA needs to take emergency leave, is no longer interested in serving, or if their work site changes. In addition, the host site supervisor must immediately report any issues that develop regarding the VISTA's performance or conduct.

You are responsible for managing VISTA resources and providing the support necessary to achieve project goals. You have both project management and VISTA support and supervision responsibilities. Specifics will be provided in this document for each area.

MCVP Structure and Chain of Command:

Because the VISTA is participating in a National Service program through AmeriCorps they must be available and released for special duty during federally declared disasters and AmeriCorps sponsored activities, and to participate in all AmeriCorps training events. So in essence, when AmeriCorps calls and asks VISTAs to participate in activities, the AmeriCorps activity takes precedence over any priority at the local site. This happens extremely infrequently and rarely does AmeriCorps call upon VISTA members. 

MCVP ultimately has the final say about VISTA-appropriate projects, taking medical and personal leave, etc. VISTAs are expected and required to attend all trainings, no exceptions.

VISTA Members should always be getting site supervisor approval prior to seeking MCVP approval. This would include taking time off or moving to a different aspect of their project.

  • VISTA Program Manager – manages the VISTA grant and reports to AmeriCorps on the progress and accomplishments of every VISTA in addition to overseeing all of our projects.
  • VISTA Program Specialist – supports host sites as they apply to host a VISTA and when a VISTA is placed with the site.
  • VISTA Leader – member support. The Leader also takes the lead on VISTA recruitment and screening applicants for our projects.
  • VISTA Host Site Supervisor: The specified individual at the host site organization that the VISTA reports to and oversees the VISTA project. This person is responsible for submitting attendance, reviewing Quarterly Reports and meeting with the VISTA at least once a week. Ideally this person is able to introduce the VISTA to the community and be their initial point of contact.

Where To Direct Questions:

VISTAs should direct initial inquiries about their service, benefits, etc. to the VISTA Leader or Program Manager. The VISTA leader is the first line of contact for VISTAs and their advocate. Site supervisors can contact VISTA Leaders for general questions, but conflict/personnel concerns should be direct directly to John or Lee. Also, you can consult with AmeriCorps through the National Service Hotline (, 800-942-2677).

Virtual Member Orientation (VMO)

Required. Put on by AmeriCorps. MCVP also hosts a program specific training at this time (first day of service). This is when the VISTA is sworn in.

Serve Symposium

Sponsored by the Governor's Office of Community Service, ServeMontana Symposium brings together over 300 AmeriCorps State and AmeriCorps VISTA members and staff from across the state to further opportunities for service and collaboration.

Close of Service

MCVP has two cohorts of VISTAs, one starting in January and one starting in July. We will be bringing all our VISTAs together for each close of service training. During the training, VISTAs finishing their term present on their projects. We will also utilize this time to bring in trainers or speakers to provide relevant training.

National Days of Service

As AmeriCorps VISTA members, VISTAs must volunteer on two National Days of Service, Martin Luther King Jr. Day or September 11th Day of Service and Remembrance. Sometimes there will be organized service projects, but a VISTA can identify any volunteer opportunity. For further guidance, they can contact the VISTA leader.

Site Visits

Site visits are informal visits guided by a list of questions for both the VISTA member and Supervisors. The purpose is to gain a better understanding of the type of work the VISTA has been doing and how they are feeling about their service term. It is also an opportunity to ensure that each host site is having a positive experience and to learn if there is anything we can do differently during our onboarding and training process to better prepare VISTAs for placement.

Quarterly Reports

VISTA members will be expected to report out on their activities each quarter. These reports include both narrative sections and quantitative sections where they report on the Performance Measures identified VISTA Assignment Description (VAD). The Site supervisor’s role will be to ensure accuracy and approve. The VISTA members will be brought together, typically in Helena, before the first Quarterly report is due to ensure that they understand how to use the system and what data they need to be reporting each quarter.

Calls with VISTA Member

VISTA Leaders are based in our office in Helena and their role is to support all the VISTAs throughout their term of service. A VISTA Leader will be coordinating with your VISTA member to identify a monthly date to have a brief check-in. The purpose will be to check in on the progress of the project and provide any advice if necessary. It will also serve to check in on the wellbeing of the VISTA member.

Calls with Supervisor

We will be scheduling short check-in calls with host site supervisors on a quarterly basis. This call will be an opportunity to discuss the progress of the project and to provide any support, if needed, for supervising a VISTA member and project.


Finally, as stated before, AmeriCorps VISTA is a one-year commitment to service.   It is about stewardship over self-interest.  Re-enrollment or extension beyond one-year is not automatic, but may be generated if the VISTA has served in an above average manner. In addition, the host site must be willing to have the VISTA return for a second year. 

Future Plans Form:

Approximately six weeks prior to the end of the VISTA service year, host sites will receive a form to complete regarding the VISTA’s work performance.  Please be sure to complete this with the VISTA and return the forms promptly to MCVP. 


Toward the end of the service year, MCVP hosts a close of service recognition ceremony, which we hope site supervisors can attend.  In addition, we encourage host sites to recognize their VISTA’s contributions as their service term comes to a close. For example, host sites can take their VISTA out to lunch or bake treats for the office. 

Throughout the year, be sure to take time to say thank you, or do something that is meaning for the VISTA in terms of appreciating their work.  Remember, they are not getting a big pay check, and their motivation for service is intrinsic, so find out how they like to be recognized or thanked, and be sure to set aside time to do so.  VISTAs will give more than they will ever receive!  However, VISTAs will often get the “VISTA Blues” about 5-6 months into service, so make sure to watch for this and think about ways to ward this off!  If you need some ideas, please contact our team. Also, encourage VISTAs to use the VISTA experience as a fertile ground to build a resume or portfolio, and to take copies of the things they generate as their VISTA experience will probably provide them with more opportunity to learn and do things than a year in college or a first year of an entry level professional position.