Census training wrapped up today. We went out into the field and actually used all the things we learned in the classroom. It was NOT a dry run; the work we did today actually counted.
We went out in pairs, so we could help each other with any questions. One person in each pair had an assignment (area) to complete downloaded to their handheld computer. My partner and I took turns sharing his computer and inputting the information as we walked from house to house. We had an easy residential area of single-family homes. The plan was to walk from house to house along the sidewalk, checking to make sure that all the houses were represented on the master address list. At each house, we signed off on the basic information and collected a map spot. Fortunately, there was nothing we needed to change, add, or delete from our list.
There were only a handful of homeowners home along our route. When we make contact with someone, there's a procedure to go through: introduce yourself and explain why you're there, then hand the person a sheet that contains basic information. None of the people we saw seemed particularly worried about our presence.
Our training time segued into the lunch break. When we returned from lunch, there was a final written exam. I think everyone in the training group passed with flying colors. Our instructor gave us some final instructions, then we were free to leave for the day.
Assignments are given via the handheld computer. We were asked to choose areas that we'd like to do; I picked some close to my house. I was excited when two neighborhoods very convenient to my house showed up on my handheld late this afternoon. After I finish those areas and transmit them back, additional work will be assigned. I'll be checking in with the Crew Leader or Assistant Crew Leader on a regular basis, but other than that I'm free to work on my own schedule. I don't think I'll have any problems getting my exercise taken care of the next few weeks!