Helium has introduced an exciting change to the Steward Program — Stewards are now Channel Managers. Why the change? What’s in a name? We think a lot!

Channel Manager is a better reflection of what the volunteer program is all about. A Channel Manager is many things… a leader, a helper, an expert in their subject area, a writer and more.

Their mission is to provide and encourage the highest-quality information for readers, through outreach and interaction with capable writers and subject matter experts who share a passion for the success of each channel on Helium.

Channel Managers add their experience and professional perspective to Helium’s large writing community. They help make Helium the go-to place for high-quality information on every subject — whether it’s classic cars, crafts or cat breeds. They are here to help members in need and offer encouragement and critiques about their writing.

They are given special tools and roles on the site, have their bios featured on their channel page and get a badge to tout their expertise. They can suggest new titles, rate and grade articles, and recruit new writers.

Helium expects every Channel Manager to have competence in their specific subject area, to be a leader and to be able to communicate with other members of the Helium writing community in a professional and courteous manner.

Channel Managers make Helium a great place to learn and write. They are a hard working crew and Helium wouldn’t be the amazing writing community that it is without them. Meet them now!

Love the thrill of victory? All members of Helium can gain the satisfaction of discovering that their peers ranked their articles the best in a writing contest. All contests are based around a theme. You can write to one title or all 20 to increase your chance of winning the top prize. Articles are judged by fellow Helium writers through our rating engine and earn points to determine the winner.

As a winner you are identified with a badge on your About Me page showing off your writing prowess to fellow Helium writers. As you keep winning the number on your badge keeps increasing!

Helium writer and Steward Rena Sandou knows all about winning. Her badge has a 20 on it to signify her 20 proud contest victories. Read her success story below.

Contests post each week on Wednesdays at 12 p.m. EST. Each writing contest has different rules and requirements, so be sure to read those by clicking on a writing contest name within each contest type. And don’t forget to read our Writing Standards and Contest Rules before you dive in!

Most of our contest titles area seasonally relevant and have good SEO value. As a result there’s more benefit than just winning — your articles will likely get more page views and earn more in the long term. Because the articles are so relevant you may even find yourself on Helium’s homepage one day!

Read below to learn about Rena’s success with Helium writing contests:

I am Rena Sandou and I joined Helium in December 2008. Since then my experience has been nothing more than exhilarating and educative. As an amateur writer, I thought that writing contests was the best place to start. And I was right! Since then I have won nearly all contests that I have participated in, acquiring new knowledge and gaining a significant amount of money. Helium is a dream world for aspiring writers that wish not only to be heard but also get rewarded for their efforts.

Writing contests are an amazing tool to boost your articles traffic, increase your monthly income, learn new things and socialize in Helium’s community. Personally, I only participate in contests that intrigue me the most — increasing not only my chances for a positive outcome but most important, enjoying every single word I write. The thrill, the friendly competition and the satisfaction of watching your articles being ranked first place is amazing!

And the win is just the beginning; 20 contests and about 200 articles later, I have made Helium’s homepage numerous times and managed to increase my monthly income more than 200 percent. Believe me, Helium can be a precious help during these difficult economic times.

Writing for Helium is the best thing that ever happened to me! The things you learn, the people you get in touch with, the help and inspiration from the amazing Helium team, the recognition, the monthly payments and the excitement of competitions have changed the way I think and act. Do not hesitate! Join the weekly contests and see the world from a totally different point of view! Good luck!

You can find more information on Internet Steward Rena Sandou by visiting her Helium About Me profile.

This week’s “Meet the Stew” features Senior Steward, Rex Trulove. Rex is prominent community member who is known for his generosity, dedication, and selflessness. Rex is always there to lend a hand to someone in need and to help guide them in the right direction. We’re proud to have him as part of our team and are excited to be featuring him this week.

Name? Rex Trulove

How long have you been at Helium? 2 years, 2 months

What is your title and responsibilities?
Senior Steward and Board Administrator. I run the boards at Helium, train new stewards, coordinate with channel stewards, seed titles, help with okaying new titles, help train people to seed titles, try to help new and experienced members, reach out to people who would do well on the site, in general help anyone, anytime I can, and try to both continue writing and rating.

Has your writing improved since being a Steward?
Yes. In fact, it has improved every month I’ve been on Helium.

What are your top three favorite Helium articles?
This is like asking a gourmet what their three favorite foods are. With close to a million articles on the site, it would be impossible to choose, because there are so many great articles on the site.

What is your favorite Zone?
Probably the botany channel.

What is your favorite part about being a Steward?
Being able to help others, while learning.

If you could give one bit of advice to new members of Helium, what would it be?
Write, write, write, and rate, rate, rate. That is the path to success on Helium.

If you could change one thing about Helium what would it be?
I’d like to see a lot more active writers on the site.

What is your favorite thing about Helium?
The staff and stewards. A more top notch group of people, you will not find anywhere.

Now on to the more personal side…

What are 3 things people are surprised to find out about you?
1. That I play 9 musical instruments (none well, but I do play them.) 2. That I have virtually a small zoo in my home. 3. That I’ve been an herbalist and wildlife rehabilitator for over 40 years.

What do you do with your extra time?
Extra time? What’s that? Hah I garden, camp, fish, play music, do counseling, and perform weddings, not necessarily in that order.

What is your favorite quote?
“The only stupid question is the one that isn’t asked.” ~ Mabel Haley, my grandmother.

What are your favorite books?
Piers Anthony’s Xanth series, Edgar Rice Burroughs John Carter of Mars series, Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat, Stalking the Wild Asparagus by Euell Gibbons, and several science books that are collaboratives

What is your favorite website other than Helium ;)?
Another hard question. My own, I suppose (sensations.freewebpage.org), though I don’t like to toot my own horn.

Where is your favorite place to visit?
A toss up…camp out in the woods (location isn’t important) or Crater Lake National Park, which I’ll always see as “home”.

Who do you idolize?
My older brother, Stephen Trulove.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
If a person doesn’t do something because they are afraid of failing, they’ve already failed. A person can’t succeed at anything if they don’t at least try. Each of us can do anything, if we honestly try.

Anything else you’d like to share?
Yes. Helium is a wonderful, nurturing, and caring community. The more we all help, the more we all benefit. Not the least of this is that when we help, we interact with everyone else. A person who doesn’t, is sitting out there on a limb, all alone, and it is a terrifying drop to the ground. I don’t personally fear the fall, but that sudden stop at the end is rather bothersome. I’ve been asked if I have fears, and yes I do. I fear not being appreciated. Why? Because that tells me that I didn’t try hard enough. I have one chance to make a positive impact in other lives, and the thought that I may not have done enough gives me the horrors.

 Thanks Rex for taking the time and filling out our “Meet the Stew” interview. Your hardwork and time here at Helium is greatly appreciated.

Visit Rex’s
Helium About Me

This week we’re interviewing Nan Keltie, the Education Channel Steward.  Nan’s powerful presence, kind words, and hard-working nature make her a hit among the Helium community.

Nan Keltie

How long have you been at Helium?
One year, 4 months and 27 days!  (as of July 8th)

What is your title and responsibilities?
Since March 11 of this year, I’ve been the Education Channel steward. My responsiblities include welcoming new writers, watching for incoming articles to make sure they fit Helium standards and reaching out to anyone that needs help. I also enjoy seeding new titles to the channel. I very much appreciate the efforts of my sub-channel stews!

What is your favorite thing about Helium?
The community here — I love interacting with writers from all over the world.

If you could give one bit of advice to new members of Helium, what would it be?
Helium is like a neighborhood of writers. Get to know some of your neighbors … learn from one another and offer a helping hand when it’s needed. When we grow as individuals, the whole community benefits.

What are 3 things people are surprised to find out about you?
 Hmmm … that I’m petrified of roller coasters? That we’ve hosted one of the Tampa Bay Bucaneers in our home? That I “held up” a South American flight in 1974? (I was delayed in customs at Rio Branco when the officers searched my carry-on bag. They couldn’t speak English and I couldn’t speak Portuguese — and it took 45 minutes to explain that the barrel-shaped licorice wrapped in plastic sleeves was NOT some kind of ammunition.

What do you do with your extra time?
I enjoy photography, browsing antique shops and working crossword puzzles.

What are your favorite books?
For parenting — Home Grown Kids by Raymond Moore. For a candid view of zoo animals — A View from the Zoo by Gary Richmond. For quiet reflection, the book of Psalms in the Bible.

Where is your favorite place to visit?
A lake-side cabin or chalet in the mountains. Just let me pack my camera, cappucino, favorite music, a few books, and some comfortable clothes — in that order. >

Thanks Nan for being part of this week’s “Meet the Stew”.

View Nan’s:
About Me
Helium Zones

From now on every Wednesday we’re going to feature a blog post on a randomly selected member of the Steward Program. Today we’re featuring Helium’s Senior Site Steward Rachelle de Bretagne. We’ve asked her several Helium and non-Helium related questions. Check out what she has to say below.

Rachelle de Bretagne

How long have you been at Helium?
Almost since launch 3 years ago.

What is your title and responsibilities?
I enjoy working with New Members as their Guide, and also love the editorial work that I do, because it helps members an awful lot to understand how important layout is in the order of things. I enjoy everything I do at Helium and find it the best site for interaction with writers of like mind, and staff alike. The responsibility of testing editors and gaging what their ability levels are is something I excel at and enjoy as a challenge and business experience. I am New Member Guide, Mentor, Senior Editor and Senior Steward on the site.

What is your favorite thing about Helium?
The rating system. Believe it or not, it helps a writer to measure how good their work is when compared with others. On other sites you don’t get this unique opportunity without some kind of confrontation. On Helium, there is no confrontation, only the reading of your stats to see which area you need to improve upon.

What are your top three favorite Helium articles?
This would be hard. I have favorites but for different reasons. I believe that favorites are personal to the reader, and these certainly are. I must give you links later, as the site is down.

What is your favorite Zone?
I believe the New Member’s Who Shine is my favorite Zone for obvious reasons. This gives members a chance to have their work featured, and there is no incentive better than this for a new writer to keep writing.

If you could give one bit of advice to new members of Helium, what would it be?
Read the articles on the site. Get a feel for what works and what does not. Write an article with a strong beginning and strong conclusion, and make your paragraphs small with spacing between them. Learn from low ratings, and preview your articles and use the spellcheck. Everyone is equal at Helium and we all get a chance to shine.

Now on to the more personal side…

What are 3 things people are surprised to find out about you?
I am an ardent craftsperson. I make leaded glasswork, I do traditional crafts like lacemaking and spinning my own wool. People are surprized when they speak to me, because they think from my work that I am quite formal, when in fact I am a fun loving person with a sense of humor. I suppose they are also surprised that I live way out in France, but that I write with an American slant. It’s something I have found comes very natural and I have never experienced difficulties with spelling the American way.

What do you do with your extra time?
Extra time? What is this concept? I work, I help out at a hospice and also work with people in my village who have terminal illness. I love people I guess and enjoy what I do. One thing I learned early on in life was that every day you live counts, and if you leave things undone, it may be too late to ever get around to doing them. I work hard and play hard and love life to the fullest.

What is your favorite quote?
Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.

What are your favorite books?
I love the books of Sarah Waters. She writes of Victorian times and pulls the reader into the story in a way that no other writer does. I love classic literature and read much of the works we were force fed in school days with a fresh enjoyment. My favorite works are the sonnets of Shakespeare, which I failed to understand as a child, and now understand with an understanding that comes with age and experience. For fun, Harry Potter is pretty cool, though I always revert back to the classics.

What is your favorite website other than Helium 😉 ?
My favorite website has to be YouTube. There I can listen to music whenever I feel the yen. Whatever style of music suits the mood or the reflective moment can be found there, and it’s like taking a trip down memory lane.

Where is your favorite place to visit?
I love the French mountains in the Ariege region of France. It is hilly and green, filled with all the wonders of nature, and makes you feel small in comparison. Sometimes we all need to feel that smallness to remember who we are, and to stop to smell the roses.

Who do you idolize?
I don’t think that I idolize anyone. Of course I have crushes on Helium though these will never be told, and remain a secret for ever. People I admire would be more appropriate. I admired Ghandi. I admired Mother Theresa. I admired the Princess of Wales, though what strikes me the most when I look at people I admire is that these are all people who know about compassion. When you reach that stage in your life where you find compassion, you merit admiration.

Anything else you’d like to share that we haven’t asked?
I believe Helium to be a great place for people with writing aspirations. It’s a place where dreams get built and shattered, though the shattering is part of the real experience of writing. Just as in the real world, we get rejections and learn from them, on Helium, those of less professional standing can learn about how to use rejection to grow as writers. Have a hissy fit, go switch the computer off, but at the end of the day how good we become as writers is ultimately up to us, and that’s what Helium is all about.

Thanks Rachelle!!!

Visit Rachelle’s About Me on Helium.
Visit her articles on Helium.