Wednesday, May 30, 2012

TIDE 2012

What? TIDE Conference (Teen Identity & Diversity Education) by Youth LEAD (Leaders Engaging Across Differences)
Where and When? Boston, Mass, May 25-May 27, 2012
Who? Casady Service-Learning (Carmen), Casady YAC-Youth LEAD OKC (Sidney)
Why? Learn about Youth LEAD and TIDE experientially.

The conference was student-led with logistical support from Youth LEAD office and liability responsibility from Youth LEAD CEO.
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Friday, May 25, 2012
4:00-6:00 Registration and Check In: Youth and adults went out of their way to make newcomers feel welcome. TIDE facilitators were responsible for family groups and entertainment via sports, dance, songs, music, belly dancing, etc. during free time. TIDE youth made everything run on time with plenty of food and drinks. TIDE graduates assisted with checking in, waking-up participants, sending people to bed-not very efficiently-, watching for safety and rules adherence after hours.  The rest of the logistics, family groups etc., by youth with support from office staff.

There was a huge group from Sharon High School. Others participants trained by Youth LEAD presented on Sunday along with Youth LEADers and office staff. Sunday presenters: Brooklyn Arab American Association of New York (amazing group-first time, Linda Sarsour, CEO, ;, North Providence Youth Commission, Children of Well (Story Telling), Rhode Island for Community and Justice Youth Action Council (Jayme Dale Mallindine, ; ; 401-467-1717 x 100) Lincoln School, Social Action Leaders of Beaver Country Day School, , Dorchester Bay Youth Force. There were observant participants like Suzanne Guthrie, The Temple of Understanding, Director of Youth and Adult Programs, ;  with teams of teens. I do not know the exact number but 130+ participants might be a good estimation.
6:00-6:45 Dinner and other meals: All you can eat, Northeastern University Cafeteria.
7:00-7:30 Opening Ceremonies: Welcome by youth conference chairs -Manal, Bridget and Amal (Help us construct TIDE as you imagine it to be-ability to culminate conversations with powerful clarifying questions) and Janet (Cultivate a spirit of curiosity to bring us closer to world peace.)

8:30-11:00 Evening Activities:  Holi was like nothing I had ever experienced before. Everyone with similar fun identity for a few minutes.  After showering from holi, we had family group time. 

Participants maybe got some sleep this evening. I was so tired, at 11:00 I went to bed. Maybe formal evaluations- along with the informal reflection for the day- could be delivered and completed at this time.  I also wish we could have had a list of the people in the adult group with contact information to stay in touch as well as an introduction of our Saturday Youth LEAD facilitators to bring home.  Also at this time, I wish we could have received our schedule for Sunday.  It would have made Sunday less hectic. 

Saturday, May 26, 2012
8:00-9:15: Breakfast: Family group leaders made sure everyone was at breakfast.  I saw them knocking at doors to wake-up people.  Responsible teens making other teens do the right thing!  Very nice!

9:15-9:45 Saturday Opening: Schedule logistics, location of rooms, introduction of Youth LEAD facilitators and workshops location.  This was hectic!  My "elevator speech of this day, "To receive an experiential introduction of the Youth LEAD Program from Youth LEADERS."   Shreya and Puya, Youth LEADERs, did a fantastic job facilitating the first three adult workshops.  They were "reflective, connecting facilitators" who never lost the innocence of their youth especially during problem solving times; transitions from one area to the other due to time constrains or personal leadership, learning modality and stronger personal intelligences styles.  It was a fantastic experience to have competent, confident, and fun teen facilitators. I return to OKC with greater energy to face the issue of finding the money needed to bring Youth LEAD to OKC.
10:00-11:15:             Workshop One: Reflection: What is Identity?  Conversations: Who you are?  How you got there?
11:15-12:30:             Workshop Two: Connection: Guidelines for Interaction; Trust building activities: ticket to talk, paper clip activity-competition, hopes concerns fears, listening, clarifying questions, kinds of conversations, debate vs. dialog.  Process guided by giant post-it notes and a lot of pre-planning, a year of pre-planning!
12:45-1:45                Lunch
2:00-3:15                  Workshop Three: Action We chose to dialog on Race Relations, other choices I remember were immigration, teen adult relationships, gender?.  The activities took us from where we were to discovery and desire to act.  A statement forever in my heart:  How can I respond my 10 year old's question, Why people hate me?

At the end, we received plastic containers which we labeled with our name and how we perceived others view us.  At the end of the workshop, we were asked to write a word or a sentence about how we viewed each participant and placed it in the container labeled with their name. It was easier than I expected because the time together and the quality of our conversations and clarifying questions gave us background to write one meaningful word/sentence about every person. When I read mine the kindness of my Octupi family group brought tears to my eyes.
4:45-6:00            Workshop Four: Let's Do This: The Guide to Flawless Facilitation: Loved Bridgit's opening activity of drawing our ideal facilitator and the similarities in what we need from a competent and engaging facilitator: Big eyes, ears; a mind with copious knowledge, big embracing arms/hands/fingers and a small mouth.  It gave a taste of the high level training we will be bringing to OKC.  The handout provided was good. It was impressive the rigor of attendance taking and youth value for proper introductions.  I was also impressed by the confidence and willigness of youth to participate in all activities.
6:15-7:15            Dinner
7:30-8:30            Keynote Speakers: Jamele Adams, Usman Hameedi Poetry-4-Identity/Diversity: Eye and mind opening poetry.  Great job teens bringing an engaging set of speakers to inspire people of all ages to wonder, question and perhaps act. 
8:30-11:00            Evening Activities: Fair Haven and Family Groups.  The Octupi were so tired we talked about our day impressions and went to bed.  Everyone  complemented facilitators and workshops!  Other family groups, did they go to bed???

Sunday, May 27, 2012
8:00-8:45 Breakfast, Sunday Opening:  Some groups had to leave after workshop three.  The directions for the day were given at the cafeteria.  Next year, I hope the youth team will consider given directions during family groups or allocate time for Sunday Opening at a less noisy room, like they did Saturday.  Maybe end at 6:00 p.m. instead of 5:00 p.m. (logistics with returning trains might be a hindering factor??) I heard that the location of TIDE might be moved to another university next year.  I wonder what Sidney heard.  I am looking forward to her conclusions.
 9:00 - 10:15:  Workshop Session One:  Youth Voice: Change through Youth and Adult Partnerships:  Diana M. from North Providence Youth Commission did a fantastic job facilitating despite finding out that she had misplaced her cell phone right before her presentation.  She did a Prezi presentation: Find a support adult that is responsive.  Find a way to work with unresponsive ones. Have a plan.  Talk to administrators to have time, place, and plenty of food! I gave Diana my card and requested to consider sending her presentation or sharing it via SKYPE with Youth LEAD OKC and Casady YAC.  I hated the name game because I cannot remember names, but the kids in the workshop insured everyone's success. I wish I had their contact information!
 10:30-11:00  Family group preparations for closing ceremony presentations:  We all prepared a presentation of what TIDE had meant to us as a group and individually.  It was amazing how a couple of days had united us despite our differences. 
 11:15-12:30 Workshop Session Two: Acceptance Through Story Telling: Adrya and Ilyssa from Children of the Well  did a great job helping us understand how their group starts interfaith dialogs using story telling.  I was sorry not to complete evaluations for this group because they were fantastic.  I am going to talk to OKC Interfaith Groups to see if we have something similar in OKC.  The amazing thing is that our facilitators empowered one participant into turning the The Three Little Pigs story into an anti-bullying story.

12:45-1:45 Lunch, farewells started. It was like we were loosing long time friends. Sidney left after workshop 3.

2:00-3:15 Workshop Session Three: Trust, the Building Block of Tolerance, Understanding and Progress  Blessing (great handwriting), Justin, Danielle, and Kelly  from North Providence Youth Commission did a great job at a difficult time, the last workshop of the day.  They guided a discussion of how trusting are we? Why? What barriers, fears and challenges do we have?  What role do appearances and stereotypes play in our trust conditioning? What is the process to trust?  How is the connection of trust and forgiveness? The workshop was very interactive and the kids asked me if I wanted them to present via skype like I had asked Diane about her Youth Voice presentation.  I said yes.  I gave them my card and I hope Kelly-Kangaroo will contact me in September.  I did not complete an evaluation for this group.  They were excellent!
 3:30-5:00 Closing ceremonies: Family group presentations and personal testimonials Creative, moving, inspiring. The kids did fantastic presentations.  The adult group was prepared, but many of the members had to leave early. Exmaples of personal testimonials  Chose TIDE over prom; you made me discover how I really matter, passing the light-if one of us starts using what we learned, we will make a difference; you inspired me to be a better person, a more confident person, you empowered me to be insecure no more.
5:00-7:00 Check out  They left us a follow-up poem to Where I am From by George Ella Lyon.  I have not written mine yet.
TIDE is one of my highlights of Summer 2012!

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