Thursday, June 19, 2008

Additional Reflections on YEDay from Remelle

The map activity was perfect. The students chose their own “clues” from 60 options of what they wanted to have in the place they decide to live their own lives. The clues included the things adults think teens are looking for, career opportunity, potential to make big bucks, great shopping, and nightlife. By an overwhelming majority this groups' number one requirement was access to the outdoors, outdoor activity, adventure, with family close by coming in 2nd, and feeling needed and serving others a close 3rd. Interestingly, their choices reflect the same trends that US News and World Report and Readers Digest both reported on this month in articles predicting how these “millennialers” are thinking. For the first time in several generations the required parameters of the majority of 18-14 year olds to define a great job, include a feeling of serving others. What a positive!

The workshop done by the entrepreneurs, Tammie Trainham, Sylinda Menzer and Jennifer Shaw was the biggest hit of the day. The students loved them, had nothing but positive feedback. Very different women, with very different backgrounds, training, skills and interests, but all in love with what they are doing and where they live and very successful at it. I’ve already had requests to take them on the road.

The student’s reaction to Darryl Birkenfeld’s workshop on Leadership and Getting Involved was the biggest surprise of the day for me. They were all over it and retained all the points he had made about not only the importance of community leadership development, why its important and why teens need to be engaged in that process, but even the fine details like keeping minutes for follow up and staying true in action to what the group said was its goals. This is an extraordinary group of individuals turned out here in Knox County! I really think Stacy’s message followed them into this workshop and got them focused where they might have thought it didn’t really apply to them, without his remarks and the map activity to hook them into the idea of seriously considering the idea that they might be here for the next 50 years.

The area we could have improved on was the career opportunities and preparation workshop. Two of our presenters were unable to attend and that also meant some of the really good materials we had secured didn’t arrive either. This is just going to happen, we were fortunate to have volunteers on hand to pick up the slack. We were able to cover a lot of good information on jobs they either didn’t realize were available in Knox County or didn’t realize were such good jobs. Saw some light bulbs go on, and most encouraging had about 15 kids who asked to be on a mailing list for career search information or internship, job shadowing opportunities. After YED I began to put together more of my own resources, activities to have on hand, so next time this will be the most dynamic workshop.

Tibb Burnett so loves this place and it came through in everything he said. I was worried that the kids were restless, wouldn’t get it, wonder why we had him speak, etc. since we had not really had time in day yet to set the framework for him. I should have given them more credit! Later in the day several of the student “reporters” mentioned his reminders of what we do have and don’t realize that it is unique. Tibb would be a great resource to address potential retirees about why they should come to Knox County, too.

Stacy Henry did a great job of setting the tone of the day, talking about his plans and preparation for a career, his experience, and his decision to come home. Was honest and humble, but also able to portray that he clearly choose home over opportunities that were more prestigious. Talked candidly about his experience since coming home the career success and payoff, the real importance for him of being near family, his daughters’ education and opportunities here. And best of all, unlike the other YED speakers I’ve had, he challenged the students to come home and go to work in the community. Again, without sounding like he was boasting Stacy was able to talk about all the community improvement work he is involved in and his belief that if you want to live here and want that life to offer what you came home for you are obligated to work for it. WOW!

No comments: