Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Going Big! PC launches training initiative with HSLI / YMCA

Last night, Project Coach team members traveled outside their comfort zone of the North End to visit Dunbar Community Center, where 108 local YMCA staff members were waiting to participate in a two-hour training session.

The session featured loads of small group discussion and a host of interactive activities between PC team members and the YMCA staff.  Our discussions and activities touched on coaching and leadership styles, effective and ineffective communication techniques, the creation of the “perfect coach” (a PC favorite), and building a positive team culture. Using coaching clips from Project Coach archives, and from famous fictional and non-fiction coaches, participants also considered the importance of effective verbal and non-verbal communication, as well as critical listening skills.

All of these themes are routinely discussed and thoroughly analyzed over the course of a season by our high school students in Project Coach, as these issues take time and concentrated effort to master.  That being said, the YMCA staff did a wonderful job engaging with the issues in a way that left everyone here at Project Coach excited about the YMCA’s summer programming.

The two-hour session was a great success in its own right, but what is best about these types of events is the transfer of knowledge and expertise between two organizations that previous to this time, have been working towards the same goal- enriching the lives of youth in their community through strong mentorship- independent of one another. This was abundantly evident in the composition of the Project Coach team that carried out the workshop; Directors, experienced “redshirts”, incoming “redshirts” (for whom last night’s session was their first formal venture into the PC curriculum!) and - most importantly - a cohort of veteran high school-aged coaches, who did a tremendous job sharing their knowledge and facilitating group activities with what was - by far - the largest number of people PC has ever launched a training initiative for.

Collaborations like the one formed last night can have positive effects that reach beyond the limits of a two-hour training session, and here at Project Coach we hope that last night is the start of great relationship with the YMCA of Springfield, and Hasbro Summer Learning Initiatives, who have been instrumental in providing such collaborative opportunities for PC, and have played a critical role in helping to shape our third consecutive summer of employment opportunities for PC youth. We look forward to continued partnerships with both organizations, this summer and beyond.

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