Saturday, February 18, 2012

YPQA training w/ Voice & Choice: Be like a garden hose


So just a quickie on my experience at a YPQA training yesterday. It was hosted by Montgomery County's Collaboration Council (which you can also find on Facebook) and led by Lynn Sobolov (the program manager of Excel Beyond the Bell) & Jaracus Copes (Founder of New Destiny). The training Midcounty Community Center.

Just in case, YPQA stands for Youth Program Quality Assessment, and you can find more info at the Center for Youth Program Quality.

This training focused on Voice and Choice, and I can't possibly recap EVERYTHING that was addressed and discussed, which was all pretty neat. But I wanted to share a metaphor which came to mind, and I'm sure I'm not the first one to ever make this connection...but wanted to share, anyway.

At one point we were divided into groups and asked to focus on different guidelines, to become experts on our assigned one and share it with the group. My partners and I had to inform the others about how to provide support.

And in our book, there was this neat and simple smiley face spectrum. The two ends of the spectrum were "Wide-open choice with no support (can lead to frustration)" and "Not enough choice (can lead to lack of interest)". And then there was just right, "Meaningful choices with adult support. So the metaphor goes like this.

Wide-open choice is like a sprinkler, water's flowing but it's going all over the place, some of it evaporating, some of it hitting the sidewalk, and maybe some of it actually hitting what you're trying to water.

Not enough choice is like a faucet, again, water is flowing, but it's going right down the drain.

Meaningful choices is like a garden hose. Wate is flowing, and while there is structure, there is also flexibility in its direction.

So that's, that. Was definitely a great morning/early afternoon, getting to spend time with a group of people doing amazing work in the area, including organizations like Arts on the Block (also on Facebook) & ClancyWorks (also on Twitter).

Anyway, that's it :-)

- JR

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