October 2014 Archives

Last spring we got a call from a director from an overnight camp in New Hampshire who we had never worked with before, hoping we could help get his course and staff ready for the season. We love new customers, but the few weeks before camps open are one of our busiest times of the year. We are a mission-driven; non-profit organization we do our best to accommodate everyone, however, long-term High 5 clients have scheduled training, course inspections, new installations and repairs months in advance. Calls like these can create challenges for us: the last thing a director wants to hear in June is that his camps' practices and equipment are not up to standard. But based on what we heard about their program, we wanted to help, knowing that we may find less than acceptable practices. Sure enough a few things left us uneasy, especially their giant swing construction and the ability of their staff to effectively operate it.

We know education is important, especially in order to help the camp director become better informed. We began by sharing best practices and offering advice on the changes necessary to meet ACCT industry standards. With the support of our building team, the director became informed. We sent lead Builder Lucas Germano out to work his magic to bring the course up to industry standards and further educate the staff. And within a week of camp opening we had the course up to speed and their staff trained and ready for the opening of camp.

Just a few days ago, the camp director called again this time asking to get on our schedule for inspection and book training for summer 2015. Collaboratively, the director and Ian developed a plan that included scheduling the inspection early enough so any upgrades or training could occur well before the start of camp. The director indicated that he wanted High 5 to be his vendor moving forward. He indicated that based on his experience this spring, he trusts our judgment and honesty.

In the words of their ropes course leader

"...the giant swing went great, the kids felt better on it and had so much more fun and the staff did a great job. Over all they excelled on the ropes course this summer, thank you. I look forward to working with all of you again".
And she added, "I just used the Ubuntu cards today for some team building!!!"

Do you run a challenge course program? Is your program focused on education, growth and development? Are you committed to following best practices? Then, just like our newest client, maybe your site is ready to join the High 5 family of adventure education sites! If so, call soon and talk with our installation staff so we can understand your program needs and get you a spot on our schedule!

We can't wait to hear from you.

Ian, Todd and the installation team can be reached at 802.254.8718.

We all know that investing in staff through training and professional development builds competency, confidence and community in schools and agencies. We also know that the budgets play a big role in what can be offered. Here are some quick tips to providing professional development sessions that have a high level of engagement, value and are budget friendly!

1. Appeal to all learning styles
You've got your listeners, your talkers, your doers and those who just have to write it down and those crazy combinations (how many possibilities does this create?)

When you are choosing a professional development topic, content and facilitator, make sure they really cover all those bases (and not just pretend too).

2 for 1 Bonus: When you intentionally plan to include all the learning styles, it becomes a reminder to your staff to do the same!
2. Be strategic and mission focused Quickly re-read your district, school or agencies mission and strategic plan (probably stashed in a closet, file or on the website). Make certain the facilitator intentionally aligns the training with the mission to refresh the staff on the goals of the organization.

2 for 1 Bonus: You help staff get re-engaged with passion and purpose!

3. Get buy-in from the start
Communicate with participants in advance to front-load how the investment of their time wiladd value and help them to know what they can expect from the program day. A skillful facilitator will be able to help you do this well.

2 for 1 Bonus: Staff are energized and excited before they walk in the door!

4. Hire a teenager while they still know everything!
We say this tongue in check, but truly there are amazing ways to engage students as co-facilitators, to lead activities, to hold dialogue sessions and to add real value (not just set up, clean up and serving the coffee). All while teaching leadership skills and aligning with 21st Century outcomes. Check out our Facebook page and our Edge of Leadership (EOL) website to learn how schools and agencies are developing meaningful student/teacher connections using EOL.

2 for 1 Bonus: You are providing a space for teachers to build meaningful connections with students they may never met in the classroom!

5. Team teaching and learning
We learn best when we learn together. Experiential activities that include problem-solving, brain-storming, communication and shared leadership are the cornerstones of a positive professional learning community. Staff, who spend most of their time working in isolation, build connections and identify new ways to support each other.

2 for 1 Bonus: You lay the groundwork to enhance a positive and professional learning community.

6. Use methodology and strategies they can apply in their day to day.
When staff experience content that they can see themselves using in their class rooms and directly with those they serve, they sit up and take notice.

2 for 1 Bonus: Experiential activities not only teach staff about themselves and their strengths, but they are easily replicated in the academic setting!

BONUS TIP: High 5's Mastermind Circuit is a half-day or full day Professional Development Program designed ESPECIALLY for large groups with a low facilitator to participant ratio . It is cost effective rich experience! Intentionally designed and sequenced activities tap into a variety of academic skills sets, learning and work styles, creative thinking skills and best of all...it is a balance of non-physical and low-physical activities so it is suitable for EVERYONE on your team!

Need help putting together a cost effective professional development program?

Call us today to learn how to bring Mastermind Circuit or Edge of Leadership to your school! Your staff will thank you!

High 5 Adventure Learning Center, 130 Austine Drive, Suite 170 Brattleboro, VT 05301

802.254.8718 or 877.356.4445 fx:802-251-7203

email: info@high5adventure.org

Recent Comments

  • Rachel Sampson: I would like to try this but can't find where read more
  • Jen Ottinger: Hi Ryan! Great words to live by. read more
  • markcollardinc: Ryan, I saw Michelle Cummings present this exercise earlier this read more
  • markcollardinc: Ditto! We - Ryan, Nate and me - all reading read more
  • markcollardinc: Hey Ryan, why is this activity called Ubuntu CIRCLE when read more
  • higherbeing: Love it! read more
  • Wes: Hi Ryan. I am currently looking into establishing a physics read more
  • Ryan McCormick: Thanks Nate, I love this activity and find useful in read more
  • Nate Folan: Right on Ryan! This activity is very effective. Thanks for read more
  • Ryan McCormick: Well, it depends on the size of the group. With read more