The week’s work of education and exploration finally led to today’s culminating moment – the ALS 2015 Symposium on Equity. Delegates began by discussing the difference between Equity and Equality. They then explored equity – or the lack thereof – in society and in their lives through various activities such as poetry readings, a privilege walk, the sharing of personal experiences, and statistics on equity gaps through history. They discussed the impacts of a non-equitable society, and challenged themselves as leaders to raise awareness and lead the charge to close the gaps in their own communities. Delegates displayed poise, professionalism, confidence, intelligence, and heart as they accomplished their goal of presenting this timely and challenging topic.
Tomorrow’s closing ceremony will take place in the Hynson Lounge inside Hodson Hall at 10:00. Please park in the same lot as Sunday, and staff will be available to direct you, Delegates will be dismissed immediately following the ceremony which will end at 11:00, and you can take them back to the dorm to pack up. We will never forget this week, and we hope the delegates won’t, either!
Please join us for the 2015 ALS Practicum, a Symposium on Equity. The delegates have been working hard and we would love a large audience. Join us virtually at https://livestream.com/washcoll/ALSx, or in person in the Litrenta Auditorium, inside the Toll Science Center on the campus of Washington College in Chestertown, MD.
And we’d love your feedback afterwards!
This morning’s workshop, Lenses, was facilitated by Chase. Delegates explored how to recognize the many sides to any given situation and how to look beyond one narrative. They learned how to apply different lenses to the world in order to embrace many narratives, and ultimately recognized that empathy begins when we are willing to look at something from another perspective.
Our second workshop, Interviewing, was presented by guest facilitator and MLW alumna Farah Sheikh. She walked delegates through best practices when preparing for an interview, had them rehearse interviewing with each other, and offered tips for follow-up.
We can’t believe it’s “humpday” already and our time together is half over. Today was full of work:
Our first workshop, Creative Collaboration, was presented by the fabulous Nia, who, in her day job, works with performing artists. As individuals we are limited; however, everyone has the capacity to be creative. Creativity exceeds limitations, so if we can learn how to collaborate creatively the possibilities are endless. Delegates explored the Creative Collaboration Cycle, and were encouraged to imagine how it would benefit when their own groups reach an impasse.
And, of course, today was full of play:
And then it was time to learn how to relax! ALS Program Evaluator and Guest Facilitator Maira Khwaja led delegates through a series of techniques to handle stress including breathing exercises, creating life-balancing to-do lists, dynamic stretching exercises, and the importance of maintaining perspective.
Tomorrow will be another full day so please check back with us!
Today started out with a workshop by Sterling called Reactions and Responses. An effective leader is able to account for their reactions and develop a more logical and controlled response that aligns with their values and the needs of the situation. By understanding how to manage their own reactions and those of groups, leaders can increase the level of buy-in from group members when advocating for an idea or course of action.
Our second workshop, Advocacy and Entrepeneurship, was presented by guest facilitator Ryan Arrendell, aka Randy Gloss, an MLW alumna whose passion for raising awareness of racial injustice has turned into her full-time job. She facilitated discussion on how to channel your passions into your life’s work, and provided tools for entrepeneurship. One delegate commented, “This is the best thing I’ve ever heard in my whole life!”
As usual, the rest of the day was filled with team-building activities, further exploration of the themes from yesterday’s workshops and how they tie together, and preparation for Friday’s Equity Symposium. And a little silliness, to boot…
The “MLW Magic” has kicked in early this year as delegates began bonding minutes (literally!) after arriving on Sunday.
We began their first day with a tour of the campus ending in their Group Room, which is decorated in a Harry Potter theme. We then played “get to know you” games such as Splash, which required staff and delegates alike to learn each other’s names very quickly or be “out!” They then had their first workshop. Kimberley Gordy, MLW Program Committee member, presented “MLW and You,” with focus on how the MLW experience can translate to the rest of the delegates’ lives now, in college, and in their future career. After dinner in the dining hall delegates attended Public Speaking, presented by MLW Senior High Workshops Director, Annie Coble.
Our first full day started out with MLW’s traditional “Morning Sing.” This is where we stand on a hillside and sing silly songs in order to energize our minds and bodies in preparation for the day ahead. Today included a particularly spectacular version of “Little Red Wagon” that seemed to turn into a dance contest among staff members.
The first workshop of the day was Self-Awareness with Natalie Sayag, who focused not only on “Who Are You?” but dug deeper with the question “Why Are You?” Discourse, Intersectionality, and the role they play in our identities were explored. The middle of the day was spent preparing for the Equity Symposium on Friday, more team-building games, and working in small groups with staff to establish personal goals and plans. After dinner, guest facilitator Jeremie Lecuyer presented a workshop on Branding, specifically on exploring and developing our own personal brand, which built nicely upon the morning workshop on Self Awareness.
Continuing with the Harry Potter theme, the delegates played Quidditch out in front of the dorm. Unfortunately, by that time it was too dark for photos, but trust me they had a fantastic time. Please tune in tomorrow for another update!
-Anita Anderson, Executive Director