Bungee Jumping vs. Service Learning

Blog entry created by: Teresa

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Bungee jumping

– a sport in which a person jumps from a height certain to cause death, except for the fact that said person has been attached to a long bungee cord, which, unless things go terribly wrong, will provide a thrilling, wonderful ride, almost beyond compare.

Global youth service learning – ditto

Well, okay, service learning also means applying your knowledge to tackle real world issues.

To me, it’s also critically important that the projects are designed and managed by youth, and that the youth get all the training they need in leadership, communications, teamwork, and design thinking to identify and manage their project.  Not coincidentally, those are the same qualities our kids are going to need if they are to have any hope of tackling our world’s complex problems or achieving their own unique dreams.

“That's why I LOVE service learning.  In all my years of non-profit work and traveling to volunteer and visit many, many projects around the world, I haven’t seen anything that offers more hope for our collective future than service learning.”

But still, like going up on stage, or stepping off that bungee jumping platform, it takes some courage every time you do it.  You have to let go, and trust the process, not to mention trusting the teenagers!

I spent the last year researching the effectiveness of service learning, pouring through curriculum, and trying to figure out if teens from different countries could work together on joint projects in each of their countries.  I want them to truly get to know one another and try to understand each other’s cultures and different ways of doing things, while they get the satisfaction of accomplishing goals together.

With the help of teachers at Davidson Day School in NC and Sacred Heart High School in Belize, we prepared the students with leadership training and the design thinking process.

Now comes the big test…

The American kids came down to Belize to work directly with the Belizean teens.  The Challenge: two weeks to select an issue, learn about it, brainstorm solutions and implement at least one of them.  Whew! 

Will it really work?

I’ll let you know in my next post.

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Posted on: July 4, 2012 | Categories: AFAR, Archaeology, Belize, Education, History, recreation, Service Learning, Service Learning US & Belize teens

 

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