Fall 2017 Training Retreat


"The retreat is a really special time for us, as staff, and for the fellows. It’s the first time we get to engage with each other in-person. This week helps lay the groundwork for the community we strive to create of passionate leaders and changemakers."

Kirsten Abel, Executive Director


Each time a new fellowship cohort is launched, we bring everyone together for a week-long training and development retreat. From New York to Central Iowa and Oregon - our three Fall 2017 fellows came together in Portland at the end of September to prepare for their work ahead, connect with peers, and explore workforce concepts critical to success in the social sector.

This time around, the agenda was packed full with topics that we could have explored for weeks on end, but a couple sessions stood out above the rest to our fellows:

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES)

Rachel Parker, Club Director of Inukai Boys & Girls Club (a Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland site), facilitated a powerful training on ACES and working with youth who have experienced trauma.

Beyond Diversity

Fellows discussed concepts of equity, inclusion, and self-exploration of identity with Dara Snyder from YWCA of Greater Portland.

Design Thinking

Throughout the program, we encourage fellows to employ design thinking and human-centered design to solve problems at work in program development, event planning, etc. During this session, we introduced fellows to the concept and common mindsets of design thinking, from curiosity to radical collaboration, and talked about specific ways it can be utilized in the social sector.

As the week progressed, fellows worked to create action plans for their projects. On one of our last days together, they presented their project plans, fielded questions, and bounced ideas off of one another.


Nathaly plans to hit the ground running when she begins her work with Fiver Children’s Foundation mid-October.

During her presentation, Nathaly discussed how she will approach constructing an alumni program for Fiver, including hearing from youth who are nearing the end of their time with Fiver as well as current alumni to understand what their needs are. Because Nathaly was a Fiver program participant (which makes her an alum), she brings an incredibly unique perspective to developing this program.


Jarlisa shared an overview what she’ll be doing with Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland to ensure outstanding youth recognition is built into programs at all of the Club sites. She will also focus directly on supporting youth and teens who have been nominated for Youth of the Year, which is a Boys & Girls Clubs of America program that celebrates exceptional Club members for outstanding leadership, service, and academic excellence.


Denisha discussed the various ways she will support YSS’s Risky Business Action Summit. The event is focused on raising awareness to youth poverty and homelessness, empowering youth and professionals, and facilitating community engagement in positive youth development.

By the end of the week, all of the fellows reported feeling a sense of connection among their peers and equipped with new, tangible ideas to apply to their work at the partner organizations and in the future. So much so, they even decided to coordinate a book club among themselves this fall!