Leadership. Collaboration. Creative problem solving. Reflection. Connection. These are just a few of the concepts fellows said that they took away from the training retreat that happened in Portland two weeks ago. We spent four days discussing tangible ideas and approaches that they can apply to their fellowship, but also to their work in the future.
As fellows trickled in from New York and Iowa, the first day was spent getting to know each other and pairing off into peer mentors. The peer mentorship component is designed for fellows to have a structured support system with a coworker whose project shares similarities. Throughout the summer, peer mentors meet virtually or in-person to reflect on their process and to discuss personal and professional growth together.
By the second day, fellows started the self reflection process and discussed personal values. They crafted a working mission statement that combine their values to help guide their work.
Rachel Parker, Inukai Club Director for Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland, came out to lead a workshop on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) and working with youth who have experienced trauma. Fellows walked away with a certificate in trauma-informed care. The day concluded with a scavenger hunt in downtown Portland, where fellows got to explore the city and answer trivia questions in teams!
The third day was packed full with concrete skill-building. A former HR Executive, Tom Hirons discussed navigating a new workplace and aligning one’s working self and authentic self. Fellows also had a chance to practice their fellowship elevator speech and how to best convey their accomplishments on a resume.
One of our favorite sessions of the retreat involved fellows working together to generate ideas and solutions for a program that might encourage remote teamwork. They ended up with two concepts that they decided to move forward with: a community resource document and a fellows-only Slack channel.
The day ended with a workshop led by YWCA of Portland’s Dara Snyder on moving beyond the concept of diversity into equity, inclusion, and cultural humility - practices key to working in the social sector, in any modern workplace, and in life.
After Dara’s workshop, we headed over to Kelley Point Park for a beach cleanup with SOLVE. What better way to close out the day than with an outdoor service project?!
Our final hours together were spent looking ahead. Fellows shared action plans and goals set for their projects as well as their plans for the next year. By the end of the week, 100% of the fellows reported having a felt a connection to their peers and a will to succeed this summer!