Co-Creating an Experiential Learning Toolkit with Bay.Org
Project Saturday is a co-created initiative in service to designing a process to foster collaborative learning for high school and college youth interning at the EcoCenter at Heron's Head Park, a division of Bay.Org.
The team designed and facilitated 4 workshops during the summer internship program in 2017 and later created a detailed toolkit to integrate collaborative learning processes in future programming.
Co-creation, Community Partnership, Research,
Workshop Facilitation, Leadership
May 2017 - December 2017
Administrators: Susie and Pia
Naturalists: Sonny and Heather
CCA Grad Students: Laura Sanford and Yini Nie
Interns: TJ, Demaurie, Valerie, Aleks, Gavin, Nate, Noreen and Olman
THE INITIAL REQUEST
In summer 2017, the EcoCenter had employed 8 interns as part of a Community Challenge Grant - the largest group since starting the program. The staff was worried about the interns' abilities to work as a team, hold meetings, and collaborate with such a large group.
We were asked to help the interns work collaboratively through workshops and mentorship so that they successfully finish their final summer project: restoring the butterfly meadow.
Research and Synthesis
We facilitated four workshops with the interns, iterating the workshop structure and methods with different content each time. The content changed depending on the progress of the interns' final project as well as the feedback we received from both staff and interns.
MEASURING SUMMER IMPACT
Investing in a Different Kind of Capital
We invested in the interns' psychological capital by building up their confidence through communication and collaboration. We invested in their knowledge capital through giving them skills and methods of teamwork and project management.
- feedback through conversation at the end of the workshops
- feedback through interviews at the end of the program
- completion of the project
- attendance at workshops
The Need for a New Process
As we ran our workshops, we realized the need for communication skills went far beyond what a few short workshops could teach.
How Might We
Design a Process for Future Collaborative Learning?
Experiential Learning Toolkit
We pulled together our interviews of the interns and staff at the EcoCenter. Along with our own observations we came up with a strategy to help the EcoCenter's internship program beyond our workshops. In order to make a greater impact, we created a toolkit for the EcoCenter to use in future internship programs in which communication and collaboration were more integrated into the process.
We imagine our toolkit will help empower the staff at the EcoCenter to invest in the psychological and knowledge capital of the interns long after Yini and I are involved in the project.
- feedback on the toolkit from interns and staff
- implementation of the toolkit in future programs at the EcoCenter at Heron’s Head Park
- the program has more communication and collaboration workshops in the future and becomes a holistic program empowering the youth both personally and professionally
Working with a community partner takes time. The dynamics of the organization, the relationship building, and structure of the environment have been what fascinated me most throughout this process.