This weekend, I got to participate in JUMP Foundation's Facilitator Training workshop. For those of you that don’t know, I am currently based in Bangkok, working for JUMP! as their Marketing and Communications Intern. JUMP! is a non-profit social enterprise that values experiential education, empowering individuals to become change-makers the world needs through programs that they run worldwide. These programs exist in forms of leadership, community, and personal development workshops within schools and also as adventure-based programs that occur in the backcountry with facilitator-led student groups. In addition to the programs that JUMP! leads, the foundation also provides resources and support to underserved communities throughout the world so that they can create their own programs to help inspire, empower, and engage locals to take action in bettering their situations—however they see fit.
As you might imagine, working for an organization like JUMP! forces me to constantly consider my role as a global citizen. How am I doing my best on a daily basis to help my peers? My community? Our world? Where are there opportunities for me to implement change in my life and lifestyle that could have a positive snowball effect down the line? How can I do my best to reduce the size of my negative footprint that is inherently being created by merely existing? These questions are important, but aren’t all easily answerable. Surrounded by people who support growth, learning, and pretty much all things just and good, I feel encouraged to further develop my consciousness of the responsibility to be a change-maker.
Everyday in the JUMP! office I get a dose of this positive, impact-driving medicine, but this weekend was particularly motivating. It was a powerful opportunity to connect with some of my colleagues who facilitated the workshop as well as the awesome group of individuals who showed up as participants. Throughout the weekend, we spent time learning new facilitation techniques and models. All of which I found incredibly beneficial and thought-provoking. Sections of the training were blocked off to support learning and growth for leadership, global citizenship, community building, and personal development. Each section and activity was debriefed with thoughtful detail, which helped highlight the importance of the lessons shared with us.
Yesterday’s activities were led by 5 of JUMP!’s full-time staff members, which allowed a really efficient system for learning from experienced facilitators about different styles and approaches. Today’s activities were led mostly by the participants as we each got the opportunity to facilitate an exercise for 10 minutes. Moments that followed each participant’s presentation were devoted to giving feedforward (aka the preferred lingo to “feedback”) to the individual.
Diving into JUMP!’s way of evaluating and giving “feedforward” provided me with a great tool, that I’ll definitely reuse in future personal and professional evaluations. JUMP! uses a plus and delta system in assessing how to move forward to make a situation better the next go-around. All pluses and deltas are specific, actionable, and repeatable. Giving feedforward in this way ensures that the individual or group in charge can recreate all the best aspects of the original approach and initiate change for improvement. Pluses and deltas don’t label actions as good or bad; they highlight what went well and what could be improved. Pluses use verbs ending in -ing and deltas use verbs in the form of commands. What I really like about this model of feedforward is its ability to encourage change in a positive way. Deltas don’t point out the bad, they offer a solution.
Since I’ve facilitated leadership, team-building, and community development activities in the past, I didn’t think today would feel much different. I chose to lead a pre-written activity but changed its framework in order to acknowledge the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. In the activity I had my group count to 17 together, setting parameters which allowed only one person at a time the ability to say a number. The goal was to get to 17 without anyone speaking at the same time. If two people tried to say the same number, we had to start over. Once the group got to 17, I asked them to repeat the exercise with their eyes closed. This activity fosters patience, communication, and listening skills. Thanks to the feedforward offered by my group, I have a few deltas that I’ll excitedly implement if I facilitate the activity in the future. One was to frame the activity with my intentions before I began. This delta would allow individuals to have a more clear understanding as they flow through the activity, it would also make for a more meaningful debrief. Another delta I received was to share knowledge about the United Nation’s SDG’s instead of just alluding to them. I appreciate this feedforward because I think spreading the word about the SDG’s is critical.
Though I can’t facilitate my activity through this blogpost, I feel compelled to encourage you to look up the United Nation’s SDG’s. I found out about them in January, so I assume there are others who still don’t know what they are. I think it’s important that we make them known well enough that anywhere in the world in any context/situation you can bring up the SDG’s and people will know what you are talking about. If you haven’t heard of them, take a few moments to learn what they are, why they were created, and how you can make a difference in helping us see them achieved over the next 14 years. If you have heard of them, I still think you could benefit from reading further. Bonus points if you start a discussion with a family member, friend, or loved one about why they are important to you and which ones you feel particularly passionate about. The UN has a powerful list of resources on their website for ways to make change happen. I am positive that you can find something to do that’s immediately attainable. For ideas, check out this list of 170 actions and this link to The Lazy Person’s Guide to Saving the World.
I knew I would have positive take-aways from this weekend, but I couldn’t have predicted the level of gratitude I feel as I type this reflection. It’s crazy to me to think that I get to work for an organization that fuels people with purpose and value. I see this created by JUMP! internally, within the organization, and externally in how the individuals associated with JUMP! interact with the world. As I am reminded of my capacity to make a difference, I want to share that reminder with you. I hope you find at least one way that you can be an agent for positive change this week.
Thanks for reading!