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Report from NCCEP / GEAR UP Capacity-Building Workshop

admin | Thursday, February 23, 2017

Filed by Carina Soto, Kelly Pappas, and Joe Booth.

Conference
National Council for Community and Education Partnerships (NCCEP) / GEAR UP
Capacity-Building Workshop 2017

Hot Topics
Cultivating a college going culture, four keys of college & career readiness, overcoming barriers in family engagement, 2017 GEAR UP grant competition

Lillian from GEAR UP Philadelphia, winner of raffle sponsored by Career & College Clubs

Key Take-Aways
Carina

  • Attendees were eager to learn, collaborate, and share best practices in every session over the course of the 3-day workshop.
  • The Excel/Prove/Mobilize theme of CBW really resonated with folks and was so popular that some lunch table signs intended to boost the respective messages of each were walking off the tables afterward. People couldn’t get enough!
  • Affinity Groups gave attendees a rare opportunity to focus on overcoming challenges they face on certain topics (such as financial aid) with other GEAR UP practitioners, by sharing best practices and key strategies they could put to good use when they return to their home schools.
  • Attendees left CBW energized and motivated.
  • The conference ended one day ahead (thank goodness) of a heavy snow storm in NYC that canceled many flights!

Kelly
Not to my surprise, the dedication and energy of our GEAR UP community is inspiring. This conference focused on providing training opportunities for people to sharpen their individual skills, and I was fortunate to be able to attend many sessions. My favorite session was a mobilize workshop named, The Foundations of Purposeful Storytelling – Bringing Power to Every GEAR UP Voice. It was so different to any session I’ve been too. We created GEAR UP superheroes with superpowers, composed stories about how these heroes received their powers, and then even created a play-doh representation of the story. That’s right…we played with play-doh! When’s the last time you’ve done that? We gained an understanding how to create a story with purpose and how our stories can advance the GEAR UP movement. And this was just one of the many beneficial and helpful sessions offered. I can’t wait for next year’s conference!

Joe
The highlight of my conference was the many conversations, connections, and peer learning that happened outside of the scheduled sessions – you just can’t program for these spontaneous, and valuable, interactions. Beyond those, two sessions in particular had impacts I’ll bring back and incorporate into my own activities.

  • Developing a Growth Mindset for Families, presented by our colleagues at GEARUP4LA and CoBro Consulting, focused on their activities to help parents understand and promote a growth mindset in their children. GEARUP4LA does a fantastic job making difficult concepts accessible for everyone.
  • Crafting a Communications Plan, presented by staff from Oregon GEAR UP, Colorado GEAR UP, and Hawaii GEAR UP, was memorable not just for the ideas conveyed, but also for the way these three presenters practiced what they preached. Their presentations were clear, concise, engaging and, most importantly, had an impact.

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