Junior Branch North Summit 2011
In 2009 CISV USA and CISV Canada began talking about doing a joint project between the two countries. They realised that a common issue that they faced was member retention of Junior Branch members (JBers) ages 18-25. The idea of Summit was to develop this age group.
It became clear that involving Mosaic in Summit was a natural step. Mosaic can be a very valuable tool for Chapter development, this specific age group of JBers could begin implementing Mosaic on college campuses in addition to helping their own Chapters grow.
JBers 18-25 should be a large part of our organization holding national positions, and being the role models for younger JBers locally and nationally. The main goal of JB North Summit 2011 was to develop this age group as a way of strengthening the organization and the Chapters. To achieve this, JB North Summit 2011 had three tasks:
- Connect CISV educational principles to real world action through a deeper and more hands on approach to the Mosaic Program.
- Connect with non-CISV communities to create a lasting impact.
- Explore the benefits of working to improve the quality and range of our Junior Branch work.
These goals were woven together in this particular Summit through the lens of intercultural awareness. Both JB and Mosaic development centered greatly on how we could use increased awareness as a means to strengthening our communities and Junior Branch’s across the United States and Canada.
The Actions The Junior Branch North Summit 2011 had essentially four Phases: exploration, training, execution and evaluation.
The first full day was devoted to engaging and getting comfortable with our themes and each other. Participants explored how local issues relate to global ones, how it applied to our Junior Branch’s by identifying their strengths and weaknesses.
We talked about what Summit was as a programme and how it can benefit our organization. An introduction to the Mosaic educational framework helped tie the day together by creating an understanding of issues in Junior Branch’s, neighbourhoods or greater communities. Finally, staff and participants explored global and local social environments and began reconciling their similarities and differences.
Days two and three were more practical as participants began to move towards taking action. The was Mosaic training, cultural sensitivity work, Junior Branch problem identification and solution making. Participants also collaborated in actualising their Mosaic project as they used the Mosaic proposal worksheet to further develop their ideas and seek approval of the International Mosaic Committee. As an educational facet of the Greater Mosaic Project we were joined by Jeff Horner from Wayne State University’s Department of Urban Study and Planning. Jeff shared a very engaging lecture about the history of Detroit and how it came to be such a global metro area. This gave a context for participants as to how Metro Detroit became the international community that it is today.
The fourth day was devoted entirely to activity planning. Participants created a rotating schedule of planning groups and set to planning. The participants worked tirelessly planning two days of activities for their Mosaic Project.
Detroit Intercultural Summit occupied the fifth and sixth day. This was a great success for the participants. Although the number of local participants was small, the work was still incredibly valuable. Detroit Intercultural Summit was a great success for the participants who collaborated to create, not only the project itself but two days of exceptional activities.
Participants really stepped up and ran the days leading outstanding activities that stimulated and challenged everyone. Their hard work helped a group of Detroiters explore their place in creating a more intercultural Detroit.
The last day was a much needed relaxed, slow paced day where participants completed evaluations, discussed how to share Junior Branch North Summit 2011 with all of the Chapters and CISVers who were not able to attend. The JB North Summit 2011 Intercultural Toolbox was created and designed by the participants as a tool for other CISVers to share.
Highlights of Summit 2011
Our participant group was incredibly open and honest in all group discussion. The atmosphere was supportive and constructively critical. Clearly there are going to be those who contribute more and those who contribute less, but every person’s had their voice heard. This open environment made activity planning and discussion an amazing process. This may be attributable to the small group size..
The group was significantly smaller than we had envisioned. This concentrated group was ideal for a pilot program such as this. Not only did the participants come to learn and work hard they were tireless. Many times the group would work well into mealtimes or finish discussions and planning well into the late evening. The group consisted of new and lifelong CISVers who had the heightened critical perspectives of highly aware young adults. As observers, it was clear to us as staff that this age group is so necessary to our organisation.
Matt Nahan, Daniel Priddy and Keenan Dixon