Interfaith Youth Action Group excited by Faiths Act leadership training
On Sunday, October 17th, IYAG held its first Leadership Training for its youth and mentors in partnership with the Tony Blair Faith Foundation and the Interfaith Youth Core. Below, Lisa Croswell, a member of the Pov/Education group and a junior at HB Woodlawn High School, talks about the her experience at the leadership training:
On October 17, the Interfaith Youth Action Group did a leadership training program with the Tony Blair Foundation. The first thing we did after getting a brief overview of what we would be doing was to have the room be the world and to stand in places where we wanted to be, in countries where we had family or friends, and in locations where we knew there was an issue that we wanted to help resolve. After that, we broke up into pairs and discussed what our strengths and interests were and what groups we were involved in to be able to spread the word of events. After sharing our partner’s information with the group, we turned the room into a maze.
One lucky individual at a time – I went first – would have to navigate their way through said maze blindfolded while trying to listen to one person – my partner was Arianna – while the rest of the group tried to distract them by telling them to go right when they were supposed to go left and telling the blindfolded person that they were about to run into a wall. In all, it was a very cool experience. We got to know each other a bit better and we learned to trust each other more through the maze.
Mahrukh Hasan also the mentor of the Poverty and Education MDG group shares experiences below:
As the lucky young professional mentor to the IYAG poverty and education MDG group, last Sunday I participated in an engaging day-long leadership workshop hosted by the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, Interfaith Youth Core, and the One World Youth Project. These remarkable organizations are empowering the world’s youth so that they can lead their diverse communities in tackling issues that they feel strongly about.
We had a morning mentorship training session for organizers and mentors of the IYAG program. During this free-flowing session, mentors Nabila (women’s issues MDG group), Avi (environmental health and sustainability MDG group), and I, as well as organizers Meg, Kalsoom, and Sana identified areas of strength and improvement for the program. With help from Chantal (TBFF), Kate (IYC), and Jes (OWYP), we also brainstormed solutions for addressing our concerns of lack of group cohesion and proactive engagement. Still, everyone agreed that we have a group of tremendously talented and passionate young people waiting for their chance to make a difference. This session led up to the afternoon’s session with our IYAG all-stars!
The purpose of the leadership workshop was to instill a sense of purpose in the IYAG leaders and give them the tools they need to succeed in planning their projects. It was broken up in to two parts: 1. team building and 2. skill building. Most of the focus was on the first part – team building. The IYAG all-stars first began with a few games. The first had everyone stand around the room, but to imagine that it was the world. Each time they moved, they would have to explain why. For example, once they were told to ‘go to a place that you have never been that you would like to go and why?‘ It was interesting to learn that some leaders wanted to go to Afghanistan or Ecuador because they were inspired by stories of injustice that they would one day like to correct. Another game built trust between the IYAG leaders, by being required to escort a blindfolded fellow IYAG leaders through an obstacle course of chairs around the room. Other IYAG leaders were instructed to distract the couple of leaders trying to get through the course by only trusting in each other. The last few exercises included developing a mission statement. IYAG leaders took ownership of their program by deciding what they wanted their program to be. This is what they decided IYAG is all about (in their own words!!!):
“MDG awareness via friends, media, local organizations through interfaith service.”
Lastly, we went around the room and each IYAG leader talked about what they felt their own personal strengths were and what they can contribute to the mission. We realized that we have so many talented young people with a diverse set of skills and interests – everything from event planning to social media and from writing to knitting! Lastly, we all completed surveys on the event and everyone seemed to be looking forward to our next event – more team building, but this time on a ropes course! See you next time from the trees!