When the Environmental Coordinator position was initiated at ISKL the intent was to develop an ethos within our community to make positive change. Now nearly four years later we have made some significant inroads into the school's culture, but in doing so we are increasingly realizing that what we're doing, really, is allowing students to recognize their own power in affecting and inventing the future and, more precisely, making it a future they want to be part of. This element is increasingly transforming our efforts into an initiative to build capacity within our community and, in order to do that, build capacity within ourselves. Enter the JUMP Foundation, which visited ISKL's grade 4 last week.
The JUMP Foundation is an experiential education and development group that does a whole host of things - from one-day workshops to multi-day experiential excursions - aimed at empowering youth. Recently it has worked with the Global Issues Network (GIN) Conferences in the region with the specific task of developing leadership and facilitation skills in students running the GIN Conferences.
Last week JUMP arrived with four educators and conducted three days worth of training. On day one they trained a number of teachers (largely grade 4) in facilitation and activities they would subsequently run with the students. Day two was a day largely revolving around the idea of community, teamwork and collaboration for students. Largely active and always challenging students were involved in a number of sessions whose primary focus was the understanding of personal attitudes and behaviors as well as inter-personal interactions and dynamics. Day three was focused on leadership and action planning in preparation for Grade 5 and their duties with the Red Hats program.
How does this relate to sustainability and service? Well, JUMP has a diagram of a mountain range that they use to discuss the hierarchy of capacity building. The range begins with personal development, then moves to community engagement before finally reaching a global citizenship issue. It became evident during their visit that while we started out with the idea of educating for sustainability, giving students the tools for personal empowerment, leadership development and action is a necessary and fundamental first step to affecting the future in positive ways.
We have great hopes for JUMP returning to ISKL next year. We are hopeful they will work with the Green Council and other service leaders on campus as we move ever so steadily toward building global citizens from the ground up.