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City of Seattle
Ed Murray, Mayor
NEWS ADVISORY
SUBJECT: Open House for new Camp Long Community Collaboration project for youth using challenge courses
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
9/6/2012  4:52:00 PM
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:


Open House for new Camp Long Community Collaboration project for youth using challenge courses

Camp Long and Washington State University Extension (WSUE) 4-H Youth Development staff will welcome the public to an open house on the new Camp Long Community Collaboration Project (CCC) from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, September 23.

The new CCC is a vision for youth development and the collaboration of organizations serving youth. The program uses challenge courses to help youth develop and practice using the tools and life skills they need to succeed.

Consistent with the visions of the Civilian Conservation Corps, the Works Progress Administration, Judge William B. Long and the youth organizations of the Depression era founders who built Camp Long, the New CCC is an effort to help youth develop the skills they need to be successful in our community through training, teamwork, and mentoring. Youth will learn leadership skills on the Challenge Course and connect with youth leaders from other organizations. For background on challenge courses, please click here.

The Collaboration and its Partners
The New CCC is a collaboration among the Camp Long Advisory Council, a citizen council and member of the Associated Recreation Council; WSUE-4H; and Seattle Parks and Recreation, with the support of a large matching fund award from the Department of Neighborhoods. The partners participating in the project are local organizations that work with youth, including Neighborhood House, SW Youth and Family Services, the Mountaineers, and Renton Area Youth Services. 

Training
Each participating organization sends staff and teen leaders to the Low Challenge Facilitation Training. They learn the process for facilitating experiential education activities using group problem-solving techniques on a series of elements made of wood, wires, platforms and ropes. The essential component of the experiential learning process is debriefing after the team building exercise and applying the learning to the next activity. The organizations form lasting bonds between staff members and teen leaders that increases social connections, cross neighborhood and multi-cultural exposure, awareness of organizational programs and offerings, and networking between organizations.

Youth Leadership and Job Skills
The youth from each organization are trained together in a Youth Academy and earn a stipend for their participation. They can become Certified Facilitators by apprenticing with staff and helping deliver programs to other youth groups. Youth Academy members can earn a stipend during their apprenticeship, and are asked to volunteer their time to introduce the challenge course to the public.

Once certified, youth can apply to become paid facilitators through the Associated Recreation Council. The skills they learn in facilitation training will also serve them well in the job market.  Finally, participating organizations can save facilitator costs on future use of the course by using staff and teen leaders instead of paying out of pocket.  This makes the Camp Long WSUE 4H Challenge Course affordable to low-income and underserved communities.

Youth Development
Youth need more than knowledge to be successful and productive members of society.  They also need social and emotional skills such as communication, leadership, cooperation, respect, trust, self-confidence, conflict resolution, decision making and problem-solving skills frequently referred to as "emotional intelligence."

4H Challenge Courses provide a structured, consistent, and ongoing curriculum that allows groups of youth or community members to progress through a series of tiered learning activities that enhances other programs such as youth leadership, family wellness, community organization and development, health education, peer and adult mentoring, drug prevention, adjudicated rehabilitation and job development skills.  

4-H Challenge programs change the way participants interact with their group. We build healthy relationships and develop the critical life skills necessary for a successful life.  The underlying psychological and educational assumption behind challenge courses is that if a person is supported to move out of his/her comfort zone and has a successful experience, then powerful conditions exist for positive change. Groups who engage in a long-term relationship with 4-H Challenge can expect to see a measurable increase in participant commitment to the group and a decrease in negative and non-participatory behavior.

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Seattle Parks and Recreation

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