As the fall semester winds down, Peer Leaders across the U.S. and Bermuda are powering up.
PeerForward teams are tapping into their superpowers to make an impact on their classmates. During the school year, Peer Leaders guide their classmates to and through higher education. To support them, PeerForward provides leadership training twice a year that allows teams to reaffirm their goals, welcome new members, and strategize school-wide events to help peers navigate postsecondary planning. It may sound simple, but Fall Training Camps are so much more.
Peer Leaders find their true colors
Each camp starts with a very important question, “how well do you know yourself?”
Peer Leaders then have the chance to better understand their personalities and working styles through the True Colors Assessment. Through the assessment, teams work together to identify how everyone can contribute and work together, given their different personality types. With their new insights, Peer Leaders discover which roles on their team are best suited for their working style. While each team member brings their own flair, they’re all united by a shared commitment to peer-to-peer service. Forming a healthy team dynamic is crucial for PeerForward teams as they organize postsecondary events for the year ahead.
Peer-to-peer conversations take practice
Peer-to-peer influence is a powerful tool for change but harnessing that power takes practice. That’s exactly what Peer Leaders accomplish during Coaching Conversations. After reviewing the various postsecondary paths their classmates can take, Peer Leaders practice having one-on-one conversations with each other. For some, the conversations illuminate more than how to approach tough topics. Aleta Robeson-Foster, a Teacher’s Preparatory Academy Peer Leader told us, “It felt pretty amazing to know that I can teach others instead of just being taught. To give out the knowledge I’ve gained over 16 years, it makes me feel powerful to know that I can influence others and that I can lead others.”
Special guests and volunteers offer words of wisdom
In addition to their PeerForward Coaches, Fall Training Camp offers the opportunity for Peer Leaders to learn from adult allies committed to their success. In New York, Peer Leaders were welcomed by the President of St. Francis College in Brooklyn, New York, Miguel Martinez-Saenz who offered a sage piece of advice about searching for the right fit college, “You have to feel connected to where you are.”
Deloitte volunteers play an essential role in our training camps. At both DMV and NYC training camps, they offered a glimpse into potential career paths and illustrate that the path to success isn’t one-size-fits-all. “I thought it was important to share my journey because it wasn’t linear,” said Shelika Tate, a Deloitte NYC volunteer. During their speed mentoring sessions, Deloitte employees offered both career advice and comfort for Peer Leaders facing an often-confusing path ahead. “When I was applying to college, it was really hard because my parents knew nothing about it, and I relied on my peers. I want to be there to help as others helped me,” remarked Ali Allread, another Deloitte NYC volunteer.
The support and encouragement of college representatives from St. Francis College and Prince George’s Community College reaffirmed to students that college is a possibility for not only their future but the future of their peers.
Making a plan, taking a pledge
Before Peer Leaders head back to school to finish the semester strong, execute college applications and financial aid events, and prepare for the future, they create a plan. Team planning, the most important aspect of Fall Training Camps offers all Peer Leaders an opportunity to connect with their Coaches and Advisors to check that their strategies are aligned with their team goals. For Peer Leaders like Bevon McKoy, their team goals center on making a historical impact on their school, “I want us to have a purpose. I want my team to have the legacy of having the most students go to college.”
With their plans formulated, senior Peer Leaders proudly made room for the next cohort of peer influencers. At Fall Training Camps, junior Peer Leaders take the final step in joining a PeerForward team, taking the Peer Leader pledge. Their pledge to commit their passion, experience, and influence to create a college-going culture renews the determination of the entire team to do the same.
As we head into the final stretch of this year’s college application season, we can’t wait to see our Peer Leaders power through.