PeerForward kicked off the season with our last training session of the year, Spring Training Camps. Teams across the nation and in Bermuda meet regionally to assess their PeerForward Team’s performance while making plans for the future.
On February 1st, PeerForward kicked off the Spring Training Camp season in Michigan. At every training camp Coaches lead Peer Leaders through an itinerary of activities aimed at helping them reflect on their successes, recognize where they can improve, and plan the next steps for their PeerForward team. Using the PeerForward Method, each team leverages data to track their progress towards team goals, inform their final campaigns of the year, and assess their school’s postsecondary culture.
PeerForward teams work hard, which means our Coaches make space for them to play hard too. During this year’s Spring Training Camp, we challenged students to Twin Bingo; a fun photo-based game that encourages students to step outside their comfort zone and intermingle with the other schools. When one PeerForward team wins, they all win; facilitating a sense of community helps every Peer Leader strive toward success, not only for their schools but for other PeerForward teams as well.
Once Peer Leaders have gotten to know a few new friends, PeerForward Coaches dive right in for the “Data Deep Dive.” Each team looks over the data they have recorded to date and works together to score themselves in a number of different areas using their PeerForward scoreboard. The metrics on the scoreboard are meant to help the Peer Leaders determine the impact they are having on their peers and school. PeerForward Coaches then encourage teams to share their scores and the reasoning behind them.
Following a short break to allow the Peer Leaders to regroup, the “Team Feedback” session begins. This time is used for Peer Leaders to reflect on their personal and team-based progress so far. The teams then collectively provide suggestions on how to improve moving forward.
Peer Leaders get a peek at the costs of a college student in the next activity, “Sample Play Budget.” Here, each team analyzes example student budgets to identify the hidden costs of college and understand the importance of saving money. Once they have looked over the budgets, the Coaches lead the teams in a game where they compete with one another using what they learned to answer questions before their opponents do. The segment is wrapped up with the students sharing the budgeting advice they would give to our sample college students.
The final session of the training camp gives the students time to plan how they will finish the year strong. Juniors take the lead in planning campaign activities for the remainder of the year, with their seniors as active contributors. This helps prepare the Junior Peer Leaders for the roles they will take on following the graduation of the Seniors. Senior Peer Leaders are then led by their Coaches in a ceremonial “passing of the torch” to the Juniors. An emotional moment for the Coaches and Peer Leaders, it indicates that the final PeerForward training camp for the Senior Peer Leaders is coming to a close. As the buses arrive, the students say their final goodbyes to the staff and are sent back to school full of new ideas and plans for the future of their teams.
Thank you to every Peer Leader, PeerForward Advisor, Volunteer, and Coach who made this Training Camp season a success. Our final Spring Training Camp ended on a spectacular note with our Kentucky PeerForward Teams at Harlan Independent High School.