In July of 2020, PolicyWorks received the program funding through a Citibank grant to conduct the unique camp program. PolicyWorks and its Lights! Camara! Access! Partners designed and produced the camp building from its work in the national professional development program.
The 2020 Camp NetWorx! event was hosted by Work Opportunities Unlimited (WOU). WOU is a Florida DVR Employment Service Provider non-profit organization that also provides Peer Mentoring services via referral in the YPM program. Peer Mentor Coordinators and Peer Mentors who are Peer MentoringWorks trained and certified providers in the YPM program were employed as camp coaches and cabin leaders. Youth and Students with disabilities who receive peer mentoring and employment services through FL DVR were invited to participate in camp at no cost to campers or FL DVR due to the support of Citibank and in-kind support of PolicyWorks.
The 2020 recruitment and application process began on October 1st, 2020. Approximately 30 students and youth with disabilities registered for camp and approximately 25 campers participated in each of the camp events.
Camp NetWorx! Program & Run of Show
Camp application and registration was achieved using google forms and surveys facilitated and recruited through WOUs peer mentoring program. Campers were required to apply and complete camp prerequisite activities to participate in camp.
- Camp NetWorx! Application
- Pre/post camp surveys
- Packing for Camp – Camper Favorites and resume’s and profile pics
Pre-Camp Events and Activities:
- Registration and Application
- Pre-camp Survey
- Packing for Camp Your Favorites
- Camp NetWorx! Project Team Orientation – Thursday, Oct. 1st 3:00 to 5:30
Camp NetWorx! Schedule of Events
Week 1 – Tuesday, Oct. 13th 3:00 to 6:00 pm/ Thursday, Oct. 15th 3:00 to 5:30 pm
Tari Hartman Squire – The Art of Storytelling
JD Michaels – You Are Your Verbs
Campfire Summit – Storytelling and You Are Your Verbs Forum
Sharing your favorites and making connections through storytelling and “You Are Your Verbs” supported through YouTube exploration: Maysoon Zahid’s TedX
Cabin Workshop – Guest Cameo Appearance – Maysoon Zayid
Maysoon made a cameo camp appearance and shared insight of storytelling and her international TedX experiences.
Daman Wandke and Kyann introduced campers to the slack communication platform and campers received a link to create a profile and to connect with the camp slack channel.
Campers were assigned cabins and cabin leaders based on YPM Peer Mentors referrals. Campers were placed in meeting rooms where Cabin leaders facilitated the identification of a cabin name by campers.
2020 Cabin Camp Cabin Names:
- The Purple Phoenix Dreamers
- Animals of the Arts
- Tropical Blazing Flamingos
Cabin Workshop –
- Activity 1 – 5 Questions 10 Answers Worksheet
- Activity 2 – Identifying Your Verbs Worksheet
Campers returned from their cabin workshops and presented cabin names to the group and campers were provided a preview of activities of next week’s cabin.
Week 2 – Tuesday, Oct. 20th 3:00 to 6:00 pm / Thursday, Oct. 22nd 3:00 to 5:30 pm
Steven Allen – Discovery and Disability Expression
Campfire Summit – Discovery of “Who You Are” Forum
Reframing your profile identity through discovery and expression supported through YouTube exploration: “Disability Expression”.
Introduction of the Camp NetWorx! Discovery Cube.
Cabin Workshop –
- Activity 1 – Expressing your passion and skills through image identification for the Left/Right sides of your Cube.
- Activity 2 – Discovering your base/core experience and Expressing your perspective through image identification for the Bottom/Back sides of your Cube.
Week 3 – Tuesday, Oct. 27th 3:00 to 6:00 pm and Thursday, Oct. 29th 3:00 to 5:30 pm
Derek Shields – Adventures in Connecting to Achieve Your Objectives
Campfire Summit – Adventures in Networking
Overview of a four-part networking model, including Preparing to Network, Building Confidence, Meeting People, and Following Up. Each camper received the Peer MentoringWorks Networking Activity Guide to support their networking endeavors.
Cabin Workshops – Guest Cameo Appearance: Zach Gottsagen
- Activity Choose Your Workshop:
- Practice Elevator Speech
- Peer MentoringWorks Networking Activity Guide – Exercise
Campfire Summit Finale – Thursday, Nov 12th 3:00 to 5:30 pm
Certificate Award Ceremony & Show and Tell with the MyCube Guest Cameo Appearance: Horace Brown
Award each camper was recognized for camp participation and received a Camp NetWorx! MyCube with their chosen images representing the 6 sides of their box. A Camp NetWorx! certificate award ceremony acknowledged each camper’s contribution to the camp experience.
Final Campfire Summit Forum – Making connections through identity expression and storytelling using your Camp NetWorx! MyCube.
Camp NetWorx! served as an opportunity for youth and students with disabilities to connect with peers around storytelling, discovery, and adventure.
The primary objective of the camp was to have FUN! Camp is about having a good time and creating memories. It is an opportunity to grow and learn through the experience of building insight and fostering growth in context with one’s peers. This supports the Camp NetWorx! the secondary objective to foster a virtual environment offering the opportunity for campers supported through peer encouragement and modeling to explore the art of storytelling and a process of discovery for building personal insight and confidence in social connection.
To this end, the Camp NetWorx! program employed some unique approaches to building confidence and competencies in networking through storytelling, discovery, and adventure. As part of the camp’s application process, campers were asked to complete and submit surveys to gather insight and connection points that would be used by the project team to facilitate camp connections.
Captured testimonies and survey data from the project team and camp participants during the Campfire Summit Finale indicate that the camp was a positive experience growth along with camp objectives as outlined in the grant and camp design. Each camper’s campers’ growth and confidence were evidenced during the Camp Summit where they shared an introduction to our special guest from the FL DVR’s Youth Peer Mentoring program.
As part of packing for camp, the campers identified their favorite colors, movies, bands, music genres, celebrities, games, poems, books, and tv programs. They also submitted a favorite song for the camp Spotify playlist.
The primary construct with the camp was the creation of a personalized Camp NetWorx! MyCube box. The identification and selection of the 6 images were integrated into the fireside gatherings and cabin workshops and supported the overall goals of the camp to mitigate social isolation through self-discovery, self-expression and peer connection. At the end of Camp NetWorx!, each camper and project team member received a physical photo box commemorating the camp along with a certificate of participation.
Initially, each camper’s ‘backpack of favorites’ was used to initiate self-discovery, personal expression, and group connection. Early ‘my favorite’ sharing supported each camper’s expression of individuality and commonality. Facilitated camp interaction fostered sharing and exploration and built a camp-friendly community where campers were encouraged to mirror and model networking competencies through sharing, listening, and encouragement. Hence, its name Camp NetWorx!
Source: Peer Mentoring Works