Jordan Youth Leadership Camp

Award Amount: $250.00
Volunteer(s): J. Love, J. Morrissey, L. Warden, D. Kirk, V. Ram, K, Schott
Locations(s): Aljoun
Governorate(s):
Dates(s): June 18
Participants: 40 male students, grade 6-8

Introduction

On June 18th, 33 Jordanian boys from the eighth grade, representing five schools from across northern Jordan, took part in the second annual Jordan Youth Leadership Camp, (JYLC) facilitated by five TEFL PCVs (Jaxon Love, John Morrissey, VJ Ram, Kevin Schott, and Lucas Warden), one Youth Development PCV (Michael Buff) and five Jordanian English teachers.  The camp, hosted at the Ajloun Hashemite Hall and the Ajloun Youth Sports Complex, was sponsored by Friends of Jordan, the Ajloun Department of Education, the Ajloun Youth Center, and the Governorate of Ajloun.  Roundtrip transportation as well as a snack and lunch were graciously provided by FOJ.  Activities began at 9 am and lasted until 3 pm.

History and Purpose

The JYLC was initiated in 2007 by J9 PCV Andy Lehto.  That year, it was hosted by the Mafraq Youth Center and was a big success.  The purpose of the JYLC is to provide leadership training to outstanding Jordanian youth in a real-life English language setting.  Participants then use the leadership skills developed at the camp to help their PCVs in the implementation of development projects in their communities.  Feedback from participants and facilitators indicate that the day’s activities were fun, unique, and educational.

Activities

The day began with a welcome and introduction.  Participants were asked to discuss the meaning of leadership and think of some leaders they know in the world and in their communities.  This was followed by several short ice-breaker activities.  Participants were divided into four leadership groups.  Each group was aided by a facilitating PCV and Jordanian teacher, who led students through a series of name-learning exercises and a group problem-solving activity called the “human knot”.

After a short debrief and a snack, the groups moved on to an outdoor session on teamwork.  The teams took turns at two teamwork activity stations.  The first, entitled “maze”, required groups to use trial and error to find the secret path through a checkerboard laid out on the ground.  At the second, known as “acid river”, groups had to syncronize their movements in order to cross over an imaginary acid river by stepping on “pods”.  During the debriefing, participants noted that problems arose in their groups when individuals were not focused on the task.  Cooperation, critical thinking, and a positive attitude were necessary for success.

The next session was an inter-group challenge called “chickenball”.  Groups had to line up by number, each group standing at opposite ends of the playing field.  When a number was called, that person had to run to the middle and try to steal the “chicken” and bring it back to his team’s side.  If he was tagged by the player from the opposing team, he had to return the “chicken” and no points were scored.

This session revealed some weaknesses in group dynamics as some participants grew discouraged with their teammates.  During the debriefing, the groups identified the common problems of individualism and negative attitudes.  This was an opportunity to discuss the importance of good sportsmanship, a positive attitude, and self-esteem building.

Following the inter-group challenge and debriefing, participants enjoyed a sandwich, chips and a beverage.  Having eaten, the camp transitioned to the Ajloun Youth Sports Complex for the afternoon activities.  The application of leadership skills session presented groups with a series of complex tasks.  To complete these tasks, groups needed to demonstrate creative and critical thinking, cooperation, patience, honesty, organization and positivism.  The session’s debriefing focused on what methods were attempted to complete the tasks and the degree to which these methods were successful or not.  Some groups found that they were too restricted by the rules for each task while others came up with unique ways to work within the rules.

The last activity of the day was a friendly football match on the complex’s beautiful turf field.  Participants had been waiting for this opportunity all day!  Early on in the match, players had a tendency to cluster together and attack the ball as individuals.  However, the size of the field meant that teams were more successful when they spread out across the field and communicated with each other.  The match ended in a tie, but no one seemed to be very concerned with the score anyway.

Beyond Leadership Camp

At the end of the day, participants and facilitators received award certificates for successful completion of leadership training before making the journey back to their communities.  There they will spend the summer vacation helping their PCVs to organize summer projects and youth activities.  For example, the leadership group from Rajib community, with the guidance of PCV Jaxon Love, will lead a program to promote the new Rajib Community Technology Center, which was recently built with funding from a community-initiated Small Project Assistance Grant from USAID.  These young leaders will have the chance to put their new skills and knowledge to work by helping promote development in their neighborhoods and villages.

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