GUIDE trains hundreds of youth and adults every year in topics ranging from leadership to substance abuse prevention to youth development. Through different grants, contracts and partnerships, GUIDE typically offers more than 75 trainings a year across the state. It is inevitable that we have some people who attend multiple trainings every year…and some people have been attending GUIDE trainings longer than most of our youth participants have been alive! We love to get feedback from our participants and find out what they liked best about our training and, more importantly, how they are using the information back in their communities. Earlier this year, we reached out to several people who have participated in multiple events offered by GUIDE to get their thoughts about the trainings they attended.
One name we regularly see on our registration list is that of Veronica R. Dowell from Twin Cedars Youth and Family Services. Veronica has been attending trainings hosted by GUIDE since she started working with youth and families in the prevention field in 1994! Over the last 20 years, Veronica has participated in a number of prevention trainings, including the PCCG-required Core Courses, Governor’s Office for Children and Families-funded workshops and several conference workshops conducted by GUIDE. Veronica says that she can’t pick a favorite training that she has attended because, “to be honest, since I have NEVER had a bad training with GUIDE, it would be hard to say if I had a favorite.” Two other regular participants are Becky Gay from Communities in Schools of Fitzgerald-Ben Hill County, Inc. and Sylvia Comer from Elite Women of Excellence. Both Becky and Sylvia have attended several trainings offered through our Governor’s Office for Children & Families grant. Sylvia says she attends these trainings “to seek better ways to engage and impact students.”
These three ladies represent the hundreds that GUIDE impacts through our training events yearly. It is always our hope that we are sharing tools and resources that make a positive difference for the participants who attend. When asked how the trainings she attended had changed her work and program, Becky shared, “By attending GUIDE trainings, you learn while you are putting yourself in the place of the student so you see how it feels to be the student, while also seeing how the instructors are making the lesson happen. GUIDE trainings also always encourage youth voice and we have been able to get valuable feedback and input from our students that, in turn, has strengthened our programs.” Sylvia feels similarly and said, “The information given can be used immediately, and since you are actively participating in the training, you feel comfortable with the tools and ideas learned.”
We love to hear when programs have taken information, tools or resources and used them back in their communities. After attending a workshop on best practices in youth development, Veronica received a kit of supplies to conduct several of the activities used. She said, “I used the egg activity when was in charge of doing a team building activity with my co-workers. It was awesome!” Becky loves our Caboodle and Commonality Cards. She said, “Our favorite tools that we have received from GUIDE training are those cards. We have all used them in work-related AND personal settings!”
By conducting these trainings, we help participants build the knowledge and practice the skills they need to create highly effective programs for youth and adults. For example, participants like Veronica who have attended our prevention courses are better equipped to provide research-based programming, ensure that their programs are culturally relevant and operate ethically. Others, like Becky and Sylvia, who attend our youth development trainings, walk away with ideas on how to infuse asset-building into their existing programs, discover tools for providing high-quality in-house staff development and understand the value of incorporating youth voice in all aspects of their work.
If you’ve ever attended a GUIDE training, what did you walk away with? We’d love to hear your favorite parts, the tools you’re using and how your organization has benefited from your attendance!