• Posted on: May 13, 2011

Summer Cultural Enrichment Program: Reflections

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In 2006 the Cultural Enrichment (S.C.E.P.) celebrated its tenth year for young leaders at the East Oakland Development Center. Our leaders come from three cities and twelve schools. Many of the leaders, participated in the very program which they now oversee!

Approximately 100 young people competed for 18 positions. However, the competition was so stiff that new categories of workers were created to facilitate the energy and enthusiasm of the young people. The categories were Jr. Youth Leader and Intern. Also for the first time, exceptional were elevated into instructional positions in every teaching facet of the program. This was both challenging and also tremendously rewarding! Ultimately the creation of these positions allowed for an additional 18 part-time workers.

Job Training was rigorous and focused on the character building as a basis for the most productive and effective employee. Weeks were spent discussing integrity, diligence, perseverance, values and how each of these traits translated in both personal and professional environments. Following job training, school transcripts were reviewed to make sure that high standards had already been achieved in school. Students achieving less than a 2.5 grade point average needed not apply.

Youth leaders were first given the challenge of discussing and being on one accord (not easy for teenagers). Honing social skills became the order of the day. Next, leaders were introduced to the more than 80 young participants ages 6-13. They discovered that the young people were as anxious and excited as they were. Throughout the 6 weeks, special presentations were offered. Youth leaders had developmental homework every weekend and found the internet a wonderful ally in meeting deadlines.

I want to thank the EOYDC staff for guiding these young people and helping them to avoid the pitfalls of programming, management and human relations. My staff and I will reflect on all the powerful memories created during this and the past nine summers. We have been blessed to have the opportunity to help make a difference in the lives of truly the best young people the world has to offer. We are so glad that they chose us to share their summer experience with. We are truly better for this experience!

Regina Jackson, Executive Director, East Oakland Youth Development Center

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