Friday, February 25, 2011

Low Ropes: New Life Skills

"Tell me and I will forget,
Show me and I will remember,
Involve me and I will understand."
- Chinese proverb

The above quote is a Chinese proverb used by many experiential learning advocates. The quote describes how it is ussually not until we actually try and experience something first hand that we fully understand a new situation, concept, lesson, etc. At Casa Miani-Arvedi, one of the programs we have is based of the experiential learning cylce where first the partcipants engage in an activity together and then afterwards reflect upon what they have learned.

Since the summer of 2009, Casa Miani-Arvedi has been doing life skill and leadership activities with the help of their low ropes course. A low ropes course is a series of outdoor elements such as wooden walls and platforms where groups take part in challenging activities together. The center was able to acquire funding for the materials for the course after they wrote a grant proposal with their Peace Corps volunteer and were approved a small grant for certain materials such as nails, paint, and plywood they could not get inside of the center. The other materials such as coconut lumber, bamboo, and manpower were all supplied from Casa Miani and the surrounding community.
Once built, the CMA boys and some nearby youth helped paint and prepare the course and soon the staff was ready to start facilitating the activities with the boys in their different house groups. CMA staff and other social workers and care givers in centers nearby were trained by Dumaguete native and outdoor education specialist Jufer Villanueva as well as their Peace Corps volunteer, Elizabeth. The course has 9 different elements each with unique rules and challenges such as a wall to climb over, a small box the group must stand on together, and a trust platform amongst a few.

The CMA boys were the first to take part in the activities and soon the high school boys were trained as facilitators as more communties and organizations came to Casa Miani to use the course as well. So far, 12 of the CMA boys have facilitated low ropes whole-day and half-day activities with a variety of groups ranging from barangay chairpersons to SK leaders and most recently, an organization of hearing-imparied adults from Dumaguete as well as other groups as well. Not only do the youth facilitators explain the rules of each elements, but they also welcome the groups and lead warm-up activities as well as lead debriefing discussion after each activitiy focusing on topics different topics such as teamwork, cooperation, communication, and whatever may come up during the day.

If you want to come to Casa Miani with a group to use our course with our youth facilitators, call Casa Miani-Arvedi for more information!

Please see below for pictures of our low ropes project and our incredible youth facilitators!

here, the boys lift Angelo through a space in the spiderweb as Ate Ana watches on

debriefing in the nippa hut

unity circle before youth from Siaton (in southern Negros Oriental) depart for home

make a bridge to cross to the islands in the alligator swamp!

members of Youth Advocates Through Theatre Arts (YATTA)attempting the Team Wall

at the end of the day, many groups take part in the trust fall where all participants of a group stand below the trust platform to catch one of their members

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