Wellesley Afterschool Program’s New Direction
The Barton Road After School Program is off to a great start! We have a new team this year with only a couple returning members. Our hope is to continue improving the program and its curriculum to not only help the children academically, but to create strong leaders. We have only had two on-site sessions, yet have accomplished many things. We have been able to join together as a team of volunteers and increase our effectiveness and efficiency. We have developed specific job positions for each of us to take on in order to reduce miscommunication issues and increase the amount of time we can spend focusing on the children. We have done two teamwork and leadership building activities with the children, with counselors providing guidance and limited assistance. We had a competition where the children were split into three teams. Each team, supplied with only straws and masking tape, were to build a structure. The team that could build the tallest standing structure within the time limit was the winner. During the second session we broke the children into different groups and provided them with twelve items (written representations of these items were used) and they were to choose six, together as a team, that would go in their survival kit. Both of these activities proved to enhance each group’s ability to utilize leadership and teamwork skills in order to achieve a common goal. Both these activities were successful; the children were enthusiastic throughout the entire activity and really attempted to utilize each other’s skills in order to have the most efficient team. We are looking forward to this semester and know that through activities and field trips we will have an impact on these children and have a great time. Now that we have developed closer relationships with the children we are able to break them up into more specific groups according to the most appropriate counselor. We plan on mixing the children up, breaking up their different cliques in order to improve their ability to get along with others. We hope that we can build a support system amongst them. We want them to feel like they can depend on each other, if not as friends, at least in a teammate type of way. By breaking them up into these groups it will allow the counselors to better address the specific need of each child, and each child to develop a better relationship with each counselor.