Thrive in action at Camp Fire Alaska:
Sharing our Wealth
The Before and After School Program at Chugach Optional School in Anchorage recently held its annual Bean-A-Fit, to raise money for Bean’s Café, a local soup kitchen. The older youth at the site discussed what they thought it took to feed hundreds of homeless and less fortunate community members each day. They held a relay race that involved putting on aprons and carrying trays loaded with drinks and food to imagine what it might be like to be a server in a soup kitchen. Then they planned a trip to Beans Café to see how it worked in real life. The youth discussed what they expected to see, predicted what they might learn on the field trip, and then reflected on their experience when they got back to Camp Fire. Each youth then decided how they would like to contribute to help make the fundraiser a success.
Younger youth in the program worked with staff to make cookies and table decorations, and all the youth practiced dance routines and other entertainment.
On the day of the event, dozens of family members and friends enjoyed a hot dinner and entertainment. Their generous donations raised $500 for Beans Café!
Watch this awesome video made by one of our staff members to see how it all happened.
Camp Fire was the first national youth development organization in the United States to implement methodology from the Thrive Foundation for Youth, a leader in researching and advocating methods which tap into young people’s aspirations and help them achieve their full potential.
Camp Fire implemented Thrive’s “Step-It-Up-2-Thrive” process across 20 markets. Alaska was one of the first 10 sites to begin Thrive programming in 2012. By 2015, Camp Fire anticipates the partnership with Thrive will impact more than 150,000 youth, ages 11-17.
Step-It-Up-2-Thrive is a theory of change with four stages. The first stage is identification of youths’ sparks – the interest, skill or talent that brings each individual child to life. The next step is development of a growth mindset. The third stage encourages youth self-reflection about indicators of thriving and risk factors in the way. The fourth stage builds youths’ goal management skills, or GPS (goal selection, pursuit of strategies, and shifting gears in the face of challenge).
Youth who are taught to Thrive experience improved self-reflection, an improved sense of confidence, improved GPAs, increased school attendance, increased goal-management skills and decreased risk behaviors.
They also gain:
- Self-reflection—Youth learn realistic self-reflection skills and how to apply their strengths to challenges and opportunities.
- A Language to Communicate—Youth and mentors develop a common language for framing concepts about thriving.
- A Balanced View of Development—Youth gain a holistic perspective of personal development, balanced with a deep view of specific indicators of thriving.
- Intrinsic Motivation & Learned Skills—Youth develop a vision for their future. They are motivated to learn skills that are indicators of thriving. Their progress is enhanced by the assistance of adult guides trained in research-based techniques.
(photos courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and SXC)