Just two days ago, the SSE was able to organise a learning session that not only transformed the way individuals thought about young people, but how to work with these young people to define and work towards common goals. This is how it went:
It began during my first week in the SSE office (January 4-9). One of my responsibilities was to ensure that we would have “at least 10 participants” for the event to be successful. Estimating that over half of those who RSVP would not show up, Cynthia advised me to confirm around or as close to 25 as I could.
Nervous at first, I became quite comfortable with the recruiting tasks and communicating with those interested in attending this event. Through countless inbound and outbound e-mails, I had an RSVP list of 34, with 6 more on a Wait List by 20 January, the end of the timeframe I was given. It was a success so far: some were not convinced and as a challenge, Cynthia and my fellow intern Matt decided to put a “Full English Breakfast” on the line at a local greasy spoon for who could estimate how many of the 34 would attend. I suppose I knew more information than the others, but regardless, that full English breakfast was delightful.
Returning to the event, we had twenty-eight participants (including myself and Rosie Ferguson’s young colleague) which packed the Michael Young room like a can of sardines. Prior to the start of the learning session, we had a glorious buffet of cold meats, cheeses, breads, salads, and vegetables catered by SSE’s very own CMN (Cynthia-Matt-Nick) Catering. The session then commenced and London Director of London Youth Rosie Ferguson took the floor and facilitated both the workshop through both large group and small group discussions about “how to engage young people once they’re on board.”
Within the discussions participants often tied working with youth with ideas of partnerships and sponsorships, stereotypes and generalisations, and the balance of professionalism and personality needed to build the bridge between young people and the entrepreneurial world. We were also able to do real-life case studies of each other’s projects and organisations in terms of how we meet the needs of our 6 P's (People, Place, Price, Promotion, Philosophy, and Product) and how our organisations are only as strong as the weakest of these elements.
Overall, the learning session was a huge success thanks to all of the recruiting work done by Cynthia, all of those who helped spread the word about the event, Capacity Builders for supporting the event, Rosie Ferguson for sharing her knowledge and experience, and all the participants for being extremely engaged in the discussions.