As we take a look at our summer experiences thus far, we are excited to share some of the strides our Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) LEAD Experience students have made! For the past two years, SOLE has partnered with Lake Pend Oreille School District and Idaho Division of Vocational Rehabilitation to offer this tailored program for students that qualify for Vocational Rehabilitation services throughout Idaho. Here’s a snapshot of what this novel SOLE Experience is all about.
At the beginning of this past June, five young adults began their journey toward becoming leaders. Nestled in the beautiful mountains of Washington, Chewelah Peak Learning Center provided a perfect outdoor classroom for this group of students to thrive.
This program’s focus was to encourage students to take on leadership roles and to provide a space for them to push through personal challenges.
When we began, two girls participating in this program, Jaiden and Kayana, only knew each other in passing. They had seen each other around school, but always traveled in different crowds. By lights-out on day one, they were up giggling and talking about how crazy it is that they hadn’t become friends sooner! We loved watching their friendship build throughout the week.
Mid-way through the program we asked the girls a few questions about their experience.
What is your favorite part of the program so far?
Both of the girls really loved the challenge course. The challenge course involved both low and high elements that required critical thinking and team building exercises to move onto the next feature. This helped them grow confidence in themselves and trust in the group as a whole.
Kayana noted that her favorite part was not only this activity but also her ability to become more confident in herself and her leadership skills. She was excited to share that she and Jaiden had been chosen as leaders for the final hike at the end of the program (and what a great accomplishment it was!). She shared that she typically has a shy personality, so having the opportunity to practice leadership and responsibility in the group really strengthened her confidence.
What has been the most challenging part of the program so far?
Jaiden expressed that the most challenging part of the program was trusting other people to complete a task without stepping in and taking the lead. She was used to learning through doing, so allowing others to take the lead and figure out how to overcome a group challenge was not easy at first.
Kayana’s most challenging experience was navigating different personalities and learning to speak up when her needs were not being met. This experience has given her the confidence to take some deep breaths and confront challenges instead of shying away from them.
What advice would you give to a future student participating in this program?
Jaiden’s greatest piece advice was to “do the program!” This was her second year participating in SOLE’s LEAD experience and she emphasized how influential this experience was for her both in school and the workforce.
During the program, the challenge course instructor spoke about how everyone has this “bubble” called your comfort zone. His challenge to the group was to try to expand that zone by taking just one step past where you think you cannot go any further. Jaiden explained that this metaphor translated perfectly into real-life situations and she was glad to have practiced it.
Kayana echoed this piece of advice. She encourages others to take that one step further because “it makes you feel so amazing afterward and makes you… thrive. It makes you want to do it even more!”
We are so proud of graduates of SOLE’s LEAD Vocational Rehabilitation program!
If you or your young adult is interested in this program, or want to design your own LEAD Experience please contact us! We are happy to answer any questions and explain our curriculum to you! Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hope to see you out there,