Tag Archives: training

Making a Splash in the Deep End

26 Mar

I had the Conductores Culturales training this last weekend and it went great!

My friends and fellow Peace Corps volunteers Amy and Steph really have been a major help on this project– sitting through a full day of interviews and then a whole weekend training.

Lots of lovely people helped make it happen, though:  My boss Elisa helped truck stuff around and then gave the opening words on leadership; one of the professors at the train station drove all of the meals and snacks to the location of the training a few kilometers outside of the city; the team from Costanera Viva, a public spaces initiative, came to present; an AIESECer I know from Asuncion supported the activities; a parent of one of the new Conductors, and train commission member, and my Paraguayan uncle gave people rides home; the outdoor adventure location EcoReserva Mbatovi donated site visits for all of the Conductors; the training location, a space maintained by the army base, was donated; my friend Veronica, and former PC volunteer, sent me her old computer which allowed me to plan all of the training sessions; and many of the dollars that you beautiful readers donated also went to the training and will continue to support the work of the Cultural Conductors!

It truly was a collaboration and I will be forever grateful that so many moving parts managed to fit together gracefully.

At the beginning of the training all of the Conductors did a self-assessment of their metaphorical behavior in the pool of life– were they testers, waders, or plungers?

Getting ready to take the leap

Getting ready to take the leap

Many in the group self-identified as waders with a few testers in the mix (the ones who stick their toe in to test things out, but mainly just observe the behavior of other people before making moves).

I told them that lastimosamente we didn’t have time for any of the three and I had to just throw them all into the deepest end of the pool knowing that they couldn’t swim– But, that I was jumping in after them and we’d all learn how to swim together.

We all agreed that no one looks cute while they’re flailing around the deep end so our best bet was to take a deep breath and just relax…and I think it worked out well.

More than a few admitted that they didn’t know what to expect when they got to the training on Friday, but were thinking something along the lines of, “Who are these people and what did I get myself into?”

They said by Sunday they felt like family and were extremely excited to move forward on planning their first event– Estacion Abierta (Open Station), which will conveniently be held on my birthday in April!

Making it look easy

Making it look easy

Stay tuned for more stories about the Conductors. Follow this link to see more photos from the training event: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10102034710830067.1073741825.8644178&type=1&l=5a21e2af81


Conductors of Culture!

28 Jan

The majority of the funds collected from my Peace Corps Partnership Grant will be utilized to fund a youth capacity building program called Conductores Culturales, or Cultural Conductors.

It will kick off with a one week intensive training on important job skills such as: customer service, communication, teamwork, and leadership, with an extra special focus on 21st Century skills and methods like critical thinking, collaboration, problem solving and creativity.

Eight youth who are ages 16 or above will be selected for participation after an application and interview process.  They will train as a team and then be assigned a mentor with experience in their particular area who will help complete their training as well as create and monitor a work plan for their following six months of service.

They will work in the following areas (Areas of work are flexible due to interests and talents of participating youth):

• Literacy Conductor- responsible for the organization and management of the Reading Room at the train station. Also responsible for holding story hours for children. 

• History Conductor- Responsible for formalizing the tour process at the train station and giving tours to tourists. Also responsible for coordinating the effort to collect personal stories related to the train station and the time period when it operated in Paraguarí. 

• Communications Conductor- Responsible for the online presence of the train station (website, Facebook, etc.), radio and television appearances, and other local communication including a monthly newsletter for the neighborhoods nearest to the train station. 

• Tourism Conductor- Responsible for increasing the train station’s capacity as a tourist attraction, this will include: creation of promotional materials, networking with the tourism movement on the national level, etc..

• Finance Conductor- Responsible for researching and applying to funding possibilities, most importantly for identifying funding or income-generating activities for the station to help maintain the Professional training program in future cycles. 

• Recreation Conductor- Responsible for increasing the train station’s capacity as a recreational space for youth, including the natural spaces around the train station. 

• Culture Conductor- Responsible for planning Community events in the train station related to culture, including music, theater, film, and music. 

• Art Conductor- Responsible for managing and organizing the recycled art studio space and programming art events for youth.

I’d love to hear feedback and ideas on this set-up.  Have you ever participated in or ran a similar training program?  What suggestions do you have to make it successful?

Paraguay, say it three times fast.

18 May

I know what you’re thinking, why three times? It’s not terribly difficult to pronounce.

And you’re right! It’s not difficult to pronounce, yet it is proving difficult to remember for many family members and friends, often being confused with the beachy and beautiful Uruguay.  Paraguay is landlocked, yet I’m sure full of natural beauty that I will discover during my next 27 months there! 🙂

I leave next week to begin my stint as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Paraguay.  I will be working in the Community and Economic Development sector, which means I will most likely be assigned a job doing some type of civic engagement, community technology, local government, or family financial planning work.

However, first I will go through 3 months of intensive language (Spanish, and the widely spoken indigenous language of Paraguay called Guarani), technical, safety, health, and cultural training.  My language and technical skills/previous experience/personality, etc. will be observed during training in order for Peace Corps staff to pick what they think will be the best job and site location for me.

Until then there’s a lot of unknowns, and I desperately need to pack!

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