Elizabeth Barge – Volunteer – Virginia

Duties: Certified Trainer

Training of the Trainers; A Volunteer’s Experience

BargeYFU relies on trained volunteers to assist in facilitating our programs. This begs the question, how are trainers trained? Elizabeth Barge of Virginia contemplates her recent Certified Trainers Training workshop.

In February, I had the good fortune to attend the “Training of Trainers” program in Bethesda, MD to become a YFU Certified Trainer.  The class included ten individuals from the various fields and ran in conjunction with a Field Directors Meeting.  On Monday evening at the Certified Trainers Welcome, we were all ready and eager to learn the inside secrets on how to become better planners, speakers, and communicators with fellow volunteers back home.

We each realized that ‘the party was over’ immediately after meeting OUR trainers, Mamiko Reeves and Julia Martin.  “You’ve all reviewed the School Relations module that you’ll be facilitating Wednesday afternoon, correct?” Gulp.  We’re facilitating?  We soon learned (in the Principles of Adult Learning module) that the best way for us to become proficient trainers is to EXPERIENCE IT!  Gone were the notions of “training a few friendly faces in my living room.”  Replacing such ideas was the hard deadline of preparing and producing a training module for Field Directors in two short days.

The training we received was excellent as we progressed through the steps of preparing and varying a presentation, creating effective visual aids, working with a co-trainer, and even dealing with difficult participants.  We developed new skills (or blew the dust off old ones) and practiced, practiced, practiced until nerves were replaced with confidence.  The objective of the Certified Trainers program became clear as the hours ticked away: we were not responsible for designing trainings; we simply implemented a new bag of “tools” while facilitating modules that were already developed.

Once home, I used my skills right away to take a new volunteer through The Area Rep Role module so she was equipped to take on her new responsibilities

Written by Elizabeth Barge (Coastal Rim District)

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About Youth For Understanding USA

Youth For Understanding (YFU) advances intercultural understanding, mutual respect, and social responsibility through educational exchanges for youth, families and communities. The global YFU network, consisting of partners in more than 60 different countries, is united by the belief that full cultural immersion is the most effective means to gain the skills needed to thrive in an increasingly multicultural, interconnected and competitive global society. YFU has remained a trusted leader of intercultural exchange programs for more than 60 years because of its commitment to safety, reputation for quality, and exceptional support services. Backed by a global team of volunteers, YFU provides cultural education and guidance to all participants. Selected to administer more government and corporate scholarships than any other high school exchange program, YFU is the only organization awarded full-listing for J-1 inbound, outbound and short term exchange by the Council on Standards for International Educational Travel (CSIET). Through creating global learning opportunities, YFU has promoted international understanding and world peace to more than 250,000 students and their host families. Thousands of parents across the globe trust YFU with their teenagers every year, and thousands of students every year choose YFU to help them discover their inner selves.
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