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August 21, 2013 / Brian Tse

My Experiences Facilitating

I’ve been at Sport in Society for just about a month now, as a Co-op intern. Prior to even joining the team, I was required to go to something called an MVP Institute. It was in the middle of Summer, so needless to say I wasn’t very excited to commute in three days in the middle of the week for something I didn’t have much interest in. The week prior to MVP, I was kicking and screaming, complaining to whoever would listen, about how I did not want to go, I would rather sleep until 2 pm and then play video games, or watch a movie.

I just have to say, life has a funny way of changing your mind.

I stepped into MVP and I felt very out of place. A lot of older professionals were sitting around a table drinking coffee and talking about where they worked, and here I was having not even started my internship. Fast forward to when the actual facilitating began, and I was so struck at how fluid the two Co-facilitators worked, and how genuine and sincere they were. They wanted to be there, and I could feel it, and I slowly began to understand what Sport in Society was about. By the third and final day, I was happy to come in and see these men and women that were going on this short but life changing journey with. On the final day was my first experience co-facilitating. I was nervous, but the Men’s Break out room supported me greatly, and so did my co-facilitator.

I didn’t know what I would be doing with this “certification” until I came to Sport in Society this past July, but I definitely saw it as a useful tool to get people to think critically. I think it boils down to this statement: People will come to understand more fully, if they come to that conclusion themselves, more so than if someone tells them to come to that conclusion. (Don’t quote me on this).

Second came the Bullying Prevention Institute. I didn’t co-facilitate or anything at this event, but I did get to observe, and assist. One of the biggest takeaways I got from this was, once again, even if you’re not too excited about driving to Franklin in early morning traffic, everything has a purpose. Being at this institute showed me that there isn’t one right way to facilitate. Everyone has their own style and it showed through the three pairs of facilitators. Each group had their own attitudes and backgrounds, filled with their own challenges and ideas, and seeing each facilitators’ style work effectively was just awesome. I was excited as I saw students breaking out of their shells, and also being challenged in their mindsets, while also seeing facilitators think on their feet, and adjusting on the fly. In the end, it was a very fruitful experience for the students who learned a lot, and for me who was able to observe.

But this posed a challenge for me, would I be able to think on my feet and adjust? I only facilitated once, and it was a low pressure venue of guys who all had to experience the same thing and facilitate as well. They sympathized with me, and supported me, and I with them.

Eventually the Bay State Leadership training came along, and I was slated to go as a co-facilitator. I was very excited, and a little nervous. I was a little bit wary of how the kids would feel, coming in on one of their precious Summer nights because they were captains of their sports teams, but this not only prepared me mentally, but had me worried on how I would react. The night was quick, and I definitely missed some opportunities to facilitate the discussion more. I am not sure whether it was a product of the timing, or the group dynamics, or if I was just hesitant. Though it had its ups and downs, I definitely learned more by watching, observing, and even facilitating a bit in my group.

Overall, I had a great time at all three events and I obviously have room to grow in facilitating. I still need to discover my style, and from hearing everyone else and their input, the more I do it, the more comfortable it will be, and I can’t wait to see how I grow in this.

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