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YFU Blog - Recent stories about Youth for Understanding

Elizabeth Barge - Volunteer - Virginia


Duties: Certified Trainer

Training of the Trainers; A Volunteer's Experience

YFU 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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