Community Engagement Training- Skills for Service Leaders of Tomorrow

Brandi Bornt and Janelle Shaffer
Student Conservation Association (SCA) and Antioch New England Institute (ANEI) identified a need for intentional community engagement training for interns and students. SCA and ANEI each brought unique strengths to the partnership. ANEI is the community service arm of Antioch New England Graduate School. SCA is the leading national provider for conservation volunteer opportunities for higher education students and graduates. Together, the two organizations planned a community engagement training program for the 2005-2006 academic year.

The first phase of our project was to conduct action research with students, interns, and community partners regarding training needs. The research identified eight key areas where students, interns and community partners felt there was a need for better training prior to community engagement and service projects. The eight areas were: professionalism, project management, leadership, understanding a service role, appreciation of differences, understanding mission, dynamics of the workplace, and reflective practice. Based on the outcomes of this research, a series of engaging lessons have been written and a training manual has been completed.

The first training was scheduled for October 24-25, 2005 at Bear Brook State Park, near Concord, NH. SCA hosted the training and provided food and overnight accommodations for the participants. The SCA interns, ANEI graduate students, and Keene State service learning students were all eligible to attend.

This project has been supported and funded by Campus Compact New Hampshire.