Updates On Our Public Allies Fellows 2015 Team Service Projects

Like all organizations our size and scope, we rely on many different types of professionals to help carry out our mission. Instructional specialists deliver the curriculum, while administrative leaders, support staff and those working in any number of operational positions handle everything from facilities and human resources, to admissions and strategic planning.

And since we’re also a professional development organization, we have staff dedicated to working with educators from around the country who wish to study how to re-engage, retain and graduate students. All told, there are 40 full- and part-time employees working here, plus an additional 12 Public Allies Fellows.

Those Public Allies’ serve in full-time apprenticeship positions at nonprofit organizations across the United States — including Eagle Rock — where they create, improve and expand upon services that address youth development, education, public health, economic development and the environment.

In addition to participating in academic and community building activities, Fellows also contribute to Team Service Projects, with several such projects coming to a close this August. What we offer below are updates on five such projects conducted by our own Public Allies Fellows:

Project Title: Courageous Conversations
Run by: Matt Liston, World Language Fellow

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The goal of Matt’s project was to build a stronger Eagle Rock community through conversation and listening. He conducted a number of interviews with Eagle Rock community members, asking them questions about their experiences with race and their awareness of race. The interviews were recorded, and Matt led two different community gatherings in which he presented the edited videos, followed by small group discussions in response.

He is currently organizing his resources and the steps he took to share these Courageous Conversations, so that others can duplicate the project in the future — potentially with a variety of topics. During the last Fellows Learning Seminar (FLS), Matt organized a protocol to receive feedback from other fellows. He has also solicited the help and advice of full-time staff and leadership team members.

By Explore Week, Matt hopes to have a final resource document available, and a plan for a successor to take on this project in the future, making it an ongoing tradition at Eagle Rock.

Project Title: Spiritual Development
Run by: Courtney Lancaster, Service Learning Fellow and Molly Milota, Life After Eagle Rock Fellow

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The purpose of this project was to make spiritual development more accessible and central to the experiences of Eagle Rock students and staff. Courtney and Molly are creating a central location for all things spiritually developing via a Spiritual Development site on the intranet. They have also worked to map out existing Continue reading…

On the Slopes, the Eagle Rock Teacher Becomes the Student

Falling is one of the ways of moving. ­– Merce Cunningham

Spiritual development is an important component of Eagle Rock’s 8+5=10 philosophy.

Which is why we begin each trimester with Week 0 — a time when returning students and staff take time to reflect on the previous trimester and set the tone for the trimester to come. In the midst of Week 0, individual student living houses set goals, share intentions and build relationships at house retreats.

While we did spend a significant amount of time on goals and reflection, students and staff from Aspen and Juniper Houses also had the opportunity to hit the slopes at Beaver Creek Resort near Avon, Colo. Boarding the buses well before dawn on a cold mid-January morning, we bundled beneath hats and lots of layers and traveled three hours southwest of campus for a day on the mountain.

Now, if you’re like me, you’ve never seen the appeal of attaching a couple of sticks to your feet and sliding down a really big hill. On the other hand, I’m also not one to shy away from new experiences. While I still had anxieties about breaking an ankle, making a fool of myself and freezing to death because of not wearing enough layers, I was feeling pretty great about learning something new, especially alongside our students.

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Eagle Rock students getting ready for a day on the snow at Beaver Creek with SOS Outreach.

When we finally arrived, staff from SOS Outreach — a nonprofit that that uses adventure sports to foster self-confidence, leadership skills and positive decision-making in the clients it serves — met with us and helped our students get Continue reading…

Eagle Rock’s Public Allies Fellows Indulge In A Mid-Year Day Away

Editor’s Note: Kelsey Baun, our own Professional Development Center Fellow, joined other Eagle Rock Public Allies Fellows at a recent ‘Day Away’ experience to celebrate reaching the halfway mark in their yearlong time with us here at the Eagle Rock School & Professional Development Center in Estes Park, Colo. Think of it as a “senior ditch day” for these 10 Fellows, only without the pinch and giggle that normally accompanies most 12th-grader ditch day events. Here then is Kelsey’s report.

By Kelsey Baun

Our most recent Mid-Year Fellow Day Away was held at the Estes Park Resort, highlighted by early morning inspiration provided by bucolic views of Lake Estes. A total of 10 Public Allies Fellows from here at Eagle Rock gathered to reflect during a day dedicated to exploring strengths, values and risks.

Our day began with the Fellows and Eagle Rock’s own Professional Development team members breaking bread — more like bagels — and partaking in an activity that shed light on individual perspective and success through the use of a dowel rod.

We then revisited our theme for the year of Refocusing Using Strengths and referenced to the use of Gallup’s Strengths Finder to focus each Fellow on what is it that they bring to the Eagle Rock community table.

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In order for the Fellows to see their assets in a different light, the Professional Development team facilitated for us an activity centered on values. It entailed asking each Fellow to rank a list of values and identify the top five values they might integrate into their own daily lives. Everyone then processed how values pertain to the Team Service Projects (TSPs) on which our Fellows will be working for the remainder of their time at Eagle Rock.

When this exercise was completed, we all split up into teams to further explore the subject matter:

  • Allison McManis (Societies and Culture Fellow) and myself (Kelsey Baun) will be creating a new high-touch recruitment philosophy to increase the diversity of Eagle Rock’s own Public Allies Fellowship application pool.
  • Life After Eagle Rock Fellow, Molly Milota, and Service Learning Fellow, Courtney Lancaster, will be Continue reading…

Meet Eagle Rock’s 2014/2015 Public Allies Fellows

Like clockwork, each and every year since 2002 we’ve hosted a dozen Public Allies Fellows, and every year, we proudly introduce these Fellows to you, our stakeholders. Today, we’re presenting 10 new young leaders to you, along with two who we’re fortunate to hang onto for another year, as well as offering up a little information about each of them.

And in case you wondered what Public Allies is all about, here’s a primer:

Public Allies is a program with the intent of developing leadership skills in young adults. This AmeriCorps-funded program is a national movement with a mantra that’s pretty much this: “Everyone leads.” The thought here is, everyone can work to inspire others to believe in themselves, step up to the plate and take action.

Since its founding in 1992, more than 5,000 Allies have completed the program at sites in 23 cities with more than 80 percent of them continuing careers in the nonprofit and public sectors.

And so, without further ado, we’d like to introduce you to Eagle Rock’s 2014-2015 Public Allies Fellows:

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Courtney Lancaster, Service Learning Fellow: Courtney received her Masters of Art degree in social change from the Iliff School of Theology in Denver. Most recently she worked for the Center Consolidated School Districts and has experiences with Transformational Ventures /Trading Hope. Courtney also has service experiences as a VISTA volunteer with AmeriCorps.

Molly Milota, Life After Eagle Rock Fellow: Molly worked at Kansas State University for the past few years as part of house and dining services. She brings to the Eagle Rock table extensive knowledge about what it takes to get into college — and also what it takes to stay in college. Molly has worked with Spectrum Series groups along with Functional Literacy tutoring. She has a Masters of Science from K-State in counseling and student development.

Nicholas Viglione, Human Performance Center Fellow: Nicholas, who hails from Purdy N.Y., has taught physical education at Rippowam Cisqua School in Bedford, N.Y., in both the upper and lower campus. He has also worked as a track coach as well as with project-based adventure after school programs. Nicholas earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in physical education.

Aaron Guggenheim, Literacy and Literature Fellow: Aaron picked up his bachelor’s degree at the Continue reading…