We partnered with the State Library of North Carolina to offer our "Fail Better: Skill Toys for Tweens & Teens" training in three different regions of the state. Youth services librarians looking for new ways to connect with teens in their community attended and enjoyed a day of learning, play, and reflection. As they stepped outside their comfort zones and challenged themselves to practice new skills, we provided them with strategies to reframe dropping and get comfortable with the messy middle. Strategies they can practice as they design new programs (which don't always go smoothly the first time) as well as introduce to teens to help build resilience.
We've now conducted this train-the-trainer workshop in 5 states and would love to expand it to more library systems. Through our partnership with each state, skill toy kits are made available for libraries to borrow so they can turn what they've learned into on-going programming. We had a number of NC libraries so excited about skill toys by the end of the day long training that they ordered their own kits. Some of the ways in which libraries have or plan to utilize skill toys include school visits to promote library programs, stress/study breaks for teens, STEAM programs, ice breakers for staff meetings, and inter-generational play sessions to get the whole family involved.
“Paul and Dawn are tremendous! The combination of the skill toys and the principles behind the exercises they lead you through is a perfect learning pairing. Not only are workshop participants implementing the program at their own public libraries, my supervisor has asked me to lead our Library Development team through a few of the exercises for team building!” Jasmine Rockwell, Youth Services Consultant, State Library of North Carolina
Update (5/13/19): A few months after the training, we received this in an email from one of the attendees, "I pulled out the Flow Circus tote last week in a staff meeting. I was pleasantly surprised that a few of my staff would give it a try! There was plenty of laughter and friendly challenging all around. One staffer has committed to learn to juggle this month! Thank you for a great resource!"
We're thrilled to see that our skill toy kits are having impact for learners of all ages.