We are hosting 821 students during our 2015-2016 High Season (November-February). For perspective, last season we hosted 637 and in 2011 when I first arrived at CMRCA, we had 424 student participants. We have nearly doubled our participant numbers, but most notably we greatly expanded the areas we travel and types of adventure, culture, and leadership programs we facilitate for young people.
We ask our student participants – What Kind of Experience Will You Create? We believe that student leadership has a foundation in self awareness – who am I? what do I feel challenged by? how do I behave in times of challenge?
As we enter into our biggest season yet, it is important for our program team to consider the experiences that we choose to create. The growth of CMRCA Group Program department has been a journey of experimentation, failure, celebration, and intention building. It has always remained important to find our footing and ensure that our growing programs remain aligned with our core values.
We are at a very exciting point in our progression. Over the last year we have been focusing on developing new areas, cultivating new partnerships, and building intentional curriculum. There are too many successes to name, but a two notable highlights from 2015 were…
Continuing to coach clients towards Learning Service programming and less, traditional Service Learning models. CMRCA has partnered with numerous established NGOs and community organizations in Northern Thailand to host student groups for 1-3 days. The framing is to learn about the local, regional, or global issue at play, the NGOs mission, and how they are working to maximize their impact. The focus is learning and observing these issues and considering how these issues do or do not have impact with students’ home communities. The programs are informative, hands-on and allow CMRCA to support local organizations financially. As an example, 120 students from Stamford American International School (Singapore) in January 2016 are focusing on ecoliteracy and environmental sustainability. They are visiting four organizations in Chiang Mai that will focus on global climate change/sustainable agriculture, forest restoration, green urban planning and stream / river ecology.
We have continued to focus on providing staff and facilitator professional development opportunities in Thailand and abroad. Check out what we did in 2015…
- In February 2015, Phi went to NCCPS, international conference in Boulder, CO. He also skied and ice climbed for the first time (picture proof!).
- In October 2015, Tune, Pui, Phi and myself traveled to Portland, OR for the NOLS Risk Management Conference and Association of Experiential Education (AEE) International Conference. We wanted to share some brief reflections of that trip (below) from our staff.
- In November 2015, Jim Cain of Teamwork and Teamplay facilitated a staff training with energizers, challenges, and activities for our facilitation toolkits.
- In December 2015, Tim Walther of Grand Dynamics International led an intentional program design session with our full admin and delivery team.
As we move forward, we will continue to innovate, develop, and deliver the highest quality in student programming. Here’s to creating 821 unique, student experiences this season.
We can’t wait to discover, explore and adventure with all of you.
Katie, Program Director
Reflections from our recent USA trip for the NOLS Risk Management Conference and Association of Experiential Education:
Pui Klaptung, Program Coordinator – Development & Design
The most memorable part of my experience in the US was that experiential educators were together and sharing their experience and knowledge with others. The group was really interested in making connections with us. Everyone really inspired and motivated me.
The most important thing I learned was about risk management – how to manage in the outdoors and report incidents internally. At the AEE conference, I learned a lot more about debriefing and the value of reflection in our programs. I learned a variety of techniques that allowed the participants to take the lead in reflection.
In the coming year, I am looking forward to using what I have learned from these conferences and apply and practice them on program in CMRCA. I also looking forward to see myself grow and develop in any skills with CMRCA. So excited to be back here and to learn from everyone.
Tune Chaisangwon, Program Coordinator – Logistics
Going to AEE and the NOLS Risk Management conference allowed me the opportunity to learn the theory behind experiential education and learning new perpectives from guest speakers and international attendees. I like to hear other perspectives on risk management and experiential education from teachers and third providers. It helped increase my understanding of client needs and concerns.
I learned the most about human behavior and learning styles of in youth and adult development. It will help me design intentional curriculum with key outcomes. I learned about how to intergrate risk management in design, not only physical safety but also emotional safety which I already tried to experiment on working with my work mates. I like to talk about risk management with CMRCA staff.
In the coming year, I look forward to seeing CMRCA staff to focus on risk management, deliver intentional programs, and talk more about how we can integrate emotional safety.
Phi Munsawang, Program Coordinator – Development & Design
The most memorable was seeing a different part of the U.S. The Pacific Northwest felt like a similar environment to Thailand, but much drier and colder. On the trip I had the opportunity to learn about risk management and experience education from the international perspective and how to apply to my personal and my professional lifestyle. I can see how much they care to their participants and the activities that they provide for the people all around the world to keep them safe and enjoy their time.
Right now, I am working to share my experience and new activities that I learned on this trip. I am sharing my experience through conversation and sharing activities. I hope that all of the staff learned something new. For the coming year I would like to support the staff to grow in the leadership development curriculum because in my opinion these skills will help the staff grow CMRCA / Progression in a professional way.It also applies to their personal life as well and for me has been very powerful.