Thursday, March 24, 2011

When the Training Coordinator gets to Attend a Training

So for the first time since I joined the SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy back in November, I have the exciting opportunity to attend a professional training to help me better in my role. As Training Coordinator, I am that guy behind the scenes making sure location reservations are confirmed, that lunch has been ordered, and attendees get the correct CEUs for their time.

I get to select the topics of the trainings, recruit the trainers, and I work really hard to try and ensure that the trainings offered by the SC Campaign are diverse, varied, and located in various parts of the state to make them as accessible as possible. So imagine my excitement when I get to sit down for 2 days in Atlanta and be trained from national experts on the current trends related to our work in Teen Pregnancy Prevention. Yes this is work, but it is nice to let someone else work on logistics while I enjoy time learning.

This week I am attending the regional training entitled "Planning, Piloting, Prevention: Teenage Pregnancy Prevention for the Next Generation" presented by the Office of Adolescent Health and The Administration on Children, Youth, and Families (ACYF) and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB). This conference is particularly important because of my work with both of our Federal Grant projects - the community engagement work in Horry & Spartanburg counties as well as our Tier 1 project with Middle Schools across the state. All of these projects will require the SC Campaign to offer special trainings in the year ahead so I and the fantastic Training staff that works with me, will be sure that our trainings are tailored to meet the unique needs of these projects.

Tuesday morning, the opening session was on Adolescent Sexual Development which asked us the question "What's the new normal?" Youth today come from varied races, genders, sexual orientations, socioeconomic statuses, education levels, and regions of our state. It is important to understand what are the trends these youth face and what are some of their unique needs that we should keep in mind as we work with them.

Also we heard from Dr. Elizabeth Schroeder who is the Executive Director of ANSWER. (side note: did you know that any teacher in SC can receive free on-line professional development courses through Answer and the Department of Education? Contact me for more info about who is eligiable for this great opportunity). Anyways, Dr. Schroeder's second session was extremely enlightening. We discussed commonly held myths and frequently asked questions that teens have about sex based on questions that are sent to Answer. No, doing jumping jacks after sex will not prevent pregnancy. It was a challenge to all of us to be sure we are dispelling these myths.

Tuesday afternoon sessions were about Managing the Digital Media Monster - do not let technology scare you! Embrace it and all the potential opportunities that social media and texting can provide to reach teens where they are and in ways they communicate with their peers. Facebook is a great medium to reaching teens - in case you did not know that.

The other great part of this trip so far, has been the chance to meet partners from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen & Unplanned Pregnancy, Answer by Rutgars, and SIECUS, as well as local agencies around the region. Even though I love to travel, I can not wait to return to SC and start working on some of the things we have learned already.

Ryan Wilson is Training Coordinator for the SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

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