On Saturday, the day after July 4, was the AYA Orientation! The youth facilitators worked really hard to prep for all the workshops they were leading, and Ruben, Vivian, and I helped out to make a lot of logistics happen, and a lot of prep work involved writing up chart papers, whether it is the agenda, the different goals, group agreements, etc.
Saturday was super hectic! Not only did the new youth come, but a few of the current youth showed up as well, and it was a little unexpected but it was a merry crowd enjoying lunch and mingling together. I had never seen this many youth in our office space before, so it was a little overwhelming, but very exciting nonetheless.
We started out with going over the agenda and overall orientation goals, then we dove right in with some checking in and introductions. The bulk of the conversation during orientation was focused on the policing conversation. Since policing work is one focus of AYA and CAAAV, we began to talk about what Stop & Frisk is about and the negative effects of police violence and brutality. Stop & Frisk and police brutality do not happen only to young black and latino males, but also to women of color and LGBTQ folks of color. The videos that Ruben provided us were really poignant and I think they really got the youth thinking about how the police do not always keep us safe like we wish they would.
After an energizer game of Great Wing Blows, we learned a little about what AYA has worked on before, which included getting the Community Safety Act passed to hold NYPD responsible for Stop & Frisk and other actions.
We also went over the meticulously packed calendars for the summer. Three times a week are workshops, skills trainings, plannings, outreach actions, and a ton of fun in between. I think this gave the youth a sense of what they are getting into and to provide feedback. I'm super excited for the art exhibit, even though I will fly back to school before it happens. :(
Now that orientation is over, onwards to retreat planning!