Disable the Label 2010

After providing a summer training camp for over 3 years, it was officially branded Disable the Label in 2010! From August 9-12, 2010, Adult Allies and Youth Facilitators alike had the opportunity to share ideas, experiences, and advice on how to improve their New Mentality groups while experiencing a life changing training program.

Disable the Label 2010 – Day By Day

Day One: Monday August 9, 2010
The participants arrived and were given a brief orientation session. Both groups were combined (adult allies, youth facilitators) in order to complete the “yarn exercise”. This exercise got everyone acquainted by sharing personal and professional goals. This exercise was immediately followed by some breathing exercises lead by one of the Youth Action Coordinators. Afterwards the group was given a presentation on stigma (lead by both Youth Action Coordinators), and how stigma relates to mental health. The presentation engaged the group in a conversation about stigma, as well as showcased the New Mentality video “much talks”.

Day Two: Tuesday August 10, 2010 
The participants were divided into two separate groups. One group consisted of the youth facilitator trainees. The other group consisted of the Adult Ally trainees. The youth groups were then subdivided into separate training sessions. The youth learned about their roles and responsibilities as a youth facilitator in a New Mentality group. Both youth groups also role played challenging situations in order to understand what to do when faced with real conflict in their New Mentality groups. The Adult Allies were also trained to manage conflict within their groups. They were taught the principals of youth engagement, as well as their roles and responsibilities of being an Adult Ally. After the training sessions were completed the youth, as well as some Adult Allies participated in a “mask making activity”. This was a creative activity related to the stigma presentation a day earlier. The participants decorated a blank mask. The two half’s of the masks were decorated differently. One half to represent what they feel / see / understand about themselves, and the other to represent what others feel / see / understand about them. This activity was particularly successful because it engaged the group in a conversation about how mental health is related to stigma, and the cause of the New Mentality. The activity also served as a catalyst in bringing the group closer together. Free time was allotted this day so that the group could get to know one another and discuss what they had learned.

Day Three: Wednesday, August 11, 2010 
In the morning everyone met to discuss goals and to check in. Everyone then participated in team building exercises in the woods. The team building exercises which involved a number of obstacle courses really brought everyone closer, much like the mask activity on the previous day. Afterwards, everyone broke up into groups and continued to train. One major workshop taught how to manage and plan events in a New Mentality group. Both youth groups attended this workshop. The adult allies continued their training. In the evening everyone participated in an “open space” technology session. The youth had a chance to come up with a discussion question and facilitate their own group discussion. This also gave people to further talk about what they had learned from the conference so far.

Day Four: Thursday, August 12, 2010 
The main activity of this day was “the fishbowl”. This was a discussion set between the youth and the adult’s designed to better understand each others point of view. The discussion went well, and at the end of the day everyone gave someone else an item that was significant to them is some way. Everyone left with a smile on their face!