“A series of steps designed to engage the learner to ensure their success” was Dr. George Sugai’s definition of discipline (U of O). While attending SOU (’86), I was trained to work at a local telephone helpline as a class assignment in a counseling class. The training opened my eyes and my mind to the possibility of a series of steps that engage the participants to ensure their success in understanding a deeper level of communication, inter-personal connections and self awareness for everyone present. In 1988, school counselor Kathi Vann brought the Natural Helper program to AHS. I began working as retreat facilitator and developed my skills conducting, meaningful-communication, problem-solving, trust-building workshops. Over the years I have taken the ‘series of steps’ concept workshop and manipulated the steps elements to address certain issues in organizations, corporations and other applications where a group of people can benefit from a better understanding where each of us stands.
I facilitated management trainings and employee workshops at the Intel, Folsom, California and the Penang, Malaysia campuses. Along with a Fresh Start staff of counselors and Ron Hurle we did a four day problem solving/communication workshop for 450 people at California PERS. The process is universal and the activities can be shaped to address situations and issues in large corporations to small community organizations and groups.
The Fresh Start program started in 1995 as a way to help student transition into high school at Ashland High in Ashland Oregon. Prior to ’95 our school had a drop-out rate of 7.5% (6.4% Oregon state average) and a freshman failure rate of 10%. Over the past 16 years the rates have steadily declined to a drop-out of 2% and a student failure rate around 2%. By fostering open communication and deeper understandings, it allows people to create support structures and open, productive, safe environments to work, contribute and grow in healthy ways.
I have had to opportunity to facilitate workshops and retreats of varying intents and intensities with thousands of people. I have seen unimaginable results and collective epiphanies, from corporate executives to kindergarteners, sports teams to businesses and community groups, individuals and families.