The first week of Transitions’ first ever summer session started last Sunday and it was an all-around success! Ten hard-working Apprentices are joining us for this session.
Our first out-of-town Apprentice, Abby D., flew in from Maryland on Sunday, and Move-In Day commenced with getting her and the other Apprentices and mentors settled for the upcoming session. There was a barbecue that night for the Apprentices, mentors, instructors, and friends and family to get acquainted before a busy three weeks.
Classes began on Monday. The Apprentices started at Fulton-Montgomery Community College for Career Exploration 101. This course will help them discover what they want to do in the future and teach them how to make those goals a reality. First, they developed resumes and prepared for mock interviews, conducted Tuesday.
Apprentices spent the rest of the day at Transitions, learning about the building, their teachers, mentors, coaches and each other. They built and organized their schedules for the week, got organization tips and received their internship assignments. Each Apprentice will spend Tuesday and Thursday mornings working at a local business, to gain valuable experience holding a job, interacting with supervisors and coworkers, and learning useful skills. Our Apprentices are working at a library, a bakery, a catering business, a landscaping business, a day care center and more.
Giving our students real-world experience and instructing them in skills essential for functioning independently but typically overlooked by traditional education is the cornerstone of Transitions’ curriculum. In this vein, the rest of the classes introduced Apprentices to such skills. In social classes they learned the basics of conversational etiquette, while in Self-Management they learned how to make plans and take small steps toward goals.
Organization and time-management are vital to success, so Apprentices learned about identifying their productivity patterns and planning out how long tasks will take. This requires a measure of self-awareness, so they also had a class in which they learned to identify and embrace their strengths and weaknesses.
Rounding out the academic week, Apprentices learned about exercise, nutrition and managing stress. They practiced independent living skills such as cleaning, budgeting and taking public transportation. Apprentices have even been cooking their own dinners as a group every night, feeding themselves and each other while getting tips about cooking with stoves, ovens and even just microwaves.
It was a hectic week, but the Apprentices responded well to classes and had a good time learning and getting to know each other.
It helps that they had plenty of fun scheduled between classes so they didn’t burn out. Every day they had either a couple hours of free time or art-based enrichment classes. The first day, students chose between visual arts and musical arts. One group, along with instructor Brenda Dwyer, started a mixed media tactile art project with glue, paper and masonite board.
The other group joined Diane Mott for an exuberant hour of banging on trash cans, shaking maracas, waving streamers and learning a Transitions-themed rap. Both classes were opportunities for Apprentices to let off steam and express themselves creatively. Later in the week, Apprentices also had the option of making their own jewelry or taking a modern acting workshop.
There were some optional activities Apprentices could participate in during down time, such as building an Adirondack-style lean-to. The lean-to, once finished, will sit permanently along Transitions’ nature trail. The Apprentices who helped build the gathering place will sign the walls, to leave their mark on something future Transitions classes will enjoy for years.
Plenty of fun things happen at the Transitions building, but it’s also important to get out of the building occasionally. On Thursday, the Apprentices took an informative tour of the University at Albany’s huge and unique campus. They got to eat in a dining hall, see dorms and ask questions of current students as well as an admissions counselor. After the tour, they took public transportation to Crossgates Mall for dinner and shopping.
On Friday Apprentices went bowling and on Saturday they spent the day at Six Flags: Great Escape. The first week ended on Sunday with hiking and shopping trips.
The first week of the Summer Immersion Experience’s first session was busy, but productive and fun. There’s a lot to look forward to in the second week as well, including more enrichment class options, an Iron Chef competition and a special outing at the Fulton County Airport. Keep an eye on this blog for more weekly recaps!