Transitions Summer Immersion Experience – Session I, Week 2

Transitions Summer Immersion Experience – Session I, Week 2

Remember the lean-to the Apprentices started building in the first week? It’s coming along nicely! During Week 2, our builders got the foundation in place, constructed the bottom frame, added flooring and began setting up one of the walls. Construction will continue throughout the summer until we have a sturdy lean-to built by the hands of three sessions’ worth of Transitions Apprentices.

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The lean-to isn’t the only thing that saw progress in Week 2. The Apprentices continued their advanced learning in Career Exploration 101, Leadership, Wellness, Social Relationships and Executive Functioning. The focuses of Leadership classes this week were self-awareness, determination, advocacy and discovery – because leading others starts with leading yourself.

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While last week’s Wellness class was about exercise, this one emphasized nutrition. Apprentices learned about reading food labels and making healthy eating choices. In their Social Relationships class they learned more about interacting with others, and in their Executive Functioning class they worked on developing a capstone project, which they will present on the last day of the session.

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Probably the most important development, though, is the camaraderie and teamwork growing among the Apprentices. No matter if they’re doing schoolwork, having fun on an outing or doing an enrichment activity, they are always willing to help each other out. It might be with encouraging words (at Thursday night’s fashion show), sharing their knowledge (reciting nutrition trivia in Wellness class) or with a physical helping hand (Apprentice Coty showing both Abbys how to use the drill when they were building the lean-to).

Above all, we want our Apprentices to have a fun, meaningful experience here and take away lasting, helpful things. This includes friendship and good memories. These little moments make us think we’re succeeding.

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Since self-advocacy is another huge focus of Transitions, this week the Apprentice Council has been meeting. Made up entirely of Apprentices and guided by Transitions Coach Priya Winston, the Apprentice Council is a way to gain practical experience in leadership and self-advocacy. It’s a place where Apprentices can give input about the Transitions program and influence change in areas that directly affect them. Their suggestions have included small things, such as putting up birdfeeders on the program grounds, as well as alterations in the program, such as having more free time to relax and hang out. It’s important for Apprentices to know that their voices matter and that they can make a difference in their own lives.

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As always, there was plenty of time for fun alongside the work. As per their input, Apprentices had more time between classes to unwind and socialize. There was a fashion show on Thursday as well as a campfire, and Friday was a tye-dye and movie night. On Friday morning the Apprentices went to Fulton County Airport for a lesson in aviation, taught by local pilot Don Fleischute. He gave Apprentices a tour of the airport, then talked about the history of aviation, how planes are designed, the history of flight and the many opportunities for careers in aviation.

He took the Apprentices to the repair hangar, where they saw his own 69-year-old airplane and aircraft mechanic Tom Krutz talked about his job and what it takes to repair airplanes for a living. The Apprentices loved the up-close view of the airplanes, many of which were antiques, and our speakers did an excellent job impressing on them the many opportunities that exist in all fields for people of all abilities.

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Throughout the week, Apprentices enjoyed a wider selection of arts enrichment courses. Local freelance game designer Kelsey Blanton is teaching Designing a 3-D Environment, where Apprentices create their own printable video game scene in Maya and Marmoset, professional-grade software.

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Apprentices more attuned to performance have been taking Modern Acting Workshop with local actress, director and drama teacher Roberta Esposito. They’ve been doing movement, mime, improvisation, acting, music, characterization and theater games in preparation for an Extraordinary Revue performance on the last day of the session. Family and friends are invited to see the skits, scenes, songs and dances the Apprentices have been working on!

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The week concluded with Saturday’s outing: a spelunking adventure at Howe Caverns. The group descended 156 feet below the surface and took a 90-minute tour of the incredible labyrinth of caves, corridors and an underground riverbed. And after the tour, a couple of our more daring Apprentices scaled a rock wall. It was good to get out of the building – and the heat – to see a truly remarkable natural wonder.

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Continue to follow this blog to read about the conclusion of the first session of the Transitions Summer Immersion Experience!