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Developing Skills for Future Success

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Kristie Larson, Strategic Relationship Manager at The DeBruce Foundation

Earlier this month, we celebrated Remake Learning Days in Kansas City. Remake Learning Days is a national effort to bring innovative learning for families and youth through fun, interactive experiences in their neighborhoods and cities. The DeBruce Foundation partnered with our friends at the KC STEM Alliance and other non-profit organizations for a day of activities on Saturday, May 6. Our team was excited to present activities demonstrating the Agilities – or work skills – in action.

Attendees were provided an Agilities Passport in which they could collect stamps upon completion of various activities like building paper airplanes, making a robotic hand out of paper, flying a drone, leading a blindfolded friend through an obstacle course, and many others. 

Remake Learning Days became a family affair for The DeBruce Foundation team! We enlisted the help of spouses, parents, kids, and our DeBruce Career Corps members! My daughters (Caroline, age 10, and Ellie, age 9) joined me for the event. I charged them with helping set up the activities, getting instructions to the activity leaders, and assisting with executing each activity as kids and parents came to individual stations.

My kids have helped me at many events like this throughout my career. They are quite accustomed to these requests and, truth be told, they have a lot of fun and feel a tremendous amount of purpose when they can help. What amazed me, however, was how both girls gravitated to the Agilities language and how they could notice — and name — Agilities in the activities they were doing. 

As an event organizer, I love to get feedback on what worked and what improvements can be made to enhance the event experience. In addition to the “official” event feedback form, I thought I would conduct my own research as to the effectiveness of the Agilities messaging in our activities. Did kids really get it, or were these simply fun activities to do on a warm, sunny Saturday in May?

Here is a recap of my Q & A with my daughters.

Me: How would you describe the Agilities?

Caroline: A good way to find out what you’re good at.

Ellie: Finding out what you like to do.

Me: What Agilities did you activate during Remake Learning Days?

Caroline: Innovating at the robotic hand station where I worked with Robin [Smith]! Organizing when we made the bridges out of toothpicks and candy. I also learned Serving & Caring when Ellie and I had to make sure all of the other activities were set up right and when people needed things, we would go get them the supplies.

Ellie: I liked Developing Others and Judging & Estimating when I helped Leigh Anne [Taylor Knight] with the paper airplane station! It was fun to help the little kids fly the airplanes through the hoops.

Me: Have you used your Agilities since Remake Learning Days?

Caroline: Yes! When Ellie got the wrong drink at a restaurant and we needed to take it back, I told her I could get it replaced because I am good at Selling & Communicating

Me: How have you seen other people demonstrate their Agilities?

Caroline: My teacher uses Inspecting on our class projects.

Ellie: When we went to our friend’s farm this week, they were Developing Others because they taught us how to bottle feed lambs and collect eggs from chickens. I have never done that before!

To prepare for this event, our team created a parent handout to help parents understand the Agilities and how they can notice and name Agilities throughout all the activity stations. The handout also encourages continued conversations and affirms students are working hard and developing new skills for a future career. Finally, we encourage exploration of new things and to reflect on the student’s interests, so they have confidence to explore more career opportunities and grow. 

Remake Learning Days was a special event for me. I got to work with many of our team members and meet their families. I got to work with our partners and other organizations like the KC STEM Alliance, Make48, Garmin, Coloratura, and others. Most importantly, I got to be a MOM while I worked! It was exciting to watch my kids learn while having fun and learning how they grow and develop their Agilities in everything they do.

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