Training Retreat Curriculum
Throughout the training retreat, learning is supported through multi-format presentations (lectures, role-playing, music, physical activity, written work, interactive experiences, appropriate physical contact, open discussions, etc.) in order to accommodate differences in learning styles.
WELCOME: Trainees are welcomed and oriented to the site and to training expectations.
LISTENING CIRCLES: Listening Group members initiate the process and guidelines for the Retreat. Some of the most profound learning of the Retreat occurs during the scheduled small-group interactions structured to guide trainees through practice in listening skills, release of prejudices and biases, acceptance and appreciation of differences, and trust. Listening Circles are facilitated by experienced LifeSavers who have demonstrated skills in communication and empathy and who have been trained in this group process. Membership in a trainee Listening Group strives for diversity (gender, ethnicity, informal associations, interests, age) within a group and equity among groups. A series of five Listening Circles runs through the training retreat.
ISSUES AT YOUR SCHOOL: Trainees identify the most significant problems at school and learn that since these circumstances exist almost exclusively between students, they themselves possess the best access to solutions.
LIFESAVERS CAPABILITIES: Trainees are acknowledged for their abilities and become acquainted with the operating principles of the program. Trainees identify personal capabilities which promote effective LifeSavers functioning. Confidentiality and trust are addressed.
APPRECIATING DIVERSITY: a session which enhances students’ awareness and motivates them to create their own positive solutions.
A variety of other content sessions are provided according to the identified needs and preferences of each school.
TOGETHER WE CAN!! To further bond trainees into their small groups, a modified “teams course” (designed to be met successfully and safely by all) is conducted.
TRUSTING YOURSELF AND OTHERS: This structured exercise presents elements of effective listening skills, self-awareness, healthy self-esteem enhancement, gratitude, and idealism in addition to the exercise’s core goal of learning to trust yourself and others.
REAL-LIFE RELATIONSHIPS: Trainees address any aspect of relationships deemed relevant and appropriate by previous agreement between school staff and trainers who provide current information and teach effective skills. Trainees identify their own best behaviors and values.
EFFECTIVE LISTENING: The all-encompassing goal of this program is to teach our trainees how to be effective and authentic listeners. Communication skills, deep listening skills, defying alienation and fear, refraining from giving personal advice, and empathy are taught and practiced.
THE GREAT AMERICAN FAMILY: This session dramatizes the dynamics of a dysfunctional family and teaches characteristics which may be evidenced by students who seek help.
TEEN SUICIDE: The tragedy of suicide is confronted in a realistic manner with examples of risks for high school students. Symptom recognition and prevention strategies are introduced.
MASKS: Trainees realize that they all experience the same emotions even if for different reasons. Participants learn and are reassured that they and their friends have the personal resources to experience and to moderate their feelings.
Optional Open-to-All Spiritual Time Sunday morning.
COPING WITH LOSS: Most teens have experienced the death of a family member or a friend or peer but often are given no guidance or preparation for coping with this pain. This session normalizes grief, dispels taboos, gives information about reactions, and appropriate support.
YOUR PERSONAL POWER: Trainees recognize their right to value themselves and their capabilities as well as need for improvement, to replace negative self-talk with healthy messages, to accept and take responsibility for their actions, and to know they can make good choices. Thus, they become more capable to be authentic and effective in helping others.
WHAT’S NEXT AT YOUR SCHOOL? School staff and LSTC trainers review and identify resources available in the school and larger community. Trainees plan for operating their chapter.
THE PLEDGE: The LifeSavers pledge is distributed, addressed, and clarified if needed.