Seattle’s new corps have had an excitement-packed start of the year at Basic Training Retreat (BTR), an overnight retreat where new corps members learn to integrate into City Year culture through team building and self-reflection activities. The 2011-2012 corps had the chance to connect to each other and City Year culture in a way that got them up and moving.
City Year’s culture and values including teamwork, inclusivity and emapathy are at the heart of our organization. Together they fuel and promote the idealism that will carry corps members through their year of service as mentors and tutors for students who are at risk of dropping out of school.
The Idealist Handbook was one of the first tools the new corps was able to unravel at BTR. While less regonizable than our red jackets and Timberland boots, the book is an equally important element of the corps uniform. The Idealist Handbook illustrates City Year’s dedication to civic leadership, action and transformation, with a focus on helping students succeed.
This year’s senior corps team, composed of a group of second year corps members who have returned to City Year to lead new corps members, wanted to introduce the handbook in a way that would inspire the corps to engage with the handbook as early and often as possible.
To achieve this goal, Idealist Handbook challenges were created ranging from uniform relay races to power greeting competitions to district feeder-pattern cup stacking. Awards were given out for team spirit, friendly competition, patience, and adversity in the face of defeat. The overall winning team was awarded the Cup of Idealism.
Each month the senior corps will host a new challenge for the corps involving the Idealist Handbook, and each month there will be a team that holds the title Champions of Idealism and the Cup will be passed.
It was a great deal of fun and the knowledge and understanding the corps developed during the challenges will help them grow as a community while grounding their service in City Year’s culture and values.
*Text by Senior Corps Member Anessa Amer