There are a lot of ingredients to a successful transition. There isn’t just one magic spice. But, across the board, there’s one thing each individual needs within him or herself in order to move towards independence and adulthood: self-determination. A group of 7th & 8th grade students at the Mario Umana Academy in East Boston are just a few that represent young teens all over Boston who are starting to ask themselves these questions: What do I want to do when I grow up? Where do I want to live? Who do I want to live with? What do I want to do for work?
At Waypoint, we believe that through challenges we learn about ourselves. It’s real-life experiences that prepare teens for that next step. The Waypoint Education program provides opportunities for decision-making through the use of real-life challenges.
At the Mario Umana Academy, this class stepped up to those challenges. On our hike in the Blue Hills, they decided on where we would park, what trails to take, when to eat lunch, and how to follow the map. At Central Rock Climbing Gym, each individual chose what wall to climb and how they wanted to push themselves – some tried the indoor rope swing where they decided when to step off the ledge to swing! And on our final Outdoor Kayaking program, these students decided where to paddle and how to organize our group in the high winds. All of these decisions required students to reflect on who they are, what their preferences are, what they think they’re capable of, and what is best for the group.
During this program, we teach a 4-step process to make a self-determined decision: 1. Know Yourself, 2. Make a Plan, 3. Act on that Plan, and 4. Experience Outcomes and Learn. Step #4 is key: whether we make a decision for ourselves that turns out to be the right decision or the wrong one, it’s how we adjust and what we learn about ourselves that determines our success in that arduous adulthood transition.
Check out our series:
Planning our route and getting ready for our hike
A successful hike in the Blue Hills
Practicing Decision-Making at school and a closer look at the 4-Step Process
Setting goals and getting ready for the Rope Swing
An awesome day climbing and swinging at CRG!
A huge thanks to Charles River Canoe and Kayak for letting us use your boats, life jackets, paddle and dock at Kendall Square. We had an awesome time! Check out video from our day on the water!
Thanks Ms. Brown’s class for an awesome series together! We look forward to watching your bright futures unfold!