In April, Alan Wong from Seattle went to lead Creative Facilitation 1 in China working with our partner, Jingle Camps.
“This April I had the opportunity to lead the first ever PYE program in China – a Creative Facilitation training in the Southeastern city of Guangzhou (just a few hours from my own Ancestral Village). Thirty participants gathered from across China – Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and beyond – to take part. Our organizational partners from the youth empowerment program Jingle Camps/Your Award (Ruth Feng, Amy Li, and team) were incredible hosts. They brought together a diverse group of participants, went above and beyond in preparing the program logistics and helped to translate and co-facilitate activities.
Though this was the first time that the Creative Empowerment model has landed in China, the participants seemed to instantly resonate and engage with the theories and practices. There is a hunger in many Chinese schools and organizations (as in other countries) for greater creativity, collaboration and capacity for critical thought. At Creative Facilitation, many participants felt they had come home to something they had been missing.
One participant said, “I can’t wait to share this experience in our regular meetings. I’ve found that most of the techniques and skills can be applied in our classes and activities at once”. Another said, “I will run a camp program for our school students… and I find creative facilitation is so practical and helpful that I can mix it up in our original program”.
The experience of being in a transformative and supportive learning community made a personal as well as professional impact. One participant reflected that, “I felt like I was loved by all the people in this community. So warm and full of love like a family… I got new energy here and witnessed my inner potential here”. Another spoke of the Creative Empowerment Model’s capacity to build connection across difference: “We found that everyone in this group can set aside the prejudice and include others well”.
The first seeds of the Creative Empowerment model planted in China are already bearing fruit. There is a group of alumni from our April training who regularly share their experiences in applying Creative Facilitation and engage in ongoing learning and discussion. Plans for Creative Facilitation 2 are in the works and, in collaboration with our partners at Jingle Camps/Your Award, we are exploring ways to train more facilitators and support more Chinese communities through PYE’s Creative Empowerment model. I was thrilled to be a part of launching PYE’s first programming in China and am eager for us all to continue the journey! “