Highlights from my resume include:
Youth Passageways Stewardship Council -New Position. Dedicated to steering the larger decisions and direction similar to a Board of Directors. YPW is an evolving network of individuals, organizations, and communities helping to regenerate healthy passages into mature adulthood for today’s youth.
Youth Passageways and All Nations Gathering Center Gathering, August 27 - September 3 2018, Pine Ridge Reservation, Organizer.
Youth on Fire Training July 30th-August 3rd A training in the art and science of creating body-centered rites of passage processes in your community. Boulder, CO. Participant.
Restoring Youth Rites of Passage: Two-Week Leadership Intensive June 2nd-15th Participant in three-day solo vigil, inquire into the intersections of colonization, ancestry, trauma, and initiation, explore frameworks and tools for rite of passage leadership, program facilitation, and adolescent development. Delve into key issues in rite of passage work today, including working with youth of diverse backgrounds in gender, sexuality, and ethnicity. Bothell, WA. Rite of Passage Journeys
December 2016-Novemebr 2018 Board Member OUT There Adventures We believe that every youth deserves the opportunity to explore their identity in a positive environment. We possess a love for nature and believe in its ability to transform lives, especially the lives of youth. We believe that every youth deserves to feel a sense of community and to be able to identify at least one supportive adult in their life. We believe that the trials and tribulations associated with identifying as queer and/or trans can be used as opportunities that cultivate self-efficacy, resilience, and empowerment. Committees: Strategic Planning & Fundraising (focus on Grants), Transition & Interim Executive Director
2013 National Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN) Safe Schools Advocacy Summit (SSAS) Washington, DC, Lobbyist for two federal bills: The Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Non-Discrimination Act.
August 2012 – June 2013 Instructor Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) City of Moab, UT. Provided youth with essential knowledge, skills, and motivations to reduce risk behaviors. Community outreach, event planning, recruitment & partnership with other local organizations.
2011-2014 Moab Pride
Grant Writer- Recipient of Community Foundation’s 2013 LGBT Community Endowment
City, County, Health Department permitting
City & County Ordinance presenter- Moab becomes first rural Utah town to approve Mutual Commitment Registry
Community Outreach, Visibility March Coordinator & Board Member
January 2011-July 2012 Senior Field Guide Open Sky Wilderness Therapy, Colorado and Utah
2010 Grand County Mentoring, Moab, UT
2010-2011 Instructor Polytech School, 5 Day 9th Grade Backpacking trip Escalante, UT.
2010 Instructor The Women's Wilderness Institute 7 Day All Female 14-17 yr. old Backpacking, Snowy Range, WY.
Outward Bound, Moab, UT 2006-2010/ 5 Seasons
Trainer, Instructor, Office Manager, Head Logistics Coordinator
2000 Envisioned & produced local fundraising event- Out Of The Blue, awarding five Queer at risk youth with full scholarships to participate in a week-long North Carolina Outward Bound Course.
1996-2000 Atlanta Pride Festival Youth & Family Outreach Coordinator
Please describe your experience with group facilitation.
Outward Bound, Joanna Macy, Open Sky Wilderness, Pacific Quest & The Way of Council, with Youth Passageways & Rite of Passage Journeys have been the many ways I have developed my capacity to lead group facilitation.
Additionally, the following are applicable courses I created for my Human Development Degree at Prescott College.
Course Title: Group Process for Experiential Educators March 12, 2006-April 30, 2006 See more here: https://prescott.digication.com/jenn_oestreich/Group_Process_for_Experiential_Educators
This course gives students a broad theoretical and experiential background in group process. Skills include: group communication styles, problem solving, team building, leadership and conflict resolution. Students design and practice a variety of group experiences.
Course Title: Wilderness Leadership March 12, 2006-April 30, 2006 See more here: https://prescott.digication.com/jenn_oestreich/Wilderness_Leadership
Leadership and teaching skills development achieved through obtaining proficiency and knowledge in adventure and experiential education, teaching styles and techniques, group faciliation and debriefing the experience practices, leadership theory, conflict resolution, risk management, course planning and logistics design.Ability to integrate human skills into program lessons, rather than focusing specialty on technical skills.
Course Title: Concepts and Strategies for Conflict Resolution 10/22/07-4/11/08 See more here: https://prescott.digication.com/jenn_oestreich/Concepts_Strategies_for_Conflict_Resolution
As a result of this course, I have demonstrated higher order thinking skills, integrated multicultural & environmental issues within the communications breadth, and demonstrated an understanding of various tools to resolve conflict and cultivate compassion versus anger on many levels. I accomplished this by participating in a Diversity Workshop, writing a difficult letter to a family member, and communicating with my community regarding communication skills needed to move into a sustainable and just future. This resulted in a workshop called "Raising Peaceful Children in a Violent World" that dialoged around anger & forgiveness and our natural and programmed ways of handling conflict.
Please describe your experience with curriculum development.
2009-2010 Outward Bound Diversity & Inclusion
6 day Training Thompson Island, Massachusetts
OB National: Inclusion & Diversity Strategic Implementation Team: Workplace
Southwest Outward Bound Staff & Student D & I Training & Curriculum Developer
Education in Curriculum Design 8/18/08-11/2/08 See more here: https://prescott.digication.com/jenn_oestreich/Curriculum_Design
The organization of schooling and further education has long been associated with the idea of a curriculum. But what actually is curriculum, and how might it be conceptualized? Traditional curriculum design has focused on the transmission of discrete pieces of information--frequently rote facts and formulas--from teacher to student. Because the information is considered important in its own right, traditional curriculum designers often pay little attention to whether or not students use the information in any real-life context. In this kind of curriculum, segregated "silos" of knowledge (labeled "disciplines") are used to impose order on information. Within the context of this course the student will break down the barriers of traditional curriculum design and explore ideas of place-based education, team based learning, project based learning & community based curriculum design . A major focus of this course for the student is an (educational) reform effort in their community. As a result of this course, the student will have the knowledge to design a curriculum that incorporates their creativity and satisfies state core curriculum requirements.
Objectives: As a result of this course, I:
-Read and interpret four different approached to curriculum. Curriculum as a body of knowledge to be transmitted. Curriculum as an attempt to achieve certain ends in students - product. Curriculum as process. Curriculum as praxis.
-be prepared to contribute to our discussions, be timely, and self-directed
-Address the essential skills of critical thinking & reading, effective oral communication, and inquiry within Curriculum Design.
-Read and interpret the primary literature (books and articles) that supports the principles and practice of Curriculum Design.
-Understand the backgrounds and themes of major disciplinary approaches to Curriculum Design, such as Community based & Place based learning.
-Explore the question, How might we raise children, support teenagers, and cultivate ourselves so we might engender a sustainable human culture?
-develop trusting relationships with community members, and then work with the community to design educational programs.
-Design a curriculum that is holistic, engaging, progressive, ecological, political, economic & spiritual.
FOLLOW UP QUESTIONS 12/11/18
A key component of our Side by Side service philosophy is using a Youth Development Approach. - Youth are at the center of defining their treatment experience, hopes, dreams and the path to achieving their goals. We focus on existing strengths and emphasize the acquisition of self-knowledge and life skills that promote resilience, effectiveness and self-esteem. Please provide an example of how you have used it in your past work.
Reflecting on this question I thought about my natural progression of working with youth in discovering their strengths and passions regardless of their perceived ambivalence in the initial process. Which leads me to thinking about first developing trust with them. How I do that is simple: I listen. I feel I have a strong ability to witness, observe and actively listen to the youth I support. This, I have been told, by both peers & youth I work with, is a skill that is seen as authentic, vulnerable & valued. Upon developing trust and realness I am able to move to asking questions about themes, re-occurring adversities and risk behaviors. Identifying a willingness to change, even just a little one, I have found is a gateway for developing intentional goals that clear a path for a sense of belonging and engagement in their communities. Reminding me of this quote:
‘If the young are not initiated in the tribe, they will burn down the village just to feel its warmth.’
Engaging youth, partnering with them, I feel, is critical for long lasting change. They have to be invested and in the process of discovering strengths & passions we begin to look at ways they can bring those gifts back to their communities. Starting within their supportive peer group they are working with, I have found that offering that student consistent affirmations of their capabilities, gentle nudges to try on different ways of being and opportunities to test their leadership and cooperation within their group, leads to specific measurable results, building confidence and resilience.
An example I'll provide here is from an experience I had working with a youth at Pacific Quest.
To recap, I had identified their low self worth exhibited by their consistent negative self-talk. I had also noticed in groups their hunger for attention and sometimes ability to “steal the show” by making everything about them. This combined with the historical knowledge that they had once been involved in theatre, until their grades began flailing and they were reportedly self-harming after a difficult life transition. When it came time in their program that the student would be tasked with creating a group to facilitate with the rest of us, I took the opportunity to make connections with them & their love of performance and their use of roles & masks to maintain control when they are feeling threatened or vulnerable, to name a few. In our 1:1 brainstorming about their group assigned by their therapist I asked if they'd considered utilizing what they know from theatre games, warm ups & activities and applying them thru a therapeutic lens? Light bulb!
The end result was that they were able to use their own resource(s) to lead an activity with their peers that offered tools for expression without words, but thru movement and character development to recapitulate times in their lives that they all felt regret about and transform that experience. AND play, build trust together, develop empathy and discover others who have similar lived experiences.
Our milieu services and this position focus on meeting youth in their environment, so it is often in the field. What do you find most challenging about working in the field?
The field, to me, has been in the canyons, mountains or jungle with my students. The youth were taken out of their environment and comfort zone; the places that triggered harm ++. The first night, day, was always a challenge. So many 1sts for them and still very much activated, scared and defiant. I had so much compassion for them and the students who had been their longer offered “yea, this sucks, but it gets better” support. What I found most useful was consistent affirming of their courage & willingness to stick with it. They always had a choice to go on a “walk”. Finding opportunities to drop hints to how they would show up for themselves in this transition (threshold experience) gives a lot of information on how they deal with stress & change anywhere in their life. Their strengths and resources to navigate life's challenges are assets to apply and develop throughout their life. As trust, genuine care and holding firm boundaries developed I felt I had the relationship with them to, when they would act out (or in), offer a reflection of "how has that worked out for you in the past?" That bell of awareness, an outsider's reflection supported them and me in progress (not perfection), a muscle to develop and stretch, making long lasting change and tangible successes that create confidence in their resiliency. Ways I have developed change in my own life that I pass along as wisdom to those I serve.
I say this because I believe it speaks to me in this particular role and meeting youth in their environment. It is a new way for me and something I have set an intention to develop in my vocation. An exciting (and scary!) edge of unknown I want to explore. I come from a place of partnering with those I serve, building trust, supporting and guiding in real, authentic and sometimes vulnerable ways. Earlier this year I wrote the following: “Roughly two years ago, I recognized it would be a disservice to continue serving the youth and inauthentic to ask those I worked with to search edges I was fearful to search myself. What that meant to me is that I answered the Call.”
I now believe this is a theme I carry forward thru life. The edge for me within the context of this question you have posed is that it is my understanding that a majority (80%) of the members served at Our Space are youth of color and that my time (60-75%) is spent in the field providing community based support services to referenced youth. Going into their field is a new edge, but one I am committed to searching, growing, and being always humbled by. My life's work is to be a support for Queer, Trans and gender non-conforming youth as a Queer Older, mentor and mirror, in whatever way that shows up for me. Period. I answer the Call when it is ringing in my ear. AND I am very much white and very much aware of the privileges this holds in our society and the likely barriers this may present in building rapport with youth who do not see themselves represented in me. And I am hopeful. What an opportunity of our times to give it my best shot to breakdown the barriers that are no longer serving in cooperation with youth and collectively acknowledge, heal, and move thru into restorative justice.
What makes you suited for this type of work? Please talk about any lived experience you have had that would make you a good fit. *
Earlier this year, I participated in a 2 week leadership intensive called, Restoring Youth Rites of Passage. In it we wore both, and oscillated between, the facilitator cap and the participant one. As a participant, I experienced a 3 day solo fast where in preparation for it we began to craft an “intent statement”, similar to a mission statement. Something to anchor our commitments to ourselves and our gifts we want to bring to our communities moving forward.
This is what I created and live into and I believe answers your question.
I am a healthy & attuned Adult. Alive. Living OUT loud with all of my heart.
I am a 47 year old Queer, gender-non-conforming Adult who set out 3 + years ago to save my life. A journey of self-inquiry, embodiment and deep renewal of trust, authenticity and development of life-affirming boundaries and self-love. This determination, this healing process through lived experiences, is in large part accomplished because I have witnessed the youth of our times fierce determination to be visible through language and expression, gifting me the courage to be and do the same. It is really my duty of care and loyalty to them as an Older to serve as a reflection of possibility, have their backs and be an Ancestor of their wildest dreams.
Scenario: You arrive at your client’s apartment at 5 pm and there is a small party underway; music is blaring and alcohol bottles are visible. Among those present are several men, your client’s mother (whom you know to be a crack addict) and one baby you have never seen before. How would you engage your client?
Wow, so many variables, feelings and questions on this one. Because, as I have already expressed, I have never gone to a client's house before. But, if this is the scenario, let me tell you what I think I would do.
Is it a surprise drop in or planned meeting? First, I would likely hear the party & music before even knocking on the door & entering the scene. This may lead me to take pause and consider calling ahead from a distance, hopefully speaking to my client (age dependent). Gathering a bit more information, re-scheduling or assuring safety of my client.
If I have found myself in the scene already, I would id if the party is one my client is engaged with and with their friends or does it appear to be the makings of adults, with the men & mother? Being female-bodied, I would have concerns of finding myself in a room full of men and alcohol, that I am not familiar with. I think I would likely, acknowledge them in some way and ask my client if I could chat with them for a sec, dependent on the level of intoxication or if they are involved or not. For my own safety, I may need to leave, request back up and come up with a different plan of action. Like I said, there are so many variables. This would not be an opportunity to reprimand, judge or call out my client or anyone else in the room. If my client appeared to not be involved I'd ask if they want to go for a walk, feeling out the support (or lack there of) from the adults in the room. Maybe this is an opportunity to bring my client to a safe space. If the client is a participant in the party and their peers are there, I think I would tell them I'll check in with them later (not an time to remind them that we had an appointment) and then follow up with them and process the experience in a neutral space.
This I know, I am proactive and have a strong sense of assessing out a field for “threats” to self and others, hyper-vigilant to a fault at times, and at best very observant. I don't shy away from seeking feedback and asking for help and would apply these tools to this scenario.
Side by Side works to model a healthy community where youth can participate in a variety of activities. This involves staff collaborating with each other as well as being fully participatory, present and proactive at work. Side by Side also values self-renewal for staff as the work we do is challenging. One way in which we support staff is by having staff activities, team building exercises and agency outings. Is there any reason you would not want to participate with fellow staff members in this manner?
This sounds really healthy and I can't imagine any reason I would not want to participate with fellow staff members in this manner. Thoughts that come up are in relationship to different ways of self-renewal are that I, personally, am prone to need quiet time to energize, can take me a bit to warm up to folks (a bit shy) & would hope that the environment that I work in would honor my choice to not participate in an agency outing if I am feeling the need to take care of myself in a different way. I also have found in working in this field that some folks don't always “practice what they preach” in terms of indulging in substances in excess to “take the edge off” from a challenging day. These coping strategies I have dealt with myself and continue to review my relationship to them. If I am in a space where team building is seen as a way to go to the bar, I will pass. With all that said, I LOVE collaborating with folks on creating innovative ways of modeling to youth respect for peers, accountability and excellence to the greater vision of what we are all up to in the world and overall transparency in how we navigate our differences with respect and compassion. It's all fodder for learning and growing.
Positive Youth Development web search
Protective factors in community & how these factors influence one's capacity to overcome adversity:
Family of origin supporting, caring adults, peer group, strong sense of self, engagement in school and community activities.
Engage youth as equal partners. Active agents- the youth participates and designs leadership qualities, civic involvement, & investment in community. Building on strengths & recognizing risk behaviors. Intentional & proactive. Youth as resources. Enhance sense of belonging. Empowering youth to identify & respond to community needs.
It is a directive, client-centered counseling style for eliciting behavior change by helping clients to explore and resolve ambivalence. Express empathy through reflective listening.
Develop discrepancy between clients' goals or values and their current behavior.
Avoid argument and direct confrontation.
Adjust to client resistance rather than opposing it directly.
Support self-efficacy and optimism.
Triggers change in high-risk lifestyle behaviors.
Increases the willingness to get help and fight through addiction.
Increases participation rates during any treatment program.
Lowers the chance of future relapses occurring.
Allows individuals to find encouragement during treatment and to establish self-actualization goals
Process of Engaging.
Open questions, affirmation, reflective listening, and summary reflections (OARS) are the basic interaction techniques and skills that are used “early and often” in the motivational interviewing approach