In preparation for this year's annual East Bay Camp retreat; Senior Veteran Team Captain Robin Roberts and I asked Jeff to have all of the scholars go to the Pew Research Center’s "political typology quiz," take it, and provide the outcomes to us.
The idea is to use this information for the scholars to self-assess where they lean on the political spectrum as well as, help us in breaking them into groups for the annual East Bay Camp retreat's experiential learnings.
I invite anyone interested to take the quiz for themselves. Just click on the following link: http://www.people-press.org/typology/quiz/
With this in mind, it was funny the other day while I was standing in the lunch line at Normal West when Veteran Scholar Ceil approached me to share her thoughts about collecting the scholars’ political typologies. I have gotten to know Ceil both through the Project and as her teacher and I am always interested to hear her take on things.
She offered an instructive thought - that being: collecting the typologies might prove to be a waste of time since all of the kids in the Diversity Project will most likely have similar political views.
Hmmh, maybe so or not.
In fact, I have to say, the scholars are in for quite the experience at the annual East Bay Camp retreat.
Robin and I decided early on that the scholars need to grapple with politics on a local level. Even though many 17 year old's can now vote in Illinois primaries, politics are often viewed by today's youth as a "locking of horns" on the national level and related to issues that really don’t impact their daily lives.
In considering how to best tackle this year’s East Bay Camp retreat outcome needs; Robin and I teamed up with Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner and McLean County Clerk Kathy Michael to bring "The Diversity of Politics" down to a community level.
This isn’t "down" in terms of difficulty; rather - and by design - just the opposite.
Because Mayor Tari and Clerk Kathy empowered us - based upon their learnings and experiences - to build-out a 'real time' learning opportunity for this year's retreat curricula; Robin and I were able to craft a weekend of experiential learning for the scholars aimed at their better understanding the decision making process involving various stakeholders in our local communities in determining who gets what, when, where, why and how.
To achieve this outcome, Robin and I will challenge the scholars to contemplate the decisions necessary to balance a city’s budget. The scholars will confront the same trade-offs required of local governments across McLean County, on a regular basis.
After reviewing the scholars' political typology results - and with regard to Ceil’s thought - Robin and I have a hunch that the scholars' various life experiences, values and interests will prove this seemingly straight forward activity to be worthy of a culminating exercise.
I want to express the Project's gratitude to Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner and County Clerk Kathy Michael for volunteering to invest a Saturday in our scholars at the annual East Bay Camp retreat.
It surprised no one that they would be open to such an interaction.
In fact, they both "got it" right off the bat when we mentioned 'kids and civics'.
It’s going to be a great weekend – as always.
- John "Jeremiah" Bierbaum
Veteran Team Captain
McLean County Diversity Project