Several times each year, we bring together GripTape youth to spend a weekend designing, iterating, and creating prototypes to help chart the organization’s future. In early June, five Youth Leadership Board members and five Challengers met for our first-ever Design Day weekend in Denver, CO.

Challenger Melica Pourarfaie and Board Member Kaitlyn Jenkins talked about the experience.

Melica Pourarfaie, GripTape Challenger, Littleton, CO

As an individual who gets excited about meeting new people despite my introverted personality and reluctance to walk into unknown settings and unmade friendships, I still had my doubts about the GripTape Design Day weekend. But the level of familiarity and open-mindedness I was greeted with changed that in a heartbeat. Designing in such an environment allowed me to have a truly inspiring experience where the ingenuity of ideas was not lost in the midst of the ambitious progression of GripTape’s practices.

I personally worked on a project to begin a video orientation for new GripTape Challengers, and I found it so rewarding to work in a professional environment that begged creativity with a conscious goal of momentous productivity. GripTape’s mission truly inspires the innovation youth hold when they begin journeys that aid them to lead their independence in pursuing their dreams. Through the platform known as the Youth Squad, built by GripTape youth as a way to track progress for each individual’s learning, I witnessed the immense empowerment that this program develops in youth to drive their learning for passions that exceed a school curriculum.

I have been absolutely blessed and honored to work with such an amazing crew over the weekend and advance a program that I’m positive will bloom a generation of individuality and independence into a world of opportunity.

Kaitlyn Jenkins, Youth Leadership Board Member, Duluth, MN

My experiences designing and prototyping at Design Day are influenced by a supportive community where teamwork is the main focus, and we collaborate with each other to think of ways to better our current projects. GripTape shares the opportunity for youth to be in the driver’s seat of their own learning and creates a foundation that can give stability to our future paths.

Throughout my time with GripTape, I have seen the sustained support our youth have given each other, our community, and ourselves. We choose what we want to learn and accomplish these goals by executing them in the ways we want to achieve them. We have big imaginations, and we are simply there to show each other that we are capable of anything!

GripTape 2018 New Findings and Learnings
Just released!
New data answering the question — what happens AFTER GripTape?

  • 97% of youth stopped ignoring learning opportunities
  • 94% decided it was up to them to own their learning
  • 84% practicing new leadership
  • Off the chart use of skills

 

One GripTape Challenger noted …

[N]ow when I make a mistake, I realize if I try to fix it, it’s okay. It’s really important that I go back and try to fix a mistake because before I would shut down and get angry. Now I’m able to take advice, reflect, and learn and improve.    

A Challenger’s father observed that …

The opportunity and experience and interacting with other people, people not telling her what to do, but other people thinking through things with her … was good for her and her self-development … what she has heard from others has helped her to be self-aware.