Our Champion community is growing — and we want you to join! Will you support one or two Challengers beginning in June 2018?

All it takes is about 5 hours over 12 weeks to encourage a young person as they pursue their learning passions. Read what GripTape Champion Christine Larusso had to say about the experience:

“I looked forward to each and every meeting with my Challenger. It was inspirational reading her proposal, but watching her discover and deepen her passion for robotics during her journey was a singular experience. Her energy was addictive, and during our calls I was eager to hear about all she was learning and the robot she was building. I consider myself an educator, but I rarely, if ever, get the kind of one-on-one experience with a youth I got as a GripTape Champion. To watch a young person take the seedling of a dream and turn it into a unique, serious educational exploration was invaluable and unlike anything I had ever done.

GripTape Challenger Nyla Conaway wanted to learn about the role of health in children’s lives today.

Location: New Haven, CT
Challenge Title: Physical Health Awareness

The goal of my Learning Challenge was to understand the role that health plays in the lives of children and teenagers. I got to work with small groups of young children and high school teenagers. GripTape allowed me to activate my desire to learn how today’s youth view health. Without their support and help from my Champion, I would have always been curious about how other people my age view health, but I would have never taken action. Along with the information I learned about my actual topic, my learning journey also equipped me with skills that are necessary for my future. I became aware of how crucial it is to be a force for your own learning — you have to be the one who propels the learning.

I am a Youth Leader

The roles and tasks I take on here at GripTape never cease to amaze me. Some people spend years dreaming of teaching, leading, and facilitating, so for me to have the opportunity to do this at the age of 18 is something memorable.

At our first-ever, in-person youth gathering in 2016 — we call them Design Days — I was grouped with two other Youth Leadership Board members, Nate and Abby, and we worked together to figure out what was “up next” for us as an organization. We envisioned a way for young people to remain a part of GripTape beyond their Learning Challenge. And GripCon was conceived!

Even though it was surreal to me, by our fifth Design Day two years later, I was leading creative workshops, working with professional facilitators, and redesigning an idea that we considered “too big” a couple years ago. I am a fan of creativity, therefore creativity had to be at the heart of it. I created games and fun tasks, including the Challenger Chant where we collaborated to create GripCon chants using Bruno Mars’ hit song Finesse. All the hard work and preparation completely paid off, not only because everyone enjoyed it, but because just two years and a Design Day facilitation later, I am proud to announce that GripCon will be launching in summer 2018.

— Nigeria Segure-Watson, Former Challenger, GripTape Youth Leadership Board, and Youth Leader Coordinator

Please share the GripTape Learning Challenge opportunity with 15–19 year old youth who want to pursue a topic they’re passionate about! Applications for our summer Challenge will be open from May 4 to June 3, and we can’t wait to see what the next group of young people wants to learn!

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About GripTape

Grip tape is an anti-slip adhesive used by skateboarders to anchor themselves to their board so they can take control of where they want to go and how they want to get there. GripTape, the organization, gives young people the traction they need to seize control of their own learning, choose their purposes, and achieve their full potential. GripTape is an initiative of the America Achieves accelerator. Learn more at GripTape.org.