As you think about your experience with the Studio to School learning community:
• How has the learning community impacted your project, organization, school, or community (your choice)? How do you think it might shape your work going forward?
The primary impact of the learning community has been on the project team itself, especially at Fishtrap. Staff have formed friendships with several members of learning team organizations, and see them as resources for inspiration and possible future collaborations.
• What has been the most useful aspect for you? Is there a particular topic, event, or activity from a previous meeting or rendezvous that stands out to you as especially impactful?
From the team’s perspective, I think two things stand out. The 2016 Rendezvous session with Steve Patty still resonates, with one staffer calling it “mind-blowing.” The gang came back from that rendezvous charged up about possibilities and eager to share with the rest of the team.
The second, once we got over the shock, was learning how to create and actually use a logic model. The OCF staff was especially patient as we struggled through, taking lots of time both in person and over the phone to walk us through the process. Understanding how to thoughtfully create the model really caused us all to look at how we think about youth programs long term. It had the added benefit of being an excellent communication piece for our community partners, board, and funders.
• What has been most challenging for you? What do you wish OCF did differently, or would do differently when developing learning communities like this in the future?
Our remote location and small size caused most of our challenges. I think OCF tried very hard to accommodate the geographical issues, but it continued to be a problem. We had two teams cancel visits to the county to view our programming. We were not able to participate in one of the leadership team meetings due to weather, and arrangements for remote access were not reliable. There was only one gathering in five years that was less than a 3-hour drive. This, combined with our small staff (both school and arts org) meant that off-site meetings were a major effort and had a big impact on work on the home front.