Nearly four weeks into the program, changes in the overall atmosphere can be noted: the youth are becoming creative with their questions and feel comfortable with me and their peers. An open and encouraging environment has allowed the connections between the entire group to feel personal to the point where we are actively enjoying each other’s company. Though the youth are learning, much time has been spent in team development and getting the participants to understand each other more than they did when they began. I considered on doing this purposefully, as I remember a community building program I participated in high school, where we got to understand each other on a personal level. Introducing the youth to how their peers may differ in either background or just personal perspectives earlier in their lives will help them prepare for the diversity of thought to be expected in their professional and personal lives as they develop.
It’s interesting to me, how something like teaching a course on improving health has led to a tangent on understanding the people in the room. I think that, by teaching the importance of understanding the diversity of the people around them, they can develop an appreciation for how different ideologies, meal plans and exercise plans can help benefit them as well. It seems a bit far fetched, I would imagine, but not as much as you would think. By explaining, for example, how a meal low in protein and high in processed foods, sugar and general junk is different than a meal full of whole foods, lean meats, vegetables and fruits, they can appreciate the diversity of types of meal plans, and how different plans yield different physiological effects that ultimately affect how we feel and perceive the environment we are in.