Thursday, October 2, 2014

Day 2: Parent & Student Involvement #DisneyYouth #Gifted #Write31Days

***This post assumes that you have already read the Day 1 post: 31 Days of Disney Youth Programs for Gifted Students.
If you have not read that post yet, suggest that you start with the Day 1 post , as it covers the Kick Off, Overview, and Resource related to Disney Youth Programs. 

Day 2's post: Parent & Student Involvement, is written from the standpoint that you have decided to put a relatively small group together, composed of gifted students from a homeschool co-op, a school's gifted program or and enrichment club, or possibly an organization related to gifted students (such as N.A.G.C., Mensa or The Davidson Institute). 

The best way to get things going and to make everyone who plans to go to one of Disney's Youth Programs is to get everyone involved.
If you are the person spearheading this effort, you might have to start putting committees together that make sense for you and your group. Each group should consist of both adults and children, as it is key for children to have an active part in the entire process. Children should not have token roles, but rather, they should play a very vital, active role in their respective committee roles.

Some Ideas for Committees:

Disney Youth Programs Introductory Presentation Committee
Researches specific Disney Youth Programs, analyzes which one(s) best meets your group's needs, and puts an introductory presentation together

Fundraising Committee
Brainstorms possible fundraisers that will go towards the group's efforts, then forms and shares an action plan for the fundraiser(s), and then, carries out the fundraisers. This committee will also need to look into what fundraisers are viable in your community. For example, some places have rules and regulations regarding bake sales, gift baskets, and homemade items (such as homemade soaps or candles). See what you are allowed to do within your community.

Grants Committtee
Researches possible grant sources from various foundations who may have a vested interest in sponsoring an educational opportunity for a group of gifted students.They also might help to pull information that will support the grant proposal, such as statistics related to gifted students, or specifics that connect your group to whatever foundation you plan to contact. Some foundations have specific procedures in place with respect to R.F.P.s (Requests for Proposals). Some have certain deadlines for grant proposals, some have certain restrictions on who can submit a proposal or what the grant money may be used for with respect to your group. If you are unsure of how the Grant Proposal process works, you may want to contact one of the Foundation Center Libraries and ask them if they have any pointers for your group.
It is best to try to find local foundations and organizations with a track record of giving money to a program such as the one that you and your group have envisioned. Check to see if your specific city or county has a Community Foundation and contact them to see if they have any suggestions for your group with respect to funding your program.

Sunshine Committee
Focuses on PR and manners. Prepares press releases so that your local community will see all of the great things that your group is doing to raise funds, as well as to increase local community awareness with respect to the need for equity and excellence in educational opportunities for gifted learners and how going to a Disney Youth Program not only meets but exceeds these needs.  This committee makes sure that there are thank you notes sent that are written by the children in your group. People who help your group to make attending a Disney Youth Program a reality should be thanked. In addition to sending thank you notes to various foundations, local businesses, relatives who help to pay for the program, etc., suggest that this committee works on sending follow up thank you notes to various Disney Youth staff and to the Travel Agency that you decide to use. Pretty much anyone that has helped your group at any point along the way should be thanked.

Travel Agency Liaison Committee
Highly suggest that you work with an approved Disney travel agency. I plan to have a friend and guest blogger speak to this topic this month, as she has suggestions for you related to this.
Disney approved travel agencies know what they are doing...they know what to do to ensure that your group gets amazing rates, has insurance in place if a student gets ill and cannot attend the program.
Disney approved travel agencies know everything about Disney are worth their weight in gold! They will eliminate any potential headaches with respect to changes, special needs, accommodations that will work best for your group, etc. Some people have the misconception that using a travel agency will make it more expensive for you and your agencies by and large will receive their money from the businesses they support, not from you and your group.
Note: If you wish to have young children serve on this committee, suggest that you have them make up brochures for your group about your trip. Would leave the actual collaborating with the travel agencies primarily up to adults, but if your students are old enough that they can collaborate with the travel agencies, then by all means, encourage them to do so!

Special Needs Committee
This is up to how your group feels about confidentiality for your group, but ideally, there should be a committee that oversees the Special Needs of your group. Every adult and child should be made aware of special needs such as food allergies, or health issues that might come into play during your Disney Youth program. For example, peanut allergies are huge! Every single person who goes with your group should know if you have a person in your group with peanut / tree nut allergy. Same with Juvenile Diabetes. If you have a child in your group who is diabetic, everyone in your group should know to keep an eye on that child if the child seems to get tired or complains of being hungry.  This group may need to work at not only sharing the information with respect to special needs of your group; they also may need to educate others within the group so that people know what to do in case something comes up that calls for action. This group should consist mostly of adults although the children with special needs should be encouraged to share about their special needs with the help of a parent or guardian.

Travel Games Committee 
Comes up with activities to do while heading to and from Disney.

Educational Tie-Ins Committee
Researches, compiles, and creates  pre- and post-Disney Youth Programs educational activities.
The Disney Youth Website has several already created for you with respect to educational tie ins.
Over the course of this month, I will share vaarious educational tie-in ideas, resources, and links to resources with you, so stay tuned...

Swag Committee
Works on designing and / or purchasing swag for your group, such as t-shirts, hats, etc.

Any Other Committee of Your Choosing!
Works on whatever other component your group can think of that has not already been mentioned.
This is about doing what makes sense for your group so if your group thinks it needs a committee to handle something, then go for it! Everyone who is a stakeholder in the educational opportunity of a lifetime should give their two cents. Everyone should be encouraged to be active participants in the process.
Perhaps your group is affiliated with a particular denomination, religion, etc. Your group might want a committee that handles issues related to your group's religious beliefs.

Disney Youth Programs are great even if your group decided to not do one thing to feel connected to it.
If every person from your group showed up and were rude bumps on a log, everyone would still leave learning some really cool stuff. But if your group decides to instead embrace Disney Youth Programs and the entire Disney experience as a whole as an amazing opportunity, and to play an active role, your group's experience will be so rich.
Such an awesome opportunity for a group of passionately curious and intellectually talented! Being plugged in before, during, and after actually attending the Disney Youth Program will make memories for all that will last a lifetime!

Well, hope that this post is helpful! Hope that you will share it on Social Media and that you will want to come back for the rest of the 31 Day Series on Disney Youth Programs for Gifted Students. 

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We are happy to announce our gifted pilot program starting Fall of 2014!

We are happy to announce our gifted pilot program starting Fall of 2014!
***This program is for residents of Florida only...

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More Gifted Program Details!
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