This summer, Roger became the third Imagine Scholar student to work as a counselor at Camp Caldera. Camp Caldera empowers underserved youths through innovative, year-round art and environmental programs in Oregon, USA. The program places a special emphasis on individual creativity and self-expression and works to foster a safe space for young people as they define their personal identities within the realm of their lives, their families, and their communities.
Rodger’s traveled to Oregon to build personal and professional skills as a young leader and mentor to younger students. He recounts his experiences below.
Author: Rodger Chinhangue
Caldera is a unique artistic world created inside the real world we live in. It’s a home of ecstasies because students, artists, and everyone become who they dream of without worrying about the outside world. From camp names to being equipped, and empowered to create art from inspirations, students explore nature and create a connection between art and the natural world. It is a medium for self-exploration, safety, and growth for young people.
The beauty of the location is irresistible. The lake, forest and the river provide a spiritual connection with nature, that makes you drop all your electronics, disconnect the internet and appreciate mother nature.
As most of my inspirations come from my fellow Imagine Scholars. My friends Mandisa and Thenjiwe went to Caldera last year and when they told me about it, I couldn’t believe such a place existed. It was an honour when Corey offered me to go since I didn’t have plans for my summer break. After getting more information from them, I decided that this was an opportunity I would love to explore.
The passion from all the staff was rare and special. Considering all the differences the students came from, it is amazing how everyone was very caring and responsible for every student, on every session without losing their energy in the entire 6 weeks. The staff regardless of how old by age they were, they still carried an attitude that made a 10-year-old to not feel the age gap in between, and express themselves freely. It was amazing to witness that!
Since I was a junior advocate, I learned to be a professional.
My biggest take away was how to look at the organizations’ objectives, consider the age and background of people I am working with, and use that to build an environment that will be inclusive and comfortable to everyone.
I enhanced my team work skills by working under a supervisor this time and this changed my perspective of team work. Instead of working together in generating ideas, we were mostly told on what needs to be done and what is expected from us, all we had to do was to collaborate and unify to collectively get tasks done.
Part of my gap year will involve working with the youth and these skills will be essential when working with youth from different places. I recently ran a theatre workshop for students in Vanadzor, Armenia. I used the skills I learned from staff training at caldera to prepare my workshop, like using youth culture and it was amazing how engaged and effective it turned out. While going forward volunteering and working with people, I feel more aided and equipped with start-up experience now.
During the summer of 2017, Imagine Scholar Justice Masinge traveled to Yale University’s main campus in New Haven, Connecticut to participate in the prestigious Yale Young Global Scholars program. This intensive two-week course brings exceptional young leaders from across the globe together to take a deep dive into one of 6 unique concepts.
Justice’s program focused on Sustainable Development & Social Entrepreneurship, examining innovative solutions to the world’s greatest challenges relating to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Author: Justice Masinge
The Yale Young Global Scholars Program is more than just about the educational lectures, seminars and capstone projects; it is an environment for personal growth through learning from different people from all around the world.
Walking around the Yale campus was like traveling around the world by foot in a few minutes, I would see people from Ghana, The United States of America, South Korea, Brazil, Russia, Dubai, Pakistan and many other countries.
I really admire the importance of learning about some else’s life, their cultures, traditions, beliefs and values!
The biggest part of the application process was the essay writing part! I wrote about a thousand drafts before it was ready to submit. The essays had personal questions, so they really helped me to reflect on myself and really question myself: who am I? Where do I come from? And where am I heading!
I still have them in my Google drive so that I can read them whenever I want to for inspiration. I was so excited when I was accepted because Allan, another Imagine Scholar, was also accepted; we applied together and we both got accepted! I had never traveled to the northern part of the world, so I was very eager to meet new people and learn as much as I could from their lives ways of life.
Meeting different people from a lot of countries was incredible. I learned a lot about their cultures and how they are different from what I am used to. I have learned that one of the most important things about traveling is meeting many interesting people and learning from their life stories. I also really loved the Speaker Series, this was a space for any of the students to share cool projects they are working on in their communities!
I was inspired to continue with many community projects as well, because I know that there are other young people across the world who are doing the same too.
The lectures taught me to be open minded but also to be inquisitive and curious. The seminars really challenged my critical thinking skills, and my writing skills got better from the capstone projects. I have become much more empowered to be involved in community projects to help develop my community in any way possible.
I will be interning at Imagine Scholar next year, starting from January to August; I have made big plans for the chess club which I have started at school. I will apply all that I have learned for my chess club; for instance, one of the lectures I attended was on how to give constructive and appreciative feedback to help people improve. I will definitely use this knowledge to help my chess students to improve their chess game.
Zinzi Nsingwana, Imagine Scholar graduate and MasterCard Foundation scholarship recipient, attends the Early Connection Africa program at Rochester University to prepare for life at university.
Author: Adelaide Columnas (Quotes: Zinzi Nsingwana)
The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program is a unique opportunity that provides access to resources for secondary and tertiary education for ambitious young Africans who wish to give back to their respective communities in a meaningful way. Recipients of the scholarship attend a summer college orientation program at Rochester University, the Early Connection Africa program, in order to prepare them to transition into university.
“Going to Rochester for college orientation was the best way to spend summer break because it was a chance for me to experience a whole different environment, and I also got a chance to experience a month of back to back assignments and tests. Hopefully college is like that, because I am ready.”
The program not only highlights the academic components of university life, but also serves to prepare students for cross-cultural collaboration. Youths from numerous countries in Africa are given a change to connect and discuss change in their own dynamic communities.
“It felt great to get such an opportunity, and it was an experience that I will forever be grateful to have had. It was very inspiring because I met a lot of students who are also young leaders in their communities. They had a lot of interesting ideas to share and explore. It felt like I was in a room with all these future leaders and we had all the ingredients and tools to improve Africa [. . .] We talked about issues that Africans face and we derived solutions, and initiated projects that we could implement.”
Such an inspiring and energetic space to unite and share ideas has fueled Zinzi’s drive and hopes for a brighter future for youth in the African continent.
“I am really grateful for the experience; it made me want to push myself to give everything I do my best effort – because that might be the only chance I get to do something. My only wish is to see every child in Africa learning and coming together with other children to change and improve the continent.”
Upon further reflection, Zinzi recalls the program being a transformational experience that fostered a new-found excitement for university.
“Experiences either shape or break people, but my Rochester experience sure did shape me. After going through the summer program, I think my mindset about a lot of things has shifted. For the first time in my life, I knew what I wanted to do… what I wanted to study and how I plan on making it through college, and it was the best feeling ever.”
Zinzi plans on focusing her studies in business management. As she embarks on a new chapter of her life at the African Leadership University in Mauritius, she goes in confident and prepared, embracing the possibilities of what the future holds for her.
Saneliswe entered Imagine Scholar as a Grade 9 in 2015. Since then she has grasped every opportunity to foster not only her academic skills, but also the personal qualities that she values most of all: kindness, humility, and empathy. Moreover, she has been able to explore her passion for Marine Biology.
Inspired by stories of students attending events abroad as part of their training at Imagine Scholar, Sanelisiwe decided to apply to the Yale Young Global Scholars program. This selective, interdisciplinary program identifies and gathers the next generation of young leaders. Accepted into the program in early 2016, Sanelisiwe found herself on a flight to Beijing, en route for what she describes as the most meaningful experience of her life!
“Imagine Scholar is a family. It’s a place where I get to be myself, to grow as a better individual and to be supported in the positive things I do.” – Sanelisiwe
The program involved history classes in the morning and skill development workshops in the afternoon. Guest speakers came from all over the world to discuss the history of China. During these sessions, Sanelisiwe became aware of the different ways in which this subject could be taught. This left her with the conviction that the way history was taught in her school had room for improvement. During the skill development workshops, students would get together in small groups to share ideas and practice skills such as interviewing and writing. She also attended seminars on various themes, such as how big companies approach failure.
The highlights of Sanelisiwe’s trip were making friends with high-achieving youths from all over the world, feeding on their passion for learning, and making useful connections for the future. Grateful for this positive opportunity, Sanelisiwe wishes to give back. After her studies, she hopes to start a program in her community where she could help other young students find their paths in life, through their passions.
Authored by: Mélissa Manglou & Zinzi Nsingwane
BOSTON – Imagine Scholar was named a top 100 finalist for the 7th Annual Classy Awards. The Collaborative is a unique three-day experience that brings together top social innovators from around the world. Each day offers a series of speakers, breakout and interactive sessions, and networking opportunities that culminates in the Classy Awards ceremony. Classy, the world’s leading online fundraising platform for social enterprises, has hosted this event and award ceremony for years in San Diego and has recently expanded the footprint into Boston’s Innovation District for the last two years. This year’s event will take place June 13-15, 2017.
Imagine Scholar offers an alternative approach to combating systemic developmental challenges in rural South Africa. The rigorous academic program is coupled with a humanizing organizational culture that builds character and accountability, and places an emphasis on personal development. Imagine Scholar fosters purpose-driven young leaders and empowers students to become the next generation of advocates for positive change in their communities, South Africa, and beyond.
Imagine Scholar was one of several hundred programs nominated to this year’s Classy Awards and then went on to complete a comprehensive program application.
Finalists were selected based on their scale and scope of the problem, an innovative approach; ability to solve the problem; and organizational effectiveness. From here, 10 winners from the 100 finalists will be chosen by the Leadership Council and announced on stage at the awards ceremony in June.
“The Classy Awards has become one of the top forums for recognizing global social innovation,” said Pat Walsh, Co-Founder and Chief Impact Officer of Classy. “Classy Awards Finalists are pioneering innovative ideas and technologies addressing some of our greatest social problems, and we’re honored to play a role in recognizing their incredible accomplishments.”
The fact is that given the challenges we face, education doesn’t need to be reformed — it needs to be transformed. The key to this transformation is not to standardize education, but to personalize it, to build achievement on discovering the individual talents of each child, to put students in an environment where they want to learn and where they can naturally discover their true passions.” Ken Robinson, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything
Teacher-centered vs. student-centered learning has been a recurrent and lively debate on education forums.
In a traditional teacher-centered model, the instructor is the “imparter of knowledge” while students listen, and are corrected and evaluated on their performance. In a student-centered model, the playing field becomes leveled; the focus is on both the teachers and students. It opens the door to a multitude of possibilities for educational curricula.
Here are 3 main benefits to a student-centered model:
Transitions students from passive to active learners
Empowered students can explore what genuinely interests them and what they are passionate about. They can take ownership of their work and their ideas. It encourages creativity, originality, and responsibility in what they are taking away from their learning experience.
A recognized selling point for student-centered models is that they encourage collaboration. A student-centered model accepts that students have different learning styles and absorb information at different rates. It is open to various styles of learning whether that be in groups or individually.
Opens the door for collaboration and dialogue between the educator and student
Instead of teaching at students, teachers take on the role of a guide or facilitator for students’ learning experiences. Instructors support, encourage, provide feedback, answer questions, ask questions, give suggestions, and challenge.
Imagine Scholar’s uniquely student-driven approach empowers youth to take accountability for their education, and for their future. Each student in the program is encouraged to find what makes them come alive and to follow that passion.