THE FACILITATOR DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME WAS WHAT I NEED
INTERVIEW WITH AARON BENT, FACILITATOR DEVELOPMENT GRADUATE AND CO-FACILITATOR FOR THE L&E PROGRAMME
Aaron first met Leap over three years ago when he joined the Facilitator Development Programme – a three-month training for young people and/or youth volunteers to gain a facilitated design workshop qualification. Read on, to learn more about Aaron’s story and journey with Leap.
I am currently finishing off my Theology degree and live outside of London, but at the time when I first came across Leap and their work in 2019, I lived in South London where I worked on a playscheme project on the Tulse Hill Estate. I loved the role and opportunity to work with children and young people. A fellow colleague, who at the time was also finishing up Facilitated Development Programme (FDP) recommend the programme to me and said I would be a good candidate for the second round of recruitment. At the time I remember thinking I wanted to find purpose in my work and was interested in finding something that would help me connect with my passions. It seemed like FDP was a great fit, so I went on the website, checked the organisation, the people and I liked what Leap stood for and applied.
“LEAP’S WORK IS INFORMATIVE, ENGAGING AND FUN. IT IS THAT ‘FUN’ ELEMENT THAT REALLY DROVE HOME THE LEARNING FOR ME. I WAS ABLE TO CONNECT WITH THE WORK, I FELT IT APPLIED TO MY LIFE AND WAS CHALLENGING ME PERSONALLY – ENCOURAGING ME TO BECOME A BETTER PERSON, TO GROW AND TO CHANGE.”
For those three months, the best way I can describe the experience was that I was a balloon that went pop. Some days, the content of the sessions made me emotional and was difficult to adjust to. When I look back I think my own understanding to conflict was slightly naïve. My expectations was that I was going on this training to become a better facilitator, but in fact when I learnt about myself was that I was masking a lot of pain and would hide behind a smile or making jokes. My biggest take away, aside being more confident and learning new technique, is that to better handle conflict in the world, I first had to learn how to handle conflict with myself. On the days when the content was less emotionally charged, I was learning so many new techniques and taking it all in. Facilitation was not new to me, as I had experience of leading young men small groups at my church, but Leap trainer’s style of delivery was totally different. I felt like I needed to step up my game. The way they introduced games, communicated – was fun yet so informative. I had never experience anything so informative and yet fun at the same time.
Since completing the programme, I have gone on to become a co-facilitator for the Leadership and Enterprise programme and have had the opportunity to work alongside other Leap trainers. It is so surreal to have been trained by Clifton and Rachel and now I get to work alongside them and deliver workshops. So far, I have co-facilitated online delivery with young group from Snowcamp and also the next cohort of FDP participants for 2021. I really do believe in the work and want to continue as a young trainer. I am interested to see where it takes me.
Aaron is a poet and often creates original pieces for charitable events and is known to give a radio interview. If you are interested in connecting with Aaron, follow him YouTube.