E MPLOY E E NE W SL E T T E R
S E P T E MB E R 2013
Clockwise from left: the boys and counselors after completing a service project in Victor, a view of downtown Chicago, and an evening fireside at the camp in Victor.
Chicago Urban Studies tour a success for young men, BYU-Idaho students » By Matt Urick
During the Summer Session, 12 BYU-Idaho students had the opportunity to participate as counselors in the Chicago Urban Studies tour. The program spanned two weeks in August and involved 36 young men from inner city Chicago. Grover Wray and Steven Hay, both instructors in the Department of Social Work, supervised the program. The counselors spent four days in Chicago getting a taste of the culture and then spent the rest of their time at a camp in Victor, Idaho. The camp was set up and designed for the young men from dusk until dawn and was full of daily activities, including fly-fishing and swimming. Ciara Cornejo, one of the counselors and a senior in the social work program, taught the young men about dating etiquette. She said they learned the importance of being gentlemen and how they should always treat women with respect.
Each morning everyone would wake up early and participate in a flag ceremony at 7:30. Following that they would have breakfast and then begin their daily activities. The counselors were responsible for creating an activity they would be in charge of sometime during the 10 days at camp. Activities ranged from a music appreciation course to making survival bracelets. The young men would rotate activity stations throughout their day in order to accommodate all 36 of them.
By the end of this experience, these boys became my role models. C I A R A C O R N E J O, C A M P C O U N S E LO R
“I feel this experience allowed the boys and me to rejuvenate ourselves from the world and feed our spirits,” Cornejo said. “I look at life very differently now and am very humbled when I think of my life and all the blessings I have.”
The camp provided an opportunity for the young men to learn and grow not only physically, but also spiritually and socially as well. The counselors described it as instilling a renewed sense of hope and confidence in the young men.
“I really enjoyed just communicating with the boys,” said Erik Barrus, a senior studying social work. “I spoke with one boy for hours about life, God, goals, and of course girls.” Every evening the young men, the counselors, and the faculty advisors would gather around a fire and would conduct a fireside. They would share experiences that have helped them grow continued on page 6 S E P T E M B E R 2 013
Get Connected helps new students make successful transition to BYU-Idaho » By Caleb Trujillo
BYU-Idaho opens its doors to thousands of new students each September. The process of getting to know new friends, buildings, surroundings, and opportunities can be daunting. Get Connected is a program that is specifically designed to assist incoming freshmen and transfer students in these issues and many more. “All of Get Connected is built around the Disciple Leadership Model,” said Kim Clinger, First-year Experience Coordinator for Student Support. This semester’s Get Connected was staffed by 350 student volunteers who gave four days of their time to ensure the new students had a great experience. Among those 350 students are council members, mentors, I-Reps and I-Team leaders. Those who serve on the Get Connected council spend months planning the next semester’s event. Mentors train I-Reps and I-Team leaders, who are responsible for 25-30 new students. To help prepare for the service they provide, the volunteers participated in Spirit Conference, a twoday event filled with workshops, trainings, and team building activities. “Spirit Conference is like the MTC before the mission,” said Anthony Hernandez, Student Support Area Director. “It is an event in which we all work together toward one centered goal of serving others. Never have I participated in something so closely related to my mission than Get Connected. You forget about yourself and focus completely on the new students.” For the first time since Get Connected was launched, President’s Council took an active role in the event. On Move-in Day, Friday, September 13, members of President’s Council were scattered throughout campus, personally answering questions for parents and new students. This service was helpful, and President’s Council members plan to be involved in future Get Connected events. Move-in Day concluded with a new student talent show and social held in the Hart Auditorium and BYU-Idaho Center. 2
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Get Connected also provided new students the opportunity to explore campus. I-Team leaders guided their new students throughout campus, introducing them to key academic and student services. These tours allowed students to ask any questions and familiarize themselves with various parts of campus. Another large component of Get Connected is I-Night, a fourhour bash filled with games, food, prizes, and socializing. I-Night is open to the entire student body and typically is held the night before classes start. Inflatable games, karaoke, dancing, and a mechanical bull were among the many activities offered in this semester’s I-Night. “We had a successful event this semester, serving more than 4,000 students,” said Vanessa Hawkes, I-Night Coordinator for Get Connected. “Of course, this could not have happened without our committee and volunteers. A lot of the preparation that goes into the event is finding the right games to play, and looking for volunteers to help run the games and activities.” Ultimately, the main goal of Get Connected is to help make that first step into a new environment a smooth one. It is a service that benefits all who participate, from students and parents to the volunteers who make it all happen. “I feel that the best thing about Get Connected is the impact it has on both the volunteers and new students,” said Kevin Dewey, student director of Get Connected. “Through our program, volunteers get to experience the happiness of serving others. They put their lives on hold for four days and totally focus on serving their fellow students. They experience the joy of the Savior because they are doing what He would do if He were here: to comfort the new students. It is also a great blessing to see the impact this program has on those new students. When you see them catching the vision of this university, when you see them making friendships and serving each other, and when you see them start to feel at home here, you can’t help but feel true joy.”
Home & Family Development instructor researches nature education » By Paul Morgan
Returning from her semester fellowship leave, faculty member Lynette Robertson rejoined campus with an abundance of ideas and well-researched concepts designed to strengthen and expand the current curriculum of the Department of Home and Family Development.
such as England, Germany, and Denmark. The manual constructed by Robertson, acts as an informational guide to faculty helping to emphasize why nature education is important, and how the importance of outdoor experiences could be better taught to students and implemented into the Child Labs.
During her leave Robertson conducted extensive research into nature education for children. The movement advocates an increase in children’s exposure to nature as a core element of their learning process.
Within her manual Robertson explores and identifies the many ways in which children can be helped to develop greater social, cognitive, physical, emotional, and even spiritual skills through exposure to more nature based activities.
Through this exposure to the natural beauty that is found all around us, children are more able to develop imperative life skills in a healthy and organic way. The research compiled by Robertson demonstrates many unquestionable benefits that derive from such practices.
While the Department of Home and Family Development provides several wonderful outdoor apparatuses and custom made natural features for children to use, Robertson believes that introducing more opportunities for the children to be outside will foster social development and their ability to learn and grow.
“There is a growing concern that children are not spending enough time outdoors,” Robertson said. “A lot of children seem to becoming more disconnected with their natural environment. Nature education is vital to children’s optimal development.” From her research Robertson was able to formulate ideas and construct a manual that outlines many of the significant elements of nature education for children that can be integrated into the current syllabus to assist children in their development. Nature education is a growing movement here in the United States, with many of its roots stemming from ideas and practices formulated and implemented in several European countries
“Environment is essential to the nature education model. Children need to have grass, rocks, some kind of water feature or a garden, something to climb on and something to build with,” she said. The overall healthy development and nurturing of children who attend the preschool and labs on offer here at BYU-Idaho is the department’s primary objective. By cultivating and implementing the numerous ideas put forth by Robertson, the Department of Home and Family Development can more proficiently increase and strengthen the already present emphasis on nature education.
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The Build program helps students both as volunteer teachers and as recipients of help.
Students finding new ways to serve academically through Build program » By Paul Morgan
After some additional refinement and the development of a new website this summer, the Build program is ready to be fully implemented. Administered by the Academic Support Centers, the Build program is a unique platform designed to enable students at BYU-Idaho the ability to engage in academic service opportunities. Initially conceived by President Kim B. Clark in 2010, the Build program has gone from strength to strength until it has finally come to fruition under the Academic Support team at the hand of Spencer Taylor, Academic Service Coordinator, who has been working to enhance the program. The Build program represents a multioffice collaborative effort. Although still in its infancy the program has already helped thousands of students both as volunteer teachers and recipients of much needed help. The program is sustained by and focused on student volunteers. The main objectives of the Build program are to provide meaningful academic service opportunities for student volunteers, and allow them to become involved in experiences that will perpetuate both their growth and the growth of their peers. Service opportunities currently available to students include: Volunteer Tutoring, 4
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Speaking Partners, Gateway Seminars, Advertising Council and Project $2k. Within each of these aspects of the Build program students are encouraged to facilitate the learning of others and provide essential help where it is needed. The Build program captures the essence and value of the Learning Model and provides a safe environment that
Ultimately I believe that this program can grow to where there are thousands of student volunteers actively involved. S P E N C E R TAY LO R , AC A D E M I C S E RV I C E C O O R D I NATO R
encourages academic improvement and accomplishment as well as personal development. It allows students to improve themselves in numerous capacities and enhances their skills as teachers and leaders. It also promotes discipleship and reaching out to help those around us. “I think the language that I speak is a gift from Heavenly Father and it is something
I want to share with others, especially those who want to obtain that gift,” said Benjamin Salazar, a student from Cypress, California. “If I have the opportunity to help them get a little closer to getting better at that gift it is a win-win for both of us. I get to share my talent. They get to improve theirs.” The tutoring element of the Build program currently consists of several subject specific drop-in centers including: physics, chemistry, and Foundation science courses, as well as conversation centers that focus on languages taught at BYU-Idaho. The centers are led by student volunteers and overseen by the Academic Support Center. Each session takes place on campus between 4:30 -7:30 p.m. utilizing available evening space. The Build program embodies the Spirit of Ricks as it urges all those involved to reach out in service and fellowship to others. As the Build program continues to expand, its organizers welcome the opportunity to work with other departments on campus. “Ultimately I believe that this program can grow to where there are thousands of student volunteers actively involved,” said Taylor. For more information regarding the Build program and how to get involved contact Spencer Taylor at taylors@byui. edu.
Automotive student places at national championship » By Caleb Trujillo
One of BYU-Idaho’s most successful programs added to its accomplishments over the summer. Ray Ricks, a student studying Automotive Technology, placed fourth in the 2013 SkillsUSA Championships, a contest designed for career and technical automotive students. The 2013 SkillsUSA Championships were held in Kansas City, MO from June 24-28 and hosted over 15,000 people including students, teachers, and businesses. Ricks, from Pocatello, represented not only the university, but also the state of Idaho. To qualify for this honor, Ricks outperformed all other participating students within the state in preliminary events. The national competition brings representative from each state to compete in a series of practical trials. Over 20,000 students nationwide compete in their respective states’ preliminary events. Major automotive companies, such as Chrysler, Honda, and Ford are on hand to set up stations of mock diagnostics areas. Written exams and safety and professionalism are also accounted for in the final results. Ricks is not the first BYU-Idaho student to achieve such success. Over the past eight years, six of the program’s students have won the state competition and gone on to finish in the top 10 in the SkillsUSA Championships. As exciting as these competitions are, there is much more that the Automotive Technology Program is focusing on. “The automotive program and degrees offered here are a great blessing,” said Ricks. “Here is the chance for students to get a bachelor’s degree, while still doing something they really enjoy.
There is a great level of customization for you minor or emphasis that allows you to gain additional experience in areas that aren’t available in a conventional two-year automotive degree. This experience allowed me to go this competition. It was an awesome experience to be able to compete at a national level and be able to bring my family with me. This past summer I was also given the opportunity to work in the Detroit area doing an internship that I never would have found without the resources and staff that are here in the BYU-Idaho Automotive Technology Program.” The Automotive Technology Program has put a strong emphasis on career development. The program enjoys a 100 percent job placement rate, which is greatly attributed to connections with university alumni and expeditions. “We are making every possible effort to focus our students on their future careers,” said Justin Miller, instructor for Automotive Technology. “The courses taken here are, of course, very important, but we always want our students learning with an eye toward the future. Each semester we receive many requests for our students to fill internships and full-time positions.” With increasing technology and demand, the automotive industry is opening doors of new-look employment opportunities. “A lot of the time people hear ‘automotive technology’ and think of mechanics, but it’s more than that. There are employment opportunities in research and development, automotive computer systems, and many more exciting fields” said Josh Tollefson, instructor for Automotive Technology. “We’ve placed many of our students in such areas all around the country and look to continue that trend into the future.”
BYU-Idaho’s Automotive Technology Program enjoys a 100 percent job placement rate.
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Chicago Urban Studies: continued from page 1
and mature, as well as testimonies gained from reading the scriptures and serving one another. Many said the evening fireside was the highlight of every day. It wasn’t out of the ordinary to not find a dry eye in the whole place. “These boys faced so many hardships on a daily basis and I never heard them complain about their circumstances,” Cornejo said. “They have so much potential, I was so impressed with their aspirations and love for the Lord.” In some ways many of the counselors thought the experience had a much bigger impact on them than it did on the young men. “This experience was as worthwhile for me as it was for the boys because I developed long lasting friendships and I grew so much as a person,” Cornejo said. All of the counselors said they had a difficult time saying goodbye to the boys. After spending nearly two weeks together they grew closer than any of them expected. “This camp gave me the opportunity to help these boys and build relationships that I hope will last,” Barrus said. Reggie Radford, who was mentioned in a previous News & Notes profile of the program and is one of its success stories, recently completed his first year of college at BYU-Idaho. He also received his mission call to Brazil and will be leaving in November. The hope for this program is that it will continue to inspire and motivate young men just like Reggie—to instill in them the knowledge that they have great potential and can achieve anything if they put their minds to it. “The thing that humbled me the most was how strong these boys were,” Barrus said. “They have to deal with so much adversity in Chicago day in and day out, yet they have such strong testimonies. I saw the boys do as the Savior would, they would go out of their way to help each other, giving of their time and love to one another.” “By the end of this experience, these boys became my role models,” Cornejo said. “They taught me that life is what you make of it.”
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All-Employee Meeting and Q&A SUBMIT AND VOTE ON QUESTIONS TO BE ASKED DURING OCTOBER 3 EVENT
An All-Employee Meeting and Q&A will be held on Thursday, October 3 at 2 p.m. in the Taylor Chapel. You’re invited to submit questions in advance by posting them in the comment section of a special post on the Employee Blog. If you see a question in the comment thread that you’d like President’s Executive Group to answer during the Q&A, click the “Like” button next to the question. Questions that receive the most “likes” will be answered first during the meeting. To find the Employee Blog, login to my.byui.edu and look for the link on the left under “Communication Resources.” All questions will be answered, so any item PEG isn’t able to address during the meeting will be responded to later on the blog. President Clark and the vice presidents will also take questions from those in attendance during the meeting.
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