Village Pioneer: Expanding Operations
The Village Pioneer Program is expanding, and this year has already been active in six youth villages. This is an organizational, pedagogical and educational model that encompasses the entire youth village.
Village Pioneer – The educational leadership program – was born of the Educational Pioneer Program. The program was launched about two years ago in three youth village schools. In order to implement a democratic culture in the village and create a common educational language, this activity takes place throughout the entire village: farming and agriculture, personal care sector, maintenance and operations department, school and boarding school. We are currently working in six youth villages.
Youth villages have many “departments.” Like other complex organizations, these villages also have to deal with the need to combine forces and create a uniform pedagogic language that makes intelligent use of the village’s human resources – both those that handle the technical aspects of daily life and those that instill values in its inhabitants.
The Pioneers Are Back!
The Pioneer Program strives to have “pioneers” in the boarding school, agriculture and farming sectors and the school itself work together as one, to build a community. This soon results in pioneers leading, establishing and volunteering for projects, and the work they do together only strengthens the sense of community throughout the village. These projects range from publishing a youth village schedule to pamphlets or newsletters about what’s going on around the village. This way, none of the pioneers ever feel alone, they are always part of a community that takes into account all village employees and students.
The village management team is also transformed and starts to work as one, establishing clear personal and shared goals. Village administrators may, for example, have a vision for the village as they believe it should be in a few years and we help them realize this dream. In another village, administrators may seek to develop a performance assessment model or human resources evaluation model, and we help them implement such models.
Just Another Workday
One of the villages decided to recharacterize the workday, as it was traditionally viewed from time immemorial. The questions they asked: what is the meaning of a workday nowadays? How does it connect between all village sectors? How can we make the children feel that it is also theirs and not just there to fulfill village needs? This led to various developments. “A Taste of Village Life” is a day where kids host visitors from outside the village, give them a tour of the facilities, serve them food that they made themselves, and more. Another village started a pedagogic meeting to enhance and professionalize the work done in the boarding school and connect it with the work done in the school. These changes are borne of a holistic approach and take into account all village activities.
In Constant Motion
The model we employ is always developing and growing thanks to the wonderful experiences that take place in the villages. The project was started in September 2016. This year we operated in six youth villages: Yemin Orde, Ayanot, Ben Shemen, Desert Stars, The Israel Goldstein Youth Village, and Aloney Yitzchak. All made possible with the cooperation of the Rural Education Administration and the generous donations of Carasso Motors Fund.
DI is no longer operating the program due to ownership changes. Nevertheless, it left behind new spirit of participatory tools that is still implemented by the professional teams leading the villages whom we worked with.