On sequential weekends in September, Our Minds Matter hosted two in person student leadership training sessions for OMM clubs located in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. In total, thirty-two student leaders from twenty-one schools participated in these training sessions to build their leadership skills and their knowledge of how to lead OMM club meetings. After the training, 97% of student leaders reported feeling that they gained a sense of support from OMM staff!
The first part of the training consisted of students participating in a “model” club meeting led by OMM Program Team Staff. The meeting started with an opening connection activity called “speed friending,” during which students lined up with a partner and responded to a simple prompt such as “what is your favorite part about your favorite holiday” for sixty seconds. Then partners were rotated to match up and talk to a new person. It was a great way to get to know new faces and names prior to delving into training material. Some students shared that it was a nice way to “dissipate the awkwardness” of being around new people.
Next, students participated in the Dispel Myths activity in small groups to discuss common myths and facts about mental health. Student leader discussion about statements about mental health that are facts and which are myths revealed the stigma surrounding mental health. Students also discussed ways in which their clubs work to reduce this stigma and to normalize the dialogue around mental health and wellness. Some also shared with the group some of their personal experiences or observations about the perception of mental health is like in their homes and communities, bringing awareness to the differences in mental health experiences across this region.
Following, students closed out the model meeting with a mindful closing, consisting of two parts. The first part encouraged students to pass around a ball to share what they are grateful for in general. Many students shared their excitement to be in person with new faces. Others talked about how they are looking forward to cooler weather this fall. Some expressed their gratitude for friends or family in their lives. After a few minutes, the prompt was adapted for students to share what they are grateful for about being a part of the Our Minds Matter movement. This was most impactful to students, as they shared with their new friends and fellow student leaders, what Our Minds Matter means to them and why they choose to be a part of this movement.
Following a short snack break, students were engaged in a discussion about leadership skills that go into effective meeting facilitation. Students discussed how active listening and empathy are integral components of being an OMM student leader and a leader in general. The teens had such great insight into their own personal leadership styles and how they navigate being a club leader while also a friend to their peers.
On their way out, students picked up some gift bags for themselves and their clubs to include materials such as our NEW activity cards, a resource to guide in person club meetings. Oh how the training seemed to fly by so fast!
OMM staff had such a great time meeting all the student leaders who gave OMM a part of their weekend this September. Not only did we appreciate this time in person, but many of our students felt the same as well! Students shared with us that they were excited to connect with other students and clubs after a long hiatus from in person club meetings and events. 97% of students reported feeling more confident in being a leader after attending this training. We couldn’t be more confident in our student leaders and the change they will be making in their schools this year. We look forward to more opportunities to support your clubs this semester and beyond!