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Local Connections - USA => Mid-Atlantic => Topic started by: Jon Hurst on June 02, 2008, 11:05:16 AM

Title: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Jon Hurst on June 02, 2008, 11:05:16 AM
The week of August 11th, I'm going to be a counselor at "Camp Agape", a week long camp for children (ages 10-12) with incarcerated parents. This camp is run by the Episcopal diocese of Easton and will take place at Camp Mardela in Denton, MD.

The question is this: Would anyone like to run a 2-3 hour or 4-6 hour (morning and afternoon) session similar to Jump Westminster? I'm envisioning this session working on conditioning, balance, philosophy, etc. These kids have pretty rough lives, so I'd like to introduce them to parkour as a way to motivate them to grow as individuals and look at the obstacles in their lives as opportunities rather than problems.

I'd love to help with this session, but I don't want to run it because I don't feel confident enough in my own abilities related to parkour or physical education for kids this age.
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Sam Slater on June 03, 2008, 07:56:49 AM
Let me check my schedule, but I'd be interested in helping in anyway I can.  Even if I can't get off work, I'd love to help you set it up, plan curriculum, etc.
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Soldier on June 04, 2008, 04:00:10 PM
I should be able to get off work and i'd love to do it.
Denton's my home town and i know Mardela very well.
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Zachary Cohn on June 04, 2008, 07:15:47 PM
I may be able to at least help with this, if not attend.
/me throws in his hat
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Brian Belida on June 05, 2008, 05:43:29 AM
I'd absolutely be interested in this. I'm car-less so...

Sam- I'll pay for Gas :D
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Jon Hurst on June 06, 2008, 05:46:16 AM
Awesome! You guys rule! There is one caveat though in that anyone volunteering this week must attend a training session regarding sexual abuse, etc. for a few hours. This I believe is July 19th. Camp Mardela (location) has a website which is http://www.campmardela.org (http://www.campmardela.org). Here is a link giving general information about the Camp Agape week: http://www.dioceseofeaston.org/Agape%20summer%2007.html (http://www.dioceseofeaston.org/Agape%20summer%2007.html) I will have more specific information about facilities, exact dates, perhaps pictures, etc. shortly.
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Zachary Cohn on June 06, 2008, 08:49:46 AM
Fail. I'm out then. I'll be in Denver, I think, that day.

:( Oh well, sorry.
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Zachary Cohn on June 12, 2008, 10:58:33 AM
http://www.parkourgenerations.com/news.php#374

you should contact the pkgen people. They might be able to give you some tips.
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Andy Animus Tran on June 12, 2008, 12:53:05 PM
If it's just a one or two day thing on weekends, I'm in.
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Jon Hurst on July 14, 2008, 07:41:53 PM
Ok. Sorry for the delay, I've been away (I suck. :(). This Saturday, the 19th is training for anyone who will be working with the kids directly. At the training there will be paperwork to fill out for background check and forms to sign acknowledging that you've done the training. If people need a ride to Camp Mardela, I can arrange that pretty easily.

We get a 2 hour block of time at some point during the week (Monday the 11th - Friday the 15th). This can be any of the five days in either the morning or afternoon. We get to choose.

Please respond to this post with:
-whether or not you are available on Saturday for the majority of the day
-if so, whether or not you need a ride
-which day you would prefer and whether morning or afternoon works better
-planning ideas
-questions
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Sam Slater on July 17, 2008, 04:02:04 AM
Sorry Daed, I can't help you on this one.  Saturday is booked at work and I can't take off.  I hope somebody responds and you get some help.  Good luck.

Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Soldier on July 17, 2008, 04:01:47 PM
don't know what i'll be able to do during the week but i'll come on saturday morning and see what's up.  What time should i show up. I'm an early riser so any time is good.
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Jon Hurst on July 22, 2008, 02:46:41 PM
Ok, Adam, Sam, Brian, Zac, etc. Planning time! Adam, you have an outline for our 2 hour session, yes? That'd be a good starting point.

Sam, we can still work out training if you're interested.

I'm checking with Brenda to see if the afternoon of Wednesday the 13th will work. Adam (and maybe Sam), does that day work for you?
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Zachary Cohn on July 23, 2008, 09:13:51 AM
13 of August? I can do that... but I can't/didn't make the "training session." If I can still do it, I'm definitely in. Let me know.
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Sam Slater on July 25, 2008, 04:10:06 AM
If that is the date, as long as I have ample time to notify work I should be able to get off.  I too did not go to the training, so what boat am I in in that regard?   Zac and myself as well as a few other APK Alliance members have been working on a sort of 2 or 3 hour seminar format that could be useful if Adam does't have what you are looking for.

Please email me with further information"

disciple [at] americanparkour [dot] com
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Andy Animus Tran on July 25, 2008, 05:20:55 AM
I'm still willing to lend my hand, as well, though, I - like Zac - missed the training thing due to being away at the time.  The classes I taught in Hamilton were two hours long, so it's actually a perfect amount of time.
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Jon Hurst on July 28, 2008, 04:15:47 PM
Again, you guys rule. :) I've been trying to get up with Brenda for the last week about setting up another training. I talked to her kids tonight and she's been in Wichita at a conference. She's coming back tomorrow though, so I should be able to keep things moving shortly.
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Jon Hurst on July 28, 2008, 04:25:38 PM
So as for components of the session, I'm going to assume it would go something like: warm-up -->new stuff --> practice --> new stuff --> practice --> compile --> assess

By the end of the two hours we would want the kids to know/be able to:
1) Know what parkour is.
2) Look at obstacles (physical or otherwise) as opportunities.
3) Do exercises that will help body awareness.
4) Do exercises that will increase physical usefulness (surmounting obstacles, etc.)
5) Where and how to continue their learning.

Ok, somebody correct, edit, and/or add to the above por favor.
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Zachary Cohn on July 28, 2008, 06:09:43 PM
Come up with a more specific outline of what you want to teach. "new stuff" could be a lot of things. :)

I would plan out a specific warm up, and then the specific vaults/movements you want to teach them. Overplanning is better than underplanning. You can always ditch or change your plan, but coming up with stuff on the fly is... hard. :p
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: johnny04 on July 28, 2008, 06:18:43 PM
Hmm, I think most kids already think obstacles as opportunities, but they don't think much about safety and their own limits.  If they see their friends do it, they would do it even when they are not quite sure they can.  So I think safety, knowing their own limits, not to be competitive, and knowing how to bail safely should be the primary focus. 

Also, remember to teach them to respect the environment and the people around them.  If they destroy the environment or piss someone off, they won't have a place to come back to practice.  If there are signs that say "don't jump on walls" or "keep off the grass", ask them to respect those wishes.

That's my two cents :-)
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Andy Animus Tran on July 28, 2008, 07:45:05 PM
First of all, how old are the kids?  That'll drastically change how we begin to approach things.

For my classes, I was teaching anywhere from 13 year olds to 30 year olds.  It made it a little easier to get them into things like conditioning, and I could push them a lot harder.  My normal sessions consisted of a structured warm-up, light conditioning for 30 mins, and then a "themed" training session, closing with 45 minutes of free time to play around with new abilities, tone up on old ones.

Since this is an introduction, the themes can be thrown right out the window.  I'm going to assume we're going with a range of 10-15 year olds, in which case I would warm up, go through some VERY light conditioning (maybe do it in challenges.. or at least make it very dynamic and different so that they don't get bored.. lots of QM and stuff.. stay away from typical stuff they are made to do in PE classes like push-ups or sit-ups), then give them fifteen minutes to play with the obstacles on their own, getitng used to their bodies and how they move and letitng them develop their OWN ideas before ever introducing them to any techniques.. THEN going into some basic techniques for traversing obstacles.. let them play a bit freely on their own again after a half hour.. and then close with a game of some kind.

The most imprtant thing about children is to let them be children.  Let them play, because honestly, that's all we're doing, only in a more structured manner.  And let them develop their own ideas about traversing obstacles before you start boxing them in with concepts like "Parkour" or "side vault."  Who knows, maybe you'll learn something new.
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Phytolith on July 29, 2008, 08:50:26 AM
Hey Daedalus-
After reading Muse's interactions with Girls, Inc. I think it is a good idea to add some games to the mix.  Ten-twelve year olds can handle some structure and themes but would enjoy it more if you also included some 'structured play', maybe as part of your body awareness section.  Tag using the obstacles, PDQ, British Bulldog, and other 'traditional' PK games can help break the ice and get the kids moving around and enjoying it.

I second Johnny's suggestion, that if you're going to introduce PK, you should also introduce safety.  Sometimes its helpful to have simple phrases or 'rules to live by' that are easy to demonstrate and remember, like "always check your surfaces".

As for some skills to teach, I usually like to start with teaching rolls, as it ties into safety quite well, and gets people moving.  Vaulting is a big confidence boost and gives beginners a tangible feel for 'overcoming obstacles', as well as being something they don't usually do in real life.   
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Andy Animus Tran on July 30, 2008, 04:40:37 AM
I will second the games thing since I already (briefly) mentioned it.

But I will also counter Amanda's point on rolls, just to give another side of it.  I personally never teach rolls and landings to beginners.  I give them the basics of landing on the balls of their feet when coming out of anything, but never say that it's a landing.  Landing technique comes after a month or two.. Rolling technique, I never teach until about six months in.

The first reason is that rolling is very specific, and most people haven't built up a lot of body awareness to even think about fixing up where they are sloppy.  Rolling becoems one of the most frustrating things for a beginner, and when i first started teaching, I saw a lot of people get very depressed right off the bat because theyc ould not get the roll down.  Many who get depressed end up never coming back.  To get even a half-decent roll, you need to be aware of your body.. which Parkour training will give you, so it's better off to wait.

Thes econd reason is the most important reason.  The absolute worst case scenario in Parkour is, on the first day, you teach someone landing and rolling, and even if you make sure tehy know they aren't ready for it, they go home and decide to jump off their roof and break their leg, roll their ankle, etc. etc.  That's the worst case.  The msot probable case is that you will have three or four bad seeds in a group of twenty or so who go home and jump off their roofs and don't immediately injure thesmelves.. but, of course, any traceur knows that they ARE hurting themselves.

Now, those bad seeds will always exist and will probably do something like that eventually, but you can reduce that number if many of them go home and think, "Well.. I haven't learned how to land or roll yet, so I probably shouldn't do this."

Btw, this is all just a difference in teaching style, and I'm not criticizing Amanda's methods at all.  It's just something for you to think about.
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Phytolith on July 30, 2008, 07:46:21 AM
Hmm, I see the argument that landing and rolling might be dangerous to teach to Parkour beginners because they might feel empowered to take more risks. However, for a group of kids who are not necessarily Parkour enthusiasts, and might therefore be less likely to take such risks, rolling is a useful topic because it ties in to things they likely have learned in other contexts (gym class, etc.), is a relatively simple theme to cover for the teachers, helps teach body awareness, and usually is quite fun, as well.  That being said, for this group I think it would be a good idea to train rolls on mats, because they are beginners who aren't necessarily interested in Parkour (did they 'sign up' for PK instruction specifically or is this just a scheduled activity they have to attend?), and should probably have a 'soft' introduction. 

But back to the argument that teaching rolls and landing to PK enthusiasts might be dangerous, I think it might be potentially more dangerous to have people build strength and agility first, so that they would be able to jump off higher and higher objects, before being taught the safe way to control that landing.  That's outside this thread and has been discussed elsewhere I'm sure, so I won't pursue it further here.
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Zachary Cohn on July 30, 2008, 08:31:04 AM
I actually think it is relavent though, we're talking about teaching - and what to teach - kids.

I personally teach landings as the VERY first thing. They are so crucial, so critical, and so many people have landings that are so awful. Everything you do in parkour has a landing after it. Every vault, you have to land. Precisions nothing more than landings. If you teach them proper landing technique in the beginning - even if they're not physically able to do it (flexibility, strength, whatever), at least they KNOW and can work on it as they go, and see their progress (in terms of how loud their landings are). It also prevents them from building bad habits. My landings were crap for almost a year because no one ever bothered to tell me they were bad (until Leon did in Rosslyn one day. <3 Leon). Since then, they've gotten a lot better but it was very difficult to break bad habits.

I feel like landings are crucial. If you teach them in the beginning, people can practice them ALL the time. If you're worried about them jumping off of rooftops now that they "know how to land," then I think you're coming up short in other areas of teaching.

Rolls, same thing. Not AS important, I might wait a couple sessions to start them, but still soon. Teach proper technique, teach progressions, and allow them to practice a TON. If you start them rolling week 2, they have a long time to practice. If you start them at 6 months, they have 5 and a half less months of practice.

********

Back on topic.

I think games are an excellent teaching tool. I was going to write more, but then Animus/Amanda posted. If they haven't convinced you, read about what Muse is doing with Girl's Inc. I was there the first time, and games allowed us to take this 8 girls from having zero interest whatsoever (actually, it was more like negative interest), into having fun, laughing, and being really super excited to see us again. Games, especially for young children, are the way to go. Then you use these games to teach technique, instead of using drills. It lets the kids practice the techniques (without really realizing it) while having fun - and that's the secret.
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Andy Animus Tran on July 30, 2008, 09:18:58 AM
Amanda, you're right, kids will probably enjoy rolling.

Zac...  It was Kipup who taught you how to land that day.  I was there..  Leon gave some pointers, but I do remember it being Kipup who was giving most of the instruction.

Now...  I teach them enough to land safely out of techniques, and I might do it right at the very end, but honestly.. that first day, they're going to be reverting back to their crappy landing every two seconds, anyhow.  It's better to get them used to their bodies.. eventually, theyll feel it, with a little bit of guidance, and it'll be fine after that.  I might also explain the mechanics of the landing, but I won't give any actual pointers.  They can be aware of it and what makes a good land, but I don't want to ever say, "Hey, work on this with your landing" on the first day..  The thing I WILL say on the first day is, "Make sure your landings are as silent as possible."  And after that, just "watch your landing."  When they try to reduce noise, they'll naturally get the landing more often than if I go and say, "Okay, you need to do this, bend here, bend there, don't ebnd there".  And it the landings are absolute bollocks, then Ihave no choice.

I'm still pretty adamant about the rolling thing.  For one, they don't get it.  They won't.  For months and months, they'll be drilling bad habits as they get more used to their bodies, and it's a lot harder to train someone out of a bad habit than it is to train someone who has no idea (physically, even if they're aware of what they're supposed to do mentally) but has accumulated a good amount of bodily awareness.

Maybe scroll back to three months, cause six is a little excessive..  But the point remains that I think even two months is still really early .. unless this person has been training ridiculously rigorously for a beginner.
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Zachary Cohn on July 30, 2008, 09:33:44 AM
Hm. Leon commented that they were loud and crappy, that's what I remember.
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Andy Animus Tran on July 30, 2008, 10:01:56 AM
So.. you don't remember Kipup spending twenty minutes with you on your landings?

I remember that rather well.. It was the first day I met you.
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: johnny04 on July 30, 2008, 11:04:59 AM
It is interesting reading Animus' comments about rolling.  I couldn't roll during my boot camp.  I always did it wrong.  My shoulder, arm, and back ended up hurting really bad.  I felt so awkward doing it.  I was afraid of rolling for months after that.  Now (after 4 months of training), I tried again and it was so easy.  I still haven't tried on concrete yet but I feel pretty good doing it on grass now.

However, that was just me.  Everyone in the class seemed to do it fine.  I also remember I liked doing it a lot when I was a kid.  I also tried to teach it to my niece who is 10 and she doesn't want to do it.  She said it is boring.  She kept telling me to teach her to do cartwheel.  So according to her it is not challenging enough :-)  Maybe it is just adults having a hard time with it. 
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Phytolith on July 31, 2008, 06:15:30 AM
Animus-

I think you're generalizing a lot about people's inability to 'get' rolling.  I've taught about 60 people in the last 6 months, and have found that there are about two or three people in each class of about 10 who really struggle with rolls.  The other people get it, usually quite easily, with good instruction and practice.  I take more time with those who struggle, and then back off, knowing that, like Johnny explained, with more practice and more time and more body learning, as you've put it, they will get it.  But for that majority of people who do get it, it would be a great disservice to not teach them how to protect their body when they land.  Also, learning how to roll, and learning that it can be uncomfortable even while it's protecting you is a great reinforcement to avoid risky behavior, like jumping off high objects. 
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Andy Animus Tran on July 31, 2008, 06:53:35 AM
In a group of about sixty that I began teaching this last year (who I did begin teaching rolls to immediately), I would say 40 of them were not able to get a passable roll until four months later, and then I had to get rid of their bad habits.. and 12 had passable rolls that needed a little bit more work.. and eight had excellent roll form, for the most part, that needed just practice.

But then again, I also get annoyed when they want to learn rolls on grass, and I believe that it should be done on concrete before softer surfaces (as in.. jsut the first 3 or 4).  That way, I can say, "Rememberw here you felt that pressure?  You're not going to feel it here, but you need to avoid that spot" or something similar.

And, Amanda, you also assume that I don't teach it to them if they ask me to.  If they ask, then fine.. I just won't teach it to a mass of beginners.  It's MUCH easier to do a better job instructing rolls one on one, anyhow.
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Phytolith on July 31, 2008, 10:40:28 AM
I tried not to assume how you taught.  I was responding to your comments that you were very firmly against teaching rolling to beginners.
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Andy Animus Tran on July 31, 2008, 12:18:01 PM
Fair enough.  Yes, I do believe one-on-one to be a bit different, and I might do it much sooner if that's the case, but I still like a couple months for body awareness to kick in a little bit more.  Martial artists and gymnasts get bumped up a lot, for obvious reasons.
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Jon Hurst on August 03, 2008, 06:36:30 PM
Here are our best bet for facilities...
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Jon Hurst on August 03, 2008, 06:39:37 PM
More
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Andy Animus Tran on August 03, 2008, 07:09:41 PM
Third picture is my favourite.
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Jon Hurst on August 03, 2008, 07:13:32 PM
Training: This Saturday, 8/09, we can do volunteer training anytime, morning, afternoon, or evening. Again, if you need a ride to Camp Mardela from anywhere in a 3 hour radius, let me know. Anyone participating in the session needs this training (except for Adam who's already done it).

Zac, that suggestion was just for formatting purposes. My thinking process = start general and move to specifics.

The kids will range from 8-11 years old. They will have short attention spans. I would suggest that no activity that we do last longer than 10 minutes. That would give us 12 blocks of 10 minutes each. The group will be relatively big so we definitely need a solid structure or we'll have chaos within the first 15 minutes.

-I love the games. They'll go over really well. Disclaimer: They just need to be simple. We can't afford to have to stop and clarify rules.
-We can teach rolling without saying that they're used for high drops. They can be an integral part of technique training even without discussing drops.
-The focus on noise reduction for landings would probably work well. (Mad ninja skillz yo!)
-I don't think a "free play" for skills practice would work too well because it would be hard to regain group focus regardless of how long it lasts. The break would be an exception to this.
-How about we split the session in half working on basic movements in the first, and then vaults and more advanced stuff during the second hour? Games could be either first or second hour depending. Maybe we do an obstacle course at some point too.
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Andy Animus Tran on August 04, 2008, 04:36:58 AM
Could I get an address?
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Zachary Cohn on August 04, 2008, 07:49:17 AM
Bugger. Can I get a specific date again?
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Andy Animus Tran on August 04, 2008, 07:53:37 AM
Wait.. three hour radius...?  That's f#cking huge.
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Jon Hurst on August 04, 2008, 05:48:46 PM
301 Deep Shore Road
Denton, Maryland  21629

Volunteer training: Saturday, 8/09 at any time (just let me know)
Our session: Wednesday, 8/13 afternoon

Yeah, 3 hour radius is to cover Brian (and/or others) if needed.
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Andy Animus Tran on August 04, 2008, 06:35:47 PM
Oh, it's on a Wed?  I won't be able to make it due to work.  Shame.
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Zachary Cohn on August 05, 2008, 08:37:53 AM
Craaaap. I can't make the saturday thing.

Augh. Bad timing. :( If you need any more help planning though, post here/email me/call me.

Sorry :(
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Zachary Cohn on August 12, 2008, 06:34:12 PM
As you know, just kidding! See you tomorrow!
Title: Re: Wanna work with kids?
Post by: Andy Animus Tran on August 13, 2008, 07:42:36 AM
Hope it all goes well.  I'm disappointed that work has gotten in the way.