RESPONSIBILITY is Hard: Junior Counselor's for a Successful Adulthood

Image of Jill Stribling
Jill Stribling
Rodrigo has been at camp since he was 4 years old and how he is preparing to be a junior counselor

 

English for Fun’s 12th Summer Camp Launches a Junior Leadership Certification Program

Some kids were born to be the boss. Others need a little coaching from an outside source!

 

Responsibility, Discipline, Collaboration are LIFE Skills

In a year of challenges and uncertainty, at English for Fun, we have one thing clear. English IS NOT the only thing keeping the unemployment rate at 15% (36% youth unemployement) in Spain.

Yes, English is fundamental since Spain the #2 tourists destination in the world. But we also need employees with better SOFT SKILLS if we are going to recover from this newest CRISIS.

The workforce is in shambles, worldwide, and it’s NOT only COVID-19. The virus simply sped up the process.

Ask yourself:

  1. Why is the Human Resources Department bigger than the other departments that make MONEY?
  2. Does your "back office" require more people to manage adults than the children who go to your school? (oops, that was us...)
  3. Do you do WAY too much, while others leave work really relaxed and on time?
  4. How are "The Best Places to Work" losing employees? These companies pay a lot, offer graining, culture and growth in order to keep their workers happy. Why isn't even the "BEST" company's effort enough?
  5. Why are the conversations on LinkedIn about how companie's need to babysit adults?
  6. Why are there so many blogs dedicated to dealing wih toxic workmates, gossip and drama at work? Why can't grown ups work together for the good of everyone?

Today's workforce feels like an episode of "Adults Gone Wild". It seems like work is school (mentors, ping-pong tables and "play" rooms, popularity and clicks) and school is work (testing, memorizing useless facts, adults dictating what to do).

 

The real worldwide pandemic:  Spoiled Adult Syndrom

It used to be that what happens in casa, stays in casa. Now we see tantrums from adults all over the internet.  

Adults today are missing important LIFE habits and without them, it's impossible to succeed. I have been watching this trainwreck for years as an employer of the "running from" or "running to" in Spain. When we see "The Great Resignation" (Ahem...Quitting in Groups), this is worrisome because it shows a lack of individualized thinking and coping skills, mixed with entitlement. Look at the complaints about work on social media. I mean seriously, wasn't the DREAM remote working?!?

I think this is a cry for help. Younger generations are proving that they are NOT prepared to handle working effectively with others. Adults needs to learn self-management skills in order to handle the stress and daily operations of any job.

American's and Hard Work

What better place to teach kids how to be productive members of society, and how to work efficiently, than an American Accredited Summer Camp? English for Fun uses S.T.E.A.M.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math, Music) to teach leadership skill to the employees of tomorrow, Generation Z.

 

Here is my common-sense, but non-scientific belief:

Our formative years for developing proper working habits are 14-24 while the Frontal Lobe of the brain is developing and we are filled with youthful energy.

If a child does NOT do chores at home...

And he then becomes a teenager who doesn’t have a summer job...

And then he becomes a young adult who has not worked while studying in college...

He is already way behind in the needs of the workforce!

*Habits and discipline are what make us into great workers.

** Degrees give us confidence and hopefully knowledge.

*** Our contacts help us with connections to stand out amongst others competing for the same spot.

 

The Big Question is...

How can we expect an adult to know how to behave at work if he has never had any practice?

 

If kids have not been trained to work during the "formative" years, while the brain is developing for adulthood, it’s nearly impossible to be an effective employee.

I'm Jill Stribling, a Social Entrepreneur and Educational Specialist and the Owner and Founder of English for Fun. I never would have gotten here without what I learned in adolescents. I spent every summer, from the time I was 14 years old, WORKING to “earn my keep”. Before that, I was the neighborhood babysitter and did other “odd jobs” along with my daily chores (and I played sports). 

The Workforce is Missing Soft Skills (no...POWER Skills)

We see people who are missing the skills that are supposed to be developed at home and then perfected at work by an impartial boss. At work (and in GROUP CARE), we learn about Respect, Discipline, Flexibility, Collaboration, Conflict/Resolution and Customer Service. We also develop self-confidence through responsibility.

When kids don't grow up with "other groups" (work, teams, clubs), Success Building Skills can be replaced by Ugly Skills, such as entitlement, laziness, criticism, scapegoating or other toxic behaviors (Emotional Manipulation Tactics).

Now that tech has taken our lives hostage, POWER skills are not developed or have disappeared. This is why the working world is getting worse even as societies are more advanced than ever.

Why Work Works

  • Citizens need to work and to be productive members of a society in order for our countries to compete in the world today
  • Work gives us a purpose, and an opportunity for personal growth
  • A job teaches us that we are a part of a whole society  
  • There is nothing that feels more gratifying than success when it comes from teamwork and achieving a goal (WINNING) 

Work is a good thing and it should be our reason for existing.

 

Worried about the future, I began investigating this “helplessness” phenomenon. I shared countless discussions with other employers, HR Directors and I did a lot of research online (mostly the "Am I nuts?" or "What am I doing wrong?" therapy-kind).

After 13 years of entrepreneurship, and seeing how overeducated/underprepared some workers are for the labor force, worldwide...

After seeing how nervous and insecure parents have become...

I realized that a lack of Life Skills has left adults confused about Adulting.

O.D.D. is Raised, Not Born

There is a term for what we are seeing in the workforce today. It's called Oppositional Defiant Disorder. This “global pandemic” is far more costly than COVID-19. O.D.D. happens when parents live in FEAR of upsetting children by establishing boundaries, or when parents lack the skills to set limits at home. It's a cycle. Those children then become adults with even less control and they are now raising children of their own.

Let the scapegoating and gaslighting begin. 

Emotionally Abusive People ARE the Real Problem

Mediocre people are ruining the world and they use terrible tactics to get ahead in life. They are so quick at manipulating others in order to achieve more while doing less, that they are the cause of a lot of workplace trama and drama.

This is the consequences of a world without boundaries, discipline and respect. Toxic behaviors happen when humans feel underprepared and they lack Self-Leadership. SELF-EFFICACY (the true belief in our own abilities and in ourselves) is the most important tool we give to our children and it’s only learned through trial and error and failure and risk taking. We decided to take matters into our own hands and developed a certification program to train the workforce we want to hire in the future. The Bonus is that the training program is 100% IN English so students are developing several useful skills at the same time.

Junior Counselor Program

This is a course to combat this LIFE SKILLS issue and get the next workforce ready to go. We did it in the hopes of giving teenagers the opportunity to put their English into action. With responsibility and training comes confidence, ambition and the tools needed to thrive in a post-COVID world where everything has changed.

What Teens Do in Our Junior Counselor Program 

English for Fun’s Junior Leadership Program, called 'Adulting for Fun', is a 120 hour certification course that involves 60 hours of classroom time throughout the school year and there are 60 hours of “on the job” training. It’s designed for 13-16 year olds who have been in English for Fun school for a minimum of 5 years and speak fluently in English. Teens are given the opportunity to learn valuable LIFE skills and they put into practice what they have learned in the classroom.

Junior Counselors are taught:

  • health and hygiene

  • babysitting and child care

  • organizational skills

  • how to be a proactive and caring workmate

  • dealing with conflict/resolution

  • food preparation, service and cleanup

  • self-respect and personal presentation skills

  • teaching and developing/following lesson plans

  • basic maintenance skills and how to use dangerous tools in our Makerspace

  • basic accounting, budgeting, investment of earnings and savings.

  • how to receiving constructive feedback and manage expectations

We don’t know what jobs will be available in the future so we need adaptable, flexible and concerned citizens who show up and have a positive impact on the lives of others. It’s time that we get back to basics and prepare kids with skills that matter. A screen and a multiple choice test cannot teach our kids how to be positive and productive workers. The skills that matter at work are our habits and what we DO. This is a course for those who want to be DOers when they grow up, not whiners and complainers!

 

What are the results of the Junior Counselor program?

We develop thinkers and fluent English speakers who are also better prepared for the job market.

We give kids opportunities to learn and grow through leadership programs which teach necessary E.Q. (Emotional Intelligence) skills.

We keep teens busy and OFF tech so parents feel better.

English for Fun helps raise a generation that asks, “What more can I do?” instead of “What's in it for me?”

One Final Reflection...

We see all of these parenting books coming out about How to Not Raise an Asshole and Your Turn: How to BE an Adult because there is a real pandemic of helpless and hopeless adults who are struggling with their roles in the world. It’s as though they were trophies/playmates for their parents, not people raised for adulthood.

This began as parents became over-involved in their work and then to overcompensate, spent too much time in their children’s lives.

As an employer, this is an unmanageable situation that I have seen firsthand in my network of business owners. I don’t want to RAISE my employees, I have my own kids! I hire workers to liberate me from tasks so that I can continue our innovation and continue to improve our learning programs for children. I expect that after a lengthy stay in college and more training than any generation before, workers come ready to make an impact...and even educate me!

I realized around 2014, that instead of focusing on our customers and our company growth, I spent my days cleaning up after adults who have NEVER learned the skills to clean up after themselves. Is this why parents ship their young adults off to Spain?!? What a dirty trick! Most days I felt like a parent, giving kids an allowance to do chores.

Thankfully, 13 years after startup and bootstrapping I realize now that it’s not personal! So I try to focus on what matters. Kids learn more here at English for Fun than anywhere else! Our rule is RESPECT KIDS and even with the great anecdotes, we have stuck clear to that mission.

But I struggled with my own self-doubt and I spent a lot of sleepless nights wondering why I couldn’t manage employees from 16 countries and parents in their most FEARful moments. Now I understand that I have managed to show children (and parents, jeje) that they are capable of surviving all kids of scenarios, and they always THRIVE in English for Fun. No wonder our kids were better prepared for the uncertainty of COVID-19.

It’s time for leaders to take our lives back and the Junior Counselor program is also helpful for busy parents who are not sure where to turn for support. 

Enough of the blogs about Self-Care (which can only happen when we know how to stay and act like grown-ups). Self-leadership requires a new skillset (and risky play). Parents need to BACK OFF and let kids fall down. Let them learn from failure. It's about less testing and more hard working for grown ups to have a brighter future! Empowerment comes from within.

T.I.P.S. Parenting for a Better Workforce:

  1. Get rid of the NANNY or housekeeper so the kids to school and the whole family does chores

  2. Model RESPECT for work and for the work of others

  3. Give kids realistic expectations about what work is (Jobs aren't FUN)

  4. Odd Jobs and Summer Jobs as soon as possible

  5. NO QUITTING! We start/finish and think about others in this family

Here is what our Adulting for Fun - Junior Counselor's have to say about the program:

 

(YES-in the heart of SPAIN, English for Fun produces English speakers who sound like this.)

More Info.

English for Fun is located in Madrid, Spain. There are several programs: American Preschool, After School Activity, Urban Camps, Work for Fun for Adults and even a Virtual School.

For more information about joining our Junior Counselor Leadership Program, contact us at elviso@englishforfun.es or at 914412233.

 

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