Radiating Sunshine: Planning RA Training

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Planning RA Training

Today, I'm going to talk about the in's and out's of planning RA Training. It still feels a little strange being on the planning side, considering for the past three years of my life I was always the trainee. It was quite the adjustment, but the little planner in me is happy. My staff and I plan RA Training every Wednesday for the entire Summer. Our meetings usually last from 10AM-12PM and sometimes 2 hours isn't even enough. I never realized just how much goes into planning a training. You have to think about the topics (what are 'must haves' and 'could do withouts'). You then have to look at how much time you have to work with and figure out how long each session will go. 

But, first you need to choose a theme!! We had a blast with this. Early on in the summer we constructed a list of different themes we liked. Then all 9 of us got 3 votes, which allowed for us to slowly eliminate ideas... until we finally came to one conclusion. Since, the university I work at is nautical themed, we thought Pirates would fit very well. So, all of our training sessions and the RA T-shirt matches our theme. 
My team found it to be the easiest if we scheduled all outside presenters (anyone not in Housing & Res. Life) for sessions first. We wanted to give the outside presenters first priority, so what we typically did was email/call and see if they had a day preference. If they did, then we accommodates their requests and scheduled them for a time that was suitable. If they did not, then we gave them different options and let them choose what worked. Some of our outside presenters include: Volunteer Fire Fighters (Emergency Procedures), Diversity Talk, QPR Training, Student Conduct, etc.

After the outside presenters were finalized, we then began to fill in the gaps. Some sessions like BCDs (Behind Closed Doors) take up more time then others, so we accommodated that. When we were scheduling our sessions, we were very careful not to make some of the days too heavy. What I mean by this is sometimes our sessions have a lot of sensitive material, so we are just cautious of our RAs mental stability and happiness.

The Actual Sessions
The way my staff planned the content of the sessions was really nice! We (RDs) basically signed up to plan certain sessions. My sessions include: initiatives (Team Builders), Emergency Procedures, BCDS, and Conflict Mediation. I've been busy at work planning these sessions. I think BCDs has probably been the most work. We meet every week for about 2 hours (usually at night) and comb through all the content and see where we can reform things.

When we finish content for our sessions, we present them at our weekly staff meetings/planning sessions. This is probably the hardest part for me. Now I love some constructive feedback... but, sometimes its really hard to just watch people tear down your ideas. However, that's what happens and you just have to go with it. I would argue 99% of time everything people add to conversation is beneficial and I love seeing how my other staff members plan their sessions.

That's all for now! I'll update y'all next Wednesday on more RA Training related fun! 
Happy Wednesday :)

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