Recently, NeighbourLink North York hosted “Bridging Generations,” the third intergenerational conference in the series “Let’s Get Connected.” Their goal was to invite 50 youth and 50 seniors to come for a day of learning and fun. At the start of the day everyone was partnered with someone of a different age, and then invited to experience the entire day with that partner. At the end of the conference they reflected on this intergenerational experience – it was powerful!
NeighbourLink is a charity located in the suburbs of Toronto and works with seniors. Increasingly, they want to share the importance of volunteerism and the value of doing this intergenerationally. At this conference, they did this in two ways: an intergenerational panel and interactive workshops.
The question was: How do we ensure people learn while they are having fun?
With the help of Global Learning Partners, they offered two tip sheets as well as guidance on maximizing learning.
Wow, did this ever make a difference! The steps for success included:
- Emailing the tip sheets to panelists and workshop facilitators a week in advance
- Calling each panelist and workshop facilitator a few days before the event to answer their questions, checking in and offering support
- Meeting with each group before the start of the conference
- Introducing the individuals in each group to each other before the event and ensuring time to connect.
NeighbourLink North York is confident they will host this sort of event again and is grateful they now have more tools to support their volunteer presenters and maximize learning for participants.
How do you ensure learning at conferences?
Jeanette Romkema is a Global Learning Partners (GLP) co-owner and Managing Partner of Communications and Marketing, as well a Senior Consultant and Trainer with GLP.