Maryland Leadership Workshops Content Director Tiffany Wang tells us what delegates can expect from MLW On Tour
Due to the pandemic, Maryland Leadership Workshops truly reinvented itself in 2020, offering MLW @Home – a virtual program that gave delegates across the state the opportunity to experience MLW at no cost for the first time. This year, with concerns about COVID lingering, the MLW team is innovating again to create another first-time experience – MLW On Tour!
Consisting of four three-day workshops in different regions of the state between July 7 and July 28, MLW On Tour will give delegates the opportunity to gather safely in-person close to home. And for those who can’t attend in person, MLW will again offer free content online to give every Maryland middle- and high-school student the opportunity to immerse themselves in all aspects of leadership.
We recently spoke with Tiffany Wang, MLW Content Director, to learn more about the MLW On Tour experience and what delegates can expect this summer.
Q: This year will look different than MLW’s traditional residential summer programs. Can you tell us how each MLW On Tour stop will be structured?
A: Even though MLW On Tour is not our traditional summer program, we still aim to provide the same “MLW magic” – a transformative experience in leadership anchored in social justice – just as we do every year. This summer we are focused on helping delegates develop the tools they need to be able to advocate for the issues they're passionate about in their own communities. Each tour stop will include three workshops, community-building discussions, guest speakers, and a community project where delegates can put the skills they've learned into action. The workshops will build on each other so that by the end of the tour, delegates will have a better understanding of the roles they can play in creating change in their communities, as well as their relationships with others in those communities.
Q: Since not all delegates will be able to attend in person, what content will be available to access from home?
A: We will have four free mini-workshops that will be accessible through our website. We are also planning two community calls for the month of July, where delegates can call in from anywhere to discuss issues that matter to them and learn about what's going on in other areas. In August, all MLW On Tour delegates will have the opportunity to share their community projects on one last community call that will be open to everyone.
Q: What has the process of building this curriculum been like? What goes into shaping the content for each workshop?
A: I am so grateful for the other three members of the content team. This curriculum was truly a collaborative effort between the four of us, other members of MLW who assisted with the brainstorming process, and the two amazing high school students who came in to give us feedback. We started with the big picture, with questions such as: "What are the main takeaways we want for the delegates?" and "If we could offer literally any workshops in the world, what would they be?" From there, we grouped together similar themes and discussed what needed to be included so we could meet the main goals of the program as a whole.
Q: What can you tell us about the workshops you’re creating?
A: Our first workshop centers on understanding identity expression and how to effectively communicate one's passions with others. The next zooms out to focus on how delegates interact with the rest of their communities, the roles they play when advocating for change, and navigating the other resources available to them. The last workshop seeks to look at the larger systems affecting delegates' lives and tapping into the power they already have to achieve their goals. We hope these workshops, along with our free virtual workshops, can supplement the skills delegates have already developed as leaders in their communities.
Q: With just a small group of delegates participating in person in each region, will there still be opportunities for delegates from different regions to interact with each other?
A: While the structure of MLW On Tour does limit the opportunities for delegates from other parts of the state to get to know each other, I'm really excited about the opportunities presented by the regionally-based programs. Since each tour stop will bring delegates from more homogenous areas, it gives us the chance to make the community project truly based on their community and lets delegates share region-specific resources with each other. That being said, we hope delegates from all across the state can attend our virtual community calls, where that cross-community discussion and resource-sharing can still take place. We also encourage everyone to attend our end-of-tour community project presentations that will take place virtually at the beginning of August.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about MLW On Tour and the curriculum you are building?
A: I think this summer has really given us the opportunity to think outside the box and push the curriculum further with both the workshops and other programming. Young people today are often already doing work in their communities, so our goal is really just to assist them by introducing them to more concepts and tools that they can adapt for themselves.
Registration for MLW On Tour is open now. To register, visit: http://mlw.org/apply-2/.
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