LACES Two-Week Summer Program
The summer component of LACES began as a pilot program in 2004. It provides leadership and life skills training to select groups of students from the community. The first week is a day program, which develops small affiliation groups through team building, and trust exercises. Participants complete a full value contract, or a set of guidelines, for their experience, to which they are required to hold themselves accountable for throughout the two weeks. Students also participate in initiatives that focus on developing their problem solving and communication skills while breaking down stereotypes and barriers to cooperation within the group. At the conclusion of the first week, problems are presented to the participants by our community partners (e.g., school principals, YMCA, Boys/Girls Club).
Problems have included physical and emotional wellness, positive peer relationships, and engaging students in community service. In the second week, students stay in the residence halls at Springfield College, and their task is to develop solutions to the community based problems they were given. Much of their time is spent in the library researching the problem, identifying strategies to address the issues, and discussing possible solutions. On the final day of the program, students deliver a PowerPoint presentation of their solutions to an audience of family members, peers, city residents, and other community partners.