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Who says MAPS and PATH Facilitators Have to be “Adults”

Many people who want to be MAPS and PATH facilitators get stuck when we insist that the process be co-facilitated i.e. uses two people, a graphic recorder and a process facilitator. They are concerned about costs, or finding a team-mate. This is where we need to be creative. Budget is hardly ever an excuse, especially when there are so many people who want to help, to learn and to be involved. Who said everyone needs to be paid all the time? Who says we can’t involve both our elders and our youngsters in the process? Joel Hollands, our friend and budding graphic facilitator is currently 15 years old. He began learning MAPS and PATH when he was 13 and has been a helper at our courses.

We believe the hidden resource out there in the world is people. We limit ourselves by thinking a “facilitator” needs to be of a certain age, have a degree, etc. Who made those rules? The main ingredient is the desire to try this out and “do no harm.”

Marijo McBride, a professional social service worker from Minnesota, met Joel at one of the Toronto courses. Joel volunteered to be the process facilitator for Marijo’s PATH. He had already done the graphics part and wanted to try a new role. Marijo remembers, “At first I was a bit concerned as I know that any Person Centered Plan should not be taken lightly. I learned, as Joel facilitated my PATH, that facilitation is an art that can transcend age as long as the person demonstrates mature judgment, is grounded in the values of inclusion, honors the uniqueness of the focus person, is a good listener, elicits the person’s dreams and ideas rather than their own, is flexible and creative and creates a welcoming environment. Joel did all that as he had basically taken the same course as I did. In fact, he did it far better than some of the so called ‘trained educators’ present.”

Joel remembers Marijo’s PATH. “I was really nervous. I didn’t want to mess up. I wanted it to be perfect. I was very cautious. I learned that was good, as I got down Marijo’s images and thoughts — not mine. I had to make Marijo focus and get out everything she wanted to say.”

Marijo: “Joel was great. His youthfulness entered my soul, yet he is wise beyond his years. His creative thinking and action pushed me beyond narrow thinking limits. He asked the right questions to unlock my PATH. My PATH was called “My Journey to a Legacy” and Joel was realistic about the steps I needed to take to reach my North Star. He and the graphic recorder, Tammy, created images for my words.

“As a result of having my own PATH done I am convinced I am now a much better listener to other’s dreams and I’m better at helping people figure out how to reach their own North Star.”

Joel now wants to facilitate a MAP but he knows before he does this he has to have a MAP done for himself. “I know the first rule of thumb is that you can’t do these things to other people till you’ve been through it yourself, because you can’t understand what another person is going through.” Since this was written, Joel has had a MAP done and is now learning to be a MAPS facilitator.

The next time you wonder where you are going to find a potential co-facilitator, just open your eyes and look around. They are all around! A friend of mine asked us if we didn’t think Joel was “extraordinary.” We answered a resounding yes and no. There are many Joels out there waiting for the opportunity to be asked to be involved in real and creative work. Not all teenagers would be interested, but many are simply waiting for us to ask.

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