Facilitation of the Young Presidents’ Organization International Family Board Meeting: Mark Ong’ Perspective


The Young Presidents’ Organization, or YPO, is an international network
that promotes high-level meetings to spread its founding mission: Better Leaders
Through Education and Idea Exchange. Just as in 2009 and 2011, the JUMP!
Foundation was hired to facilitate YPO’s annual International Family Board Meeting.
Six members from JUMP! worked hand in hand to create a platform that would be
fun and conducive to youth development. This year’s staff included Justin Bedard,
Alyson Chun, Megan Preston, Carly Dorfman, Samantha Fien-Helfman, and Mark
Ong.

From the perspective of Mark Ong:

After attending the YPO Family Board Meetings in 2009 (Beijing, China), and
2011 (Istanbul, Turkey) as a participant, my ambition to work as a JUMP! facilitator
grew. I observed the way the staff worked in unison and how each facilitator truly
targeted the development of the youth as individuals, members of the community,
and citizens of the world. The Family Board Meetings in Beijing and Istanbul were
both life-changing experiences for me because not only did I meet amazing and
diverse individuals from around the world and spend an incredible week with them,
I also left the conferences having gotten to know myself better as well.

One thing that truly sets the JUMP! Foundation apart is the character of its
facilitators and their dedication to the JUMP! mission. Not only do they focus on
the satisfaction and enjoyment of the kids, JUMP! facilitators are also steadfast
in inspiring, engaging, and empowering youth. In doing so, they truly succeed
in positively changing lives. It was after the 2011 conference in Istanbul that I
expressed my interest in working for JUMP! and, to my delight, I was hired.

I was excited to hear that the 2012 Family Board Meeting was to be held in
Washington D.C. because of the city’s abundance in American history and culture.
This year’s program ran from July 11-15, 2012, thus all the staff members were
called in to begin discussing the proposed schedule on the 8th of July. The following
two days were dedicated to planning and gathering materials that would be used for
the program. The veteran facilitators expressed their satisfaction at the amount of
time we had to prepare and our efficiency in the time we were given.

Although hectic, the four-day conference seemed to fly by. Among the
amazing activities some highlights include hiking and rock climbing at the
Great Falls National Park, visiting the National Zoo, cycling through the national
monuments, exploring the Air & Space, Spy and Newseum Museums, touring Mount
Vernon, and becoming world citizens by receiving our very own world passports.

One advantage that we had for the 2012 conference was that three of the six
facilitators (including myself) actually had experienced the program as participants
and as facilitators. Our perspectives and contributions were significant because
we were able to get a better idea of which activities worked well and which ones
did not. Additionally, we had a good idea of what was expected of us and I think we
were able to utilize the time that we were given to create a meaningful experience
for everyone.

One explicit thing I will take away from my experience as a JUMP! facilitator
is this: we are the only ones that can determine what type of experience we create
for ourselves. As unique individuals, we react to our surroundings through the
perspective of a prisoner, vacationer, or a change maker. I loved working with each
of the kids, but I found that each child approached his or her situation and evaluated
his or her presence at the program differently. I can only imagine how differently
I would have acted in past situations if I had known that I was confining myself
to disappointment or that I acted as a bystander in a situation where I could have
made a difference. This experienced has highlighted the significance of perspective
for me and from now on I will strive to be a change maker.

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