Before heading off on an Up With People activity (usually a Community Impact project), we would have “Prep” sessions, which briefs us about what our project will be, who has been allocated into which group (if necessary), where and when the project is, and – most importantly – what the aims for the project were.
Who were we serving? Why were we serving them? How does this relate to current issues in the world? How does this relate to this region’s history, to the local community? What impact will we make through this project?
Obviously different people will have different ideas. Some may immediately grasp the point of the project. Some won’t be sure but will understand once the project is underway. Some will disagree with the concept and no amount of persuasion will change them. This is natural; everyone has different opinions.
However, the most important thing is that with all the different opinions aside, we still work together to make the project work. Whether it’s building a horse trail that also doubles as a water filter, or deweeding gardens; whether it’s entertaining a class in Japan or senior citizens in Europe; whether it’s doing a radio show or putting on a road show. Once people have a common goal, they are able to work together and put all their bests into the project.
Blogathon is similar in that respect. Everyone has a common goal: to raise money for charities by blogging for 24 hours. How they go about it is different. Some have contests. Some have raffles. Some have giveaways. Some have themed posts. Some are going on the road. Some are just writing about what strikes them fancy. It’s all different. But prior to today, we all had our “prep” times: chatting on the forums, IMing each other, cheering each other on the websites.
Many forms of alternative education also have prep times. Prep for a mentorship may mean talking to the mentor beforehand by phone or email. An internship? An interview, or a training session. Starting a business requires lots of preparation – business plans, marketing plans, set-up, so on. Even performing has prep times – rehearsals, warm-ups, pre-show jitters of excitement.
Prep allows people to come together, to reflect on their project, and focus on the goal and how to get there. It provides the initial spark of energy that will fuel the project through. It hashes out ideas before they’re implemented, it facilitates brainstorming, it gives motivation to a project.
Sure, it’s highly possible to just jump in without any prep and see what happens, but prep can be very useful, especially in complex situations with many variables.
How does prep time figure into your life and your education?