Initially, I set out to develop my communication skills and in particular speaking in public. I was also keen to improve my organization skills as this is not one of my strong points. However, what I have learnt is that there is more to communication than just standing up and talking to people. During this project, I think I have become a better listener, have worked well with others, and been very positive. I was able to clearly explain the task so that everyone could understand and I enjoyed working with other people. By working with Sophie, who is very organized, I have learnt the benefits of making lists. Not only does this help to identify the tasks that need to be done, but ticking them off once complete is very satisfying.
I also now feel, I have improved my skills and ability to speak in public by writing out my speech (Eco Craft Activity introductory speech (1).pdf ); practicing on my own and then with others, I was able to build my confidence. I also used some of the breathing and performance skills I have learnt in drama to speak slowly and project my voice. I am quite short, so had I stood on the floor to give my speech, I doubt everyone would have been able to hear me, let alone see me. By standing on the bench, I felt tall, I could see everyone and with Sophie by my side, I did not feel alone. Having my speech printed out it gave me something to do with my hands, and although I knew it off by heart, if I had forgotten something or been distracted I would just need to glance down at my notes. I am also quite shy and would never ask people for feedback, just in case they told me something I did not want to hear. I thought about doing a questionnaire, and asking for yes/no answers but decided post it notes would be much simpler and allow people to write whatever they wanted. Reading all the lovely comments, was incredible and has made me realised that people do like to be asked their opinion. As a result of doing this activity, I have got to know lots more people, many of whom seem very enthusiastic about finding out more about Arts Awards.
Reflection on my project
I was really pleased with my project plan, and although I kept on amending and refining it, it was the one thing that kept me on track and ensured the event was a success. It helped me take what seemed like an enormous task and break it down into small stages. By having a clear plan, I was able to split it into to resources I needed to deliver the project and specific tasks I needed to complete. Creating a table really helped and splitting the actions into single tasks and considering who was responsible helped me identify where I would need support. Outlining the dates by which time each activity needed to be completed, helped me create a timeline ahead of the event. In reality, I ended up working backwards in order to ensure everything was done in time. I am glad I added a date completed column because this allowed me to monitor what I had done and what I still needed to do. In the end, it worked really well and I was really pleased.
I cannot believe I have done it! If you told me that I would have organised an arts activity for more than 30 people and had such wonderful feedback, I would never have believed it. This event has far exceeded my expectations both in terms of what I have done and what other people have done to support me throughout this process. Not only have I grown in confidence but I really enjoyed taking on my first leadership role and working as part of a team. Coronavirus has been the biggest challenge, as I have wanted to do something for a long time. By setting myself a deadline by which I was determined to complete Unit 2, I now realised that if I set my mind on something and focus with a plan, I can do it.
Sustainability is very important to me, and a key part of the activity was making people aware of the damage glitter does to the environment. By showing people how to create and make their own environmentally friendly Christmas decorations, I have been able to make a small contribution to reducing plastic that ends up in our oceans. Seeing people's comments referring to the environmental aspect of this activity shows that people listened and understood the key reason I chose this for my craft workshop. Below are a couple of samples of the feedback I received, which specifically referred to the environment.
Working with others
I am normally quite independent and prefer to work alone. However, what this project has taught me is that by working as part of a team, rewards can be much greater. I have learnt a lot from those I have worked with - Sophie has given me the gifts of lists; my brother is really helpful if I explain why we are doing something and my teachers have shown a different side of themselves by doing stuff for me when I have asked them. I have realised, I enjoy planning and leading events and all the feedback has just been so positive. Everyone found the workshop fun and engaging and had created some beautiful decorations. I particularly liked the post it that said "I loved this craft and I felt like I could draw what I like." From my experience, being too prescriptive and telling people exactly what they have to do is less enjoyable than giving people the opportunity to be creative. I think I got the balance right between giving people suggestions, but also the opportunity to think for themselves.
In the future
I really loved organising this event and would happily do something similar in the future. I would allocate the resources differently to avoid the mad rush at the start. If I was doing this activity again, I would also try and involve people more at the start by allowing them to collect their own materials from the woods or outside. The only problem however, is that the weather in November can be very wet, and if people couldn't find enough materials, this could prevent them from enjoying the activity. The feedback has shown me I can communicate well and I am very excited about the prospect of doing my Gold Arts Award sometime in the future. Sustainability and environmental considerations will always be at the heart of everything I do.