A few weeks ago I was privileged to present at the National Juvenile Arthritis Conference. I spoke with kids in 5th and 6th grade as well as the 11th and 12th graders. I’ve worked with campers at the Texas arthritis summer camp for 2 years now and had so much fun that they asked me to come do some education at the conference. Since the two groups were very different in age and needs, I did two different presentations. Today I wanted to share what I did with the 5th and 6th graders.
Having a little fun with Snapchat before the conference!
Since the kids in this age group are either transitioning or getting ready to transition into middle school, I decided that it would be great to start talking with them about goals. Kids at this age are very interested in advancing their skill sets, recognizing that they can achieve goals. They are beginning to think about what they would like to do with their life, going deeper into what they want to be when they grow up. At the same time, becoming an adult still seems far away and there are many things that can happen between middle school and entering the workforce that shape the career one chooses.
But that does not mean it is useless to start thinking about dreams and aspirations for adulthood. On the contrary, it is important for youths to consider what they are passionate about and start to see the different pathways to their goals. By forming their dreams into physical cohesion, they begin their journey of turning dreams into reality. One way of doing this is by creating a vision board.
A vision board is a way of putting pictures and/or words together to create a visual representation of a dream or goal. It’s a great way to start your creative juices going while also having a source of inspiration you can use as you work towards that goal or dream. I led the youths in making their own vision boards and it was really cool to see the variety. Some thought about jobs while others thought about sports and recreation. And then there were the kids who wanted their recreation to be their job. I was also very impressed in how specific they got. Some of them actually noted what they wanted to do in a certain field, like becoming an archeologist in a certain country or specializing as a horse veterinarian.
Before you rush out to start your vision board though, I want to share some steps. Since it can be hard to ask someone to pick a specific goal out of thin air for a project, I gave the participants some parameters. I first had them talk about what they wanted to achieve in high school, which is a much closer goal for them than their adult career. I had them list a few ideas, then asked them to list what that would look like for them 3 years from now. There were no wrong answers, the point was to just some ideas flowing. After I let them jot things down, I then talked with them about the vision board and the goal of the project. Finally, I gave them some art supplies including magazines and encouraged them to get creative with their vision boards. And they did an awesome job!
I thought I would share the board I created to use as a demonstration for the youths. My focus or “goal” was oriented to performing more since I love to sing and dance. Let me know if you’ve tried making a vision board and how did it go in the comments below!
My Vision Board!