Archive for November, 2009

03
Nov
09

top ten lists: things that rule

Listen, writing a blog post is hard work. So hard that I took the liberty of making a half-baked list instead of writing a real update on what I’m doing here. Life can’t always be the frosting off the top of a delicious birthday cake and lemon-scented laundry detergent and a cold six pack, sometimes you need a lazy post to wrap things up. So you get two. This is part two: things that rule. These are things I’ve done over the last few weeks that I enjoyed and deserve a post. Enjoy.

1-

2-      Ultimate Frisbee on the beach, with a mountain on one side and the Atlantic 30 yards away, against South African World Team players

3-      Mzolis after 4 hours of Frisbee on the beach on a Sunday afternoon

4-      Running 15 miles through Cape Town on a Saturday afternoon

5-


6-      Sprinting across the rock formations at the top of Table Mountain in the middle of a cloud

7-      Climbing a waterfall – the start of a 6 hour hike up Table Mountain

8-      Getting the flu and being bedridden for 2 days.

9-      Taking a South African cooking class

10-   My 22nd birthday is tomorrow. Money orders accepted.

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03
Nov
09

top ten lists: things i miss

Listen, writing a blog post is hard work. So hard that I took the liberty of making a half-baked list instead of writing a real update on what I’m doing here. Life can’t always be the frosting off the top of a delicious birthday cake and lemon-scented laundry detergent and a cold six pack, sometimes you need a lazy post to wrap things up. So you get two. This is part one: things I miss. These are things I miss from home: its been nine weeks. That’s a long time. I’ll be home December 9th early in the morning. See you all soon after that. Enjoy.

1-     

2-      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kd_62tLlpZU

3-      These idiots

4-      Raking leaves, trees changing colors, wearing a jacket, getting dark out earlier, going to a cider mill, carving a pumpkin, fall in east lansing, running and not sweating

5-

6-

7-


8-      A junior bacon cheeseburger

9-      Cold weather golfing

10-  

03
Nov
09

frustration

work rant/

Integrating an institutional overhaul as a relatively neutral third party figure is a daunting challenge. Our task is to completely reboot and remodel the recruitment and employment structure of Hoops4Hope, starting with the application process, extending to the contract and retention phase, to the growth and community development aspects, to a final exit strategy for participants.

Our task here began with an overhaul of the application system – presently there isn’t really one. All-Stars and MVPs are chosen based on who you know or what affiliation to the program you have or what club team you played for. This means that most of the All-Stars aren’t really cut out for their jobs – they don’t have any kind of training or education for it, and their motivation is ridiculously low. They see the job as an avenue for free internet and phone in the office, a nice little stipend once a month, and a stable career. That’s not what we want and its not what breeds institutional growth and a desire to see change, expansion, and community outreach.

Hence, we’re completely revamping the application system, starting with creating an application from scratch. The hurdles we have to jump through that you don’t even think about in America are huge – a basic request for a 500 word essay turns into a huge debate. Does a normal applicant have access to a computer? Do they have the basic English literacy rate needed to write 500 words? Is that too many words for the topic? Should we shorten it? Do they have access to a printer? Should we make them do it in the office to test their computer literacy? The typical All-Star/our ideal applicant has what amounts to an 8th grade education in America, and catering an application to that level is a challenge.

Further, we have to change the basic framework of the organization. Right now the All-Stars and MVPs receive basically nothing from us besides a stipend and free computer access. We want to team up with other NGOs and offer them computer literacy, financial planning, resume planning, and all kinds of other classes. There are NGOs all over this city looking to help people with all kinds of problems like that, and its our goal to provide All-Stars with access to them. The idea is that All-Stars keep the position for one year and then have the skills and framework to move on to a legitimate career – a stark contrast to the atmosphere around the job now, which is basically seen as a 5 year job with stability and no growth.

Therefore we’re revamping the contract All-Stars sign at the start of their year, matching it up with results of the planning week we had in late September. The program needs to see a ton of growth and institutional change to get it out of the slump it’s in right now. It does a very good job at what it is presently – a basketball organization with some life skills on the side – but that’s a dismal representation of what it should be. We should be a community wide organization thriving on teaching life skills, AIDS prevention, and other aspects of basic education, and also running a successful basketball program on the side as a way to get kids interested and involved in the organization.

/rant

Things haven’t really been that busy, I’ve just been pretty lazy about writing up a new post. If you want more constant interaction just email me – jack.robenalt@gmail.com – skype me – jack.robenalt – or send me money