2018 is the 5th year for the 5 Saturdays Initiative and we are excited to share knowledge and introduce 13- to 19-year-old high school students to Agile life skills, technology, and lean business startup. Currently, most of our students attend Early College High School (ECHS) in Costa Mesa, CA. Dr. David Martinez, principal of ECHS, has been a great partner for the past four years and we love the fact that he sees the value of Agility as a life skill.
Another important group that the 5 Saturdays program serves are industry professionals giving back and serving as learning facilitators to run the summer workshops. Learning facilitators are often people new to Agile practices or have limited experiences with Agility. What’s amazing is the enthusiasm the learning facilitators contribute to the program and the industry knowledge from their professional jobs. The learning facilitators come from various industries that include business analysts, software developers, Scrum Masters, job recruiters, Vice Presidents, and many more. The importance of the learning facilitators' presence is the mentoring role and insights they provide to the student’s future careers. Although some of those jobs may change by the time some of the students hit the job market, it is the exposure to the possibility of becoming an entrepreneur or working for a company that is important.
Each year these two distinct groups embark on a journey to learn Agile life skills and receive a new perspective to deliver value by the end of the 5 Saturdays program. Recently, someone said they were amazed about how much was accomplished in just 5 days, which is actually 4.5 hours each day that equals 22.5 hours in the total experience. In less than 24 hours, we transform high school students and industry professionals to embrace an Agile mindset.
The 5 Saturdays Initiative uses Agility in all aspects of the program, which includes Kanban, stand-ups, planning, sprints, retrospectives, estimating, and core Agile values. Students are provided Agile skills in developing a resume and job interview skills using Kanban to make work visible and experience the definition of done (DoD) principle. To make the interview experience real, students and learning facilitators experience “speed interviewing”, a gamified approach to multiple 3-minute interviews within 30 minutes. Students also innovate by developing concepts for a future business using the lean business canvas, develop a website, and pitch their final business ideas to a panel of sharks. Students also learn software development skills using C# for mobile application development and are given an opportunity to demonstrate their project at the end of the 5 Saturdays program.
In 2017, the first scholarships were given to two female students who attended the 5 Saturdays program for three years. First they were students, then joined the learning facilitators rank. Students are invited to become learning facilitators and learn valuable leaderships skills after they attend one year as a student and are 17 years of age the second year. In 2018, we are giving scholarships to two students, one male and one female because of their dedication to the 5 Saturdays program.
The goal of the 5 Saturdays program is to provide learning experiences by doing and iterating as quickly as possible to encourage limited experiments, embrace learnings, and engage in continual learning. The good news is we have learning facilitators that have been with the program for four years and are now members of the leadership council. Students are attending multiple years and serving as learning facilitators. It is becoming generational as one student who attended for three years and is a freshman in college, brought her twin brothers who were entered their freshmen year in the fall of 2017.
In 2019, we plan to have 5 Saturdays programs in Tucson AZ., Milwaukee, WI., Costa Mesa, CA., and introduce the program through a Community College in Orange County, CA.
Dr. Dave Cornelius is the founder of the 5 Saturdays program. If you believe in the power of Agility as a life skill as he does, please lend a helping hand by contributing your time and resources to the 5 Saturdays program. Visit www.5saturdays.org to learn more and donate to this life changing initiative.
Start a 5 Saturdays program in your community. It is like building a community garden that begins with planting a few seeds, nurture with kindness and care, and invite others to help you grow your community garden.
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