The Hemophilia Foundation of Oregon has always brought a certain kind of ingenuity and creativity to their teen program and events. We have the privilege to work with HFO on a wide breadth of program modalities, from surfing instruction on the coast to snowshoeing on Mt. Hood. Oregon’s diverse landscape affords a variety of outdoor pursuit options for a teen event, but it takes motivated leaders to take advantage of these options and make a robust teen program with it’s own tradition, legend, and excited cohort of returning participants and volunteers.
Last weekend, we worked with HFO to deliver the third annual YETI ‘unconference.’ YETI brings together chapter staff and and medical staff from around the country (and this year, even Ethiopia), to learn and share about topics related to planning, delivering, and sustaining extraordinary teen programs and events in the bleeding disorders community.
We call YETI an ‘unconference’ because it’s unlike the traditional indoor keynote and workshop laden events where people try to network and develop their professional skills. We trade in plastic lanyards for wooden name tags… expensive stuffy hotel rooms for shared community cabins. We breakdown the rigid schedule and give the group agency over each day’s events.
YETI is designed to give the adult attendees the experience of attending a teen event, while still delivering professional high level training and networking opportunities.
Each team of adult attendees may invite a teen from their community to take part in a concurrent teen retreat happening along side the adult training. Chaperones and programers from HFO’s established teen program lead the group through team development experiences and give them a chance to build bonds that will last a lifetime across the country.
Several times during the weekend, we integrate the adult attendees and the teen participants in experiential activities that let them learn from each other. This year, mixed teams designed ‘YETI’s Got Talent’ style performances and traversed a high ropes course.
We were excited to come back to YMCA Camp Collins just a half hour outside of Portland and the airport. Collins boast one of the largest high ropes challenge course in the northwest and gives us a special opportunity to integrate our training points into experiential and engaging team challenges. Attendees also enjoyed not-so-rustic cabins with radiant floor heating, electricity, and an elaborate bathhouse. All this helped set up the attendees for long days learning, connection, and fun.
Check out this gallery and video from the weekend, and feel free to get in touch if you have any questions about YETI!