Thursday Thoughts: Think, One Newport.

December 6, 2017 12:21 pm

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Thursday Thoughts
By Steve Heath from Fab Newport!


Steve Heath_Fab Newport

We need your support to build an ecosystem of learning in Newport. A network empowering young people to take charge of opportunities for growth. Imagine the plethora of Newport-centric institutions, business, and recreational facilities–Preservation Society, IYRS, Newport Art Museum, Bike Newport, FabNewport, skatepark, Sail Newport, to mention a few–inviting youth participants. The vision is to have actual buttons–a cool, technical innovation serving as an invitation–mounted on the outside of buildings, gates, parks, docks, and businesses. Hit the button and it says, or reads, for example, “Welcome to the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Would you like to play tennis? Or court tennis? Or visit the museum?”

If a child wants to play tennis they are invited to an introductory lesson. If they like the tennis, they are invited to participate in a series of lessons. In addition to playing, the youth are exposed to an online playlist covering all aspects of tennis from the science and art and history and characters. In addition to lessons and “learning” the children have access to community members willing to play tennis with them. A simple text message or email would arrange a game. There might even be mentor-youth sessions in which interested juniors get to know adults willing to share their passion for the sport. Such a process is a true public education. An experience. A mixing of people with the intention of expanding community and growing opportunities.

Can you see replication? Imagine even a business such as the Marriott offering 60-minute tours to youth illustrating all the aspects of hotel work and life. One tour might be enough to let a student know they’ve seen enough while another child might want to know more about reservation systems, restaurants, concierge or real estate. On-site deeper learning would be offered in specific categories and hospitality-centric playlists would be available online.

We are born to learn. Humans have an appetite for experience and knowledge and networking. Most schools as we presently know them hem children in. Newport is a perfect place to launch another lively experiment, to give our youth the opportunity to explore.

At FabNewport, where I work, our mission is to liberate the maker intrinsic in all of us. And while we teach people how to make stuff, we are most interested in inspiring youth to make their lives. Our ultimate outcome is agency. If our emerging youth, our future leaders, possess even one valuable skill, something they are eager to share with the world, it could provide the confidence to launch them purposefully into an unpredictable world where perceptual learning is critical to success. The world needs explorers, problem identifiers, and problem solvers. Most children don’t grow those skills in school. They need a village to support their growth. Think, One Newport.