It’s official, fam – Day One is in the books! Shout out to New England weather for finally getting its act together and gracing us with blue skies for this morning’s drop off. Thank you to the dedicated drivers who woke up early to drop off our delegates, and kudos to the delegates themselves for arriving with big smiles, ready to dive into the conference.
We’ll be posting nightly updates recapping our daily activities, so check back each day to hear how things went!
Confluence is a MassSTAR tradition – it’s the first time we’re meeting each other, and right off the bat, we get the energy going. This is our opportunity to meet as many people as possible and to begin to get to know each other.
First Group Meeting
Throughout the weekend, delegates work together in groups of 8-9 sophomores, with one junior and one senior facilitator per group. This year’s groups were named after a space theme, and during this first meeting, groups design their sign and brainstorm their group roll call.
Keynote Speaker: Representative Adrian Madaro, 1st Suffolk District
Representative Adrian Madaro of the 1st Suffolk District came to speak to our delegates about how he came to be elected to represent his hometown of East Boston in the Massachusetts House of Representatives while still in his 20s. Representative Madaro touched on all five points of the MassSTAR curriculum in his speech – collaboration, initiative, intentionality, responsibility, and respect – and shared some of the ways he worked to achieve his goals. The delegates had a chance to ask questions at the end of the speech, and their queries showed insight and sophistication.
Walk the Line
Our Director of Alumni Relations, Alex Gomez (MYL’10), led our first workshop of the weekend. Walk the Line helps our delegates to learn more about each other while preserving a safe space. Through the comfort of anonymity, delegates shared their honest feelings about their communities, their experiences, and their histories.
Energizers & Games
Our days are jam-packed at MassSTAR, and it’s important that we break up the day, so between speakers we took the opportunity to play some games and get moving. These games serve as energizers while also helping our delegates to get more comfortable with their peers and their environment.
Dynamic Influence: Robert Hackenson Jr.
To mix things up, we brought in Robert Hackenson Jr., an “edutainer” with a background in magic whose dynamic presentation skills kept our delegates engaged while also helping them to learn how they can take control of their own minds and outlook. Robert believes when it comes to speaking it’s more than just what you say, it’s how you deliver the messages. If the audience is bored, the important messages are lost – and our delegates certainly were not bored!
Exploring the Communities We Build – “The Ice Cream Game”
The best part of any meal is dessert, so after our dinner break, we came together for another MassSTAR tradition – Exploring the Communities We Build, fondly knowns as the Ice Cream Game. Our facilitator, Rosette Cataldo, is an alum of the MYL Foundation and has been running this workshop for us for over twenty years. During the activity delegates compete to see who can build the best community with the resources they have at hand – and the debrief is always one of the highlights of the weekend. This workshop is truly a once in a lifetime experience – once you’ve participated, you can never again experience the workshop as a participant. It’s impossible to explain the program in words, so ask a delegate about their experience – we promise they’ll have quite a bit to say!
A-WAY Slam Poetry Team
As our final presentation of the day, the A-WAY slam poetry team, a team formed of Massachusetts high school students, joined us to share their words with our delegates. Their performance sparked some great discussions in our nightly debrief. We hope their poetry inspires our delegates to try their hands at poetry of their own!
Debriefs & Lights Out
Before returning to the dorms, our groups gathered for a debrief to talk through the events of the day. We build these debriefs periodically into our schedule to create the processing space for our delegates to talk through the presentations they’ve seen and the workshops they’ve participated in. Our facilitators raise questions and guide delegates through the topics we’ve covered.
We had an awesome first day and we can’t wait to see what else our delegates bring to the table tomorrow! Check back later in the weekend for our Day Two and Day Three updates!