CoreFire Mentoring System

Youth Lead Training

Vo-Zone themed experiential training sessions are called “Rescue Training” because participants train to be part of the search-and-rescue team the CoreFire Commandos. Rescue Training can take place in a variety of locations including a themed permanent Vo-Zone facility or any open area such as a community center gym, school cafeteria, large meeting room, etc. This unique, first of its kind, high energy training system brings together teams of 8 to 10 participants to work at specific Training Activities including team building, logical, physical, and mental challenges. Similar to a real Rescue Mission, the team members must learn to work together in order to succeed. Training Activities are displayed and scored on the CoreFire App on a mobile device used by a Fired-Up Intern Facilitator who is trained to lead their team in a way that creates a very enthusiastic atmosphere. Vo-Zone has tested this “youth lead” training system with thousands of participants, with many professionals saying Rescue Training is the “Best teambuilding event ever” and many urban students say it is “The best experience of their life”. (Comments available.)
Competitive play, or what is more recently referred to as “gamification”, is a powerful tool that stimulates our minds, builds trust, breaks barriers, connects us to others, opens doors to learning, and teaches us lessons about ourselves. That is why purposeful competitions underpin the Vo-Zone training system. CoreFire Rescue Training competitions motivate participants to tap into their mental, physical and value-based strength.
Students need mentors from their own neighborhoods. Mentors who understand the hardships of living in a particular area, who understand what obstacles must be overcome and how to overcome them. Rescue Training serves as a bridge. It connects high-achieving students to their younger peers. It creates an opportunity to shift the direction of peer pressure toward learning a trade and the honor in working hard as a member of team.

By Donterrio Tate: (in the photo above – for left – leading a group of peers) When we talk about training thousands of youth, using the Vo-Zone system, that is real. I know this because I helped create the Vo-Zone system. If you asked me to show up at a gym or classroom to train 8 students, well I’d have no clue what to do. I’d rather not even try. It is not that I don’t care about my friends and neighbors. It’s just without an easy-to-use system in place, it would be a frustrating waste of time for everyone. On the other hand, working with a group of 8 students, using the Vo-Zone system we created, you can count me in because I have already experienced it.
The Vo-Zone System focuses on the power of play. To get 8 different people to work together, well it really helps if it is a fun game. Most people my age are pressured to rebel. With gamification, this is replaced with a desire to win the game. The peer pressure is now to help.
Most of the lessons in the Vo-Zone system come with the ability to access and record scores on your phone. But this system also works with Professionals. When I was in 10th grade, using our Vo-Zone system, I led many groups of professionals from companies like FedEx and AutoZone and they loved it. When the session was done, they gave the most positive comments. It was encouraging to know I could receive that kind of positive feedback from adults. But without having an organized, prepared, and gamified system, I could not lead a group of executives and supervisors through a training session.
Culture Shift
It helps when the younger students we are working with know I have delt with some of the same challenges they deal with. Through our Immersive Storylines, discussions about these issues come up. But if we are not having fun, on a simulated rescue mission, solving puzzles, working together, those discussions would not be as effective. For students who are struggling, an immersive experience creates a platform where they are more inclined to open up.
To work with youth, especially youth in tough neighborhoods, it has to be more fun than whatever else is going on down the street. And then it has to continue to be fun so they will keep coming back. Doesn’t matter if that is right or wrong, that is the way it is.

Scalable Mentoring

Consider the typical urban youth program which are run by adults. If one successful leader can inspire 10 youth to pursue a vocation, that would be a good year. Paying a full-time youth leader $35,000 a year, it would take $35 million dollars each year to inspire 10,000 students.

Consider the possibility of training and paying high school Interns to mentor a team of 8 students. You can train 10,000 youth at a fraction of the cost of paying adults. And if the Interns are paid from ticket sales to a Vo-Zone, you are not taking funding away from other non-profits who do not have the ability to produce income.

Comments from Youth Participants at Vo-Zone Training Events:

South Park Elementary, “It was the funnest day of my life.”
Sherwood Middle School, “I have never had so much fun in my life!
Douglass High School, “I have never had this much fun.”
Craigmont Middle, “…most of all I loved how dedicated our coach was.”
Maddux Elem., “I wish we could come here every day!”
Dogwood Elem. “They taught you stuff in a fun way!”
American Way Mid. “I wish I could come here every week.”

Comments from Professionals at Teambuilding Events lead by Interns using the Vo-Zone System:

FedEx, “Best teambuilding I’ve been on.”
United Way, “Best team building EVER!!!”
Chick-fil-A, “Literally the coolest experience ever.”
Hosptial Wing, “Funnest thing I’ve done in a long time.”
Nike-Finance Dept., “Best team building event ever.”
Teach for America, “This was wickedly awesome!”
International Paper, “I’ve never experienced a team building event as unique as this one.”