Savvy Teen Academy Review 2/8/16


18th-22nd of July 2016, University College Cork, Health and Science building, Brookfield.


Monday the 18th  "Building Confidence"

The first day of any Summer Camp was always daunting for me, mix that in with being a teenager and not knowing what to expect and I was ready to turn around and go home. To start the course we were introduced to both Monica and Susan who would be the ones delivering the course and then we took it in turns to go around the room and introduce ourselves using various little exercises. After our first break we came back and started into Confidence, Assertiveness & Disagreeing Agreeably, this taught us how to present ourselves, assert ourselves and what we really want in a polite manner and being fair about disagreeing, it all sounds like things you already know and like common sense but in all seriousness I feel now as if they're vital things you need to know how to do properly. We broke for lunch and returned to our first guest speaker of the week, Fionnbar Walsh, Father of the late Donal Walsh, from the LiveLife Foundation. Fionnbar's powerful presentation and words taught us all to appreciate life as we know it, and take every opportunity along our way. To wrap up the day we each gave a short presentation on a person we look up to, to execute the confidence skills we had learned earlier in the day. I felt that finishing with that exercise really brought us closer as a group because through giving a presentation we all learned something new about each of us so although I was tired I couldn't wait to jump back into it the very next morning.


Tuesday the 19th  "Communicating as a Team"

To kick off the day we played "Get to Know Each Other Bingo", this exercise again helped bring us closer together as a group. Next we were split into groups for a quiz on yesterday's topics. After those formalities we went through Communication Tips & Techniques. We did a variety of exercises to see what we already knew and how to put our new skills into practise. We returned from our break and jumped into Careers and a CAO Workshop. Susan started to break down what we may be interested in as regards a career and showed us how to operate the CAO system in the most beneficial way possible. We went for lunch on what has been named the hottest day of the year out in the gardens of UCC and to say it was sheer bliss would be an understatement.Students in the Sun

After we finishing tanning we headed back in to hear from our guest speaker of the day Ger Canning the RTÉ Sports Presenter. He spoke to us about how it's never really just a one man show, his own story and about the realities of working in sports media. We finished the day with a teamwork activity. Although it was the hottest day of the year I would have gladly picked doing this over going to a beach overflowing with people!


Wednesday the 20th "Carving out your own path"

We started our day with covering some study skills, tips and tricks that will in turn make the process faster and more effective. After our first break we came back to cover Self Awareness, in this we learned what kind of people we are, how to develop ourselves and how to work with others who think differently to you. This section in particular I felt was very worthwhile, and sparked a big discussion among the group. Joanne O'Riordan was our guest speaker of the day and my favourite of the course. She spoke about her life and how she has gotten to where she is today, she told us 3 stories for us to keep in times of difficulty or stress, and to cut a long story short she was mad crack! We wrapped up the day with with a brief talk on digital skills and our online reputation, basic things you need to know to keep yourself safe and secure online.


Thursday the 21st " Making the most of your money"

We began our day with a CV & Cover letter writing class, we each wrote a CV on a given template and were advised in the do's and the simply do not's, what would make you stand out in the eyes of the employer and how to structure it correctly. Monica (a professional writer in the CV & Cover letter world) even offered to review and correct our own personal CV's so long as they're sent onto her within 24 hours after the course is completed. After our break we had A beginner's guide to the stock market which sparked a huge discussion among the group and it's a sure thing that a lot of us in the room will go on to trade with stocks in the near future after it! When we returned from lunch we had a Drama Workshop with Emer Halpenny which for me was one of the highlights of the week. This, along with being bundles of fun, taught us how to improvise, work as a group and perform confidently and to the best of our ability under pressure. Going home on Thursday evening it began to sink in that tomorrow was our last day and I didn't want it to end.


Friday the 22nd "Taking care of yourself"

To start our final day we had a Sex, drugs and alcohol Q&A with Aoife Weissman a nurse who is specialised in those areas. To avoid embarrassment for some we each wrote down our questions and put them in a box each of them were answered and sometimes one would make someone think of another and Aoife was always more than happy to stop and answer questions as we went along. After our break we were given tips for interviews, like how to be prepared to answer difficult questions on the spot without being phased. We were also advised on what sort of careers would suit us and how to get them. Our last lunch was over and we went back in to do Finance & Budgeting and Finance Activity, in this we discussed everything to do with money, basic things that you wouldn't otherwise think of, the sort of things that will really stand to us all when college comes around. We then went on to do Teen Entrepreneurship, we were separated into groups and had to come up with an imaginative business plan in the space of 10 minutes. We all took turns to pitch our ideas and to hear what everyone else thought of. To conclude the course we had a small graduation ceremony, we were all presented with a copy of one of Susan's books, "The Savvy Guide to Making Money", (which I would HIGHLY recommend!!!) with a personal message left inside for all of us, a certificate and were asked to tell the group something they didn't know about you. We all went our separate ways but we've all remained in touch and will continue to do so because who said all good things must come to an end!


To conclude, I would like to express what a wonderful and valuable experience this was, all of what I have learned this week will stand to me for a lifetime and for that I will always be grateful to The Savvy Teen Academy.


Rebecca O'Neill

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