This Tuesday and Wednesday, August 18 and 19, Link Crew is coming to Bainbridge High School. No oar locks will be involved. Instead, 70 peer mentors will be trained to help incoming freshmen navigate the sometimes rougher waters of high school.
Link Crew is a program of the Boomerang Project, a Santa Cruz-based company with the goal of making “schools great, safe, and connected places for kids to learn.” The purpose of the Link Crew program is to welcome freshmen and make them “feel comfortable throughout the first year of their high school experience.” The creators of the program claim the program increases school safety, reduces the incidence of bullying, increases attendance, decreases discipline referrals, and improves academic performance. Their website explains that “Through this program, freshmen learn that people at school care about them and their success and leaders experience increased self esteem as well as overall character development.”
Bainbridge Youth Services engaged the support of incoming BHS principal Duane Fish for this year’s pilot program and then paid to send Katie Leigh, who is the BHS National Honor Society liaison, health teacher, and Leadership Class teacher, to California this summer for formal training in the Link Crew methodology. Leigh will lead the program along with Cezanne Allen of the BI Healthy Youth Alliance and Charisa Moore, a BHS Science teacher (and Bainbridge Island Rowing Masters Team member).
Link Crew is a year-long program based on four elements:
- High School Orientation. Link Leaders and freshmen start building the mentor relationship and freshmen receive information about how to be successful in high school.
- Academic Follow Ups. Link Leaders support freshman academic success and character development through structured classroom visits.
- Social Follow Ups. Link Leaders and freshmen connect outside the classroom at social events to increase student engagement and promote positive school climate.
- Leader Initiated Contacts. Link Leaders connect with their freshmen on a more individual basis.
The student peer mentors who applied to the program had to fill out a comprehensive application form outlining why they thought they were strong leaders and why they wanted to lead this program. Then each applicant’s six teachers had to sign off on the application to indicate the student’s strong candidacy.
Once the peer mentors are trained in team building and leadership techniques, they will be assigned in pairs to teams of 10 incoming freshmen. All freshman will then participate in the Link Crew orientation day on Friday, August 21, from 11-3. BYS Executive Director Marina Cofer-Wildsmith said they are calling the orientation the Spartan Start Up.
- More Than 900 Runners Sweat It out for Fun Run: See Who Won
- Get Ready to (Fun) Run for BYS
- Bainbridge Island Youth Shine Sunday in Spotlight of Compassionate Action Awards
- Bainbridge Youth Services Turns 50, Tells Powerful Stories About At-Risk Youth
- Bainbridge Masters Rowers Bring Home Nine Medals from Regionals
- Third Healthy Youth Summit Focused on Who Bainbridge Kids Are, Not Just What They Do
- The Bainbridge Healthy Youth Revolution Continues This Weekend: Inspiring You and Your Youths
- First Bainbridge Healthy Youth Summit Draws a Crowd of Focused Parents and Other Community Members
Photo courtesy of ben britten.