Sunday, October 13, 2019

Drive the Race Car...

Recently, I had an opportunity to experience a professional development session with an educational activist and author who used the analogy of racing cars when trying to operate a school. While the analogy is similar to many other that you've probably heard, I felt that the message said from a slightly different perspective may make sense. Not having ever driven a race car, or any car at 200 mph, I lacked the background knowledge to understand that when traveling at that speed in a race, the driver needs to keep their eyes on the top two-thirds of the windshield and if they let their eyes wander to low on the windshield or dashboard, the potential for an accident increases dramatically. At first, people's reactions were so-so and many left thinking, "yeah, I guess that makes sense." As the presenting began making connections to the world of education, the light bulbs in the room began going off. Driving a race car (while it is the driver that gets most of the credit) is simply a part of being a team. And the driver relies on a host of people to also help guide the car around the track. There are team members monitoring the vitals (dashboard), tire usage, speed, fuel, other cars around their car, and much more. In essence, the driver simply needs to worry about the big picture while the team members worry about their functions of the team. And if ALL members of the TEAM stay focused on their responsibility, the team is successful and has a better chance to win the race. Thus, the driver focuses on the top part of the windshield so they can see things coming in front of them from further away, allowing them a better opportunity to react and adjust to a potential problem. When members of the team become focused on aspects of the race that they do not have any control over or are not necessarily expected to be focused on, the performance of the race car can break down and the team is not able to reach their maximum potential. I found this analogy powerful because we live in a society where everyone has more information than ever before. Not in all cases, but in some cases, people think that they may be an expert in a certain area simply because they have some experience with it. Also, thanks to the internet, we all have access and ability to learn new things through the simple process of some research. The ability for individuals to learn about things, however, does not make them an expert. While we can research various ailments online and learn a bit about what may be plaguing our health; the internet is no substitute for a visit to the doctor. Likewise, I can read a lot about how to drive a race car, but I'm pretty sure that I would not have the ability to walk onto a track and outperform someone who has been trained to do the job. Our society is no different. We are comprised of many intelligent people and when people work as a team and maintain their expertise, the group flourishes. Keeping the focus on the big picture while understanding what part of that picture we contribute to is the ultimate way to growth and success!!

Oneida Council Youth Services Council

As part of New York State’s Access to Childcare initiative, The Child Care Council received a grant to collaborate with the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council to survey child care needs as they affect our business and employer community in the Mohawk Valley.  This survey is meant to be taken by ANYONE, regardless of if you have children.  So please take it!  The survey aims to get real-time data on child care needs in the Mohawk Valley workforce – right now we use census data to generate statistical assumptions about child care needs. The council is asking for two things: Takes the survey yourself and send the link along to anyone else you know that may not have access. The survey will be open until November 1 and the survey can be found at this link:

Trunk or Treat Event

Trunk or Treat is all about safe, family fun and don't forget the candy! It's a holiday themed community tailgate party and it's completely free. You can expect bouncy castles, games, popcorn, cotton candy, prizes giveaways, and candy. The group will be awarding one lucky family 100 pounds of candy!! Plan on dropping by the Redeemer Church in Rome between 6:00 and 7:30 p.m. on October 31. For more information, please visit or call 315.792.4748. Trunk or Treat will take place at 129 N. Washington St. in Rome.

Free Bullying Prevention Workshop

One of our local karate dojos is sponsoring a free bullying prevention workshop on Friday, October 25 from 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. The seminar, sponsored by Bullyproof: Unleash the Hero Inside Your Kid and Sidekicks Karate, aims to give kids the tools they need to protect themselves and empower them to have the confidence to stand up for themselves and others. For more information, or to register, please visit this website: