Becoming an Omaha Citizen via the FIT Team

Self ConfidenceMy invitation to be part of the FIT Team came as I was transitioning into a brand new job at the library.  As I was learning the ins and outs of a new branch and a new role that was further outside my comfort zone than any previous job, I was asked to train in something called facilitation.  If I were better at saying no, I might have at that point.  I would have really missed out on being part of something that was so terrifying and so special.

Since I was learning two new roles side by side, it is hard to separate out how each caused me to grow in different ways.  Since skills like public speaking and facilitating a group were big parts of both roles, I think they fed into each other very well.  My new job made me better at facilitating.  Being part of facilitation training made me better at my job.

As a Teen Library Specialist I was sent to schools to talk to kids about the library and summer reading.  I had never been asked to do anything like this before.  I found my own way through the first year.  When I went out the second year, I could clearly see improvement in the presentation quality and my delivery.

My level of confidence in my facilitation skills varies day by day.  I have days I feel lacking and days where I’m strutting around because I rock.  However I can generally tell I’m more confident and comfortable approaching groups of people.  This is especially true for groups I don’t know.

One of my supervisors at work told me that I carry myself … older now.  She said the last time I interviewed with her pre-FIT Team experience I came across as very young.  It wasn’t just my young face but more how I carried myself.  That was fascinating to hear as it was something I wasn’t aware of.  In retrospect, I can see where I am now and what she meant about where I was before.

This experience has changed me as a citizen as well.  In our project teams we were tasked with figuring out how to build up community engagement.  This was very new to me.  Since I am a transplant to Omaha and moved around regularly growing up, I was never anywhere long enough to invest in the community.  It had never occurred to me to start now.

As we worked to figure out what Omaha issues we wished to tackle and find out who was involved in them, I was at a loss.  I didn’t know Omaha.  People were throwing out names and areas of town I had never heard before.  Although I haven’t become a travel guide on Omaha and all it has to offer, I am closer than before.  I feel more connected with Omaha and more engaged in my own community.

Posted by Autumn Hill, Facilitator-in-Training

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