I had only ever seen “Challenge Day” on MTV, but after participating in a Challenge Day activity I wanted to read more into the program and see what it has to offer young people in the public school education system. I went online to the official Challenge Day website and read up on the program and how it is actually implemented. http://www.challengeday.org/index.php
Does something like Challenge Day really work to bring peace awareness and education to youth? I found the answer to this question to simply be, yes it does. I had never thought something such as a Challenge Day or even one of the activities from it would have an effect on me or allow me to open up to my peers so they could genuinely understand who I was. Then again, you never know what you are personally capable of until you allow yourself to move outside of your comfort zone and discover yourself.
Challenge Day is best suited for young adults starting at the middle school age and can be used from there on up, in my opinion. One thing I do believe for Challenge Day to be effective is that the people participating have to be able to understand their emotions. A reason I don’t think Challenge Day would have as much of an impact on young elementary aged children is because they may not be as developed in comprehending and expressing their emotions. Challenge Day goes through a series of activities that allows students who have never talked to one another to share stories, laughter, and a range of emotions throughout the day. These activities can sometimes start out as weird or uncomfortable because you never know how deep someone will actually go, but the end results are so amazing!
I believe every middle school, high school, and even college level professor should implement at least one challenge day during the semester because of how much time it requires. It does take 6.5 hours at least, so the professors would have to set aside an entire day to successfully complete Challenge Day. Here is how it works: http://www.challengeday.org/how-challenge-day-works.php.
So here is what I’m going to do…I’m going to challenge teachers that come across this blog to plan and execute a Challenge Day with their schools, whether it’s this year or next year. I never thought I’d be a believer of the phenomenon “Challenge Day” that was aired on MTV, but it does work. It gives students the chance to dive into a form of Peace Education that doesn’t require reading books and articles, but gives them the first hand experience in seeing peace at work and them being the peacemakers.
I really wish that Challenge Day existed when I was in middle school and high school. It is something I strongly believe should be implemented into the public school educational system. I believe it can bring change and help develop peace education and conflict resolution techniques at an early age.
Here are research and evaluations about Challenge Day from the website: http://www.challengeday.org/challenge-day-evaluations-research.php
Here are some articles about schools and Challenge Day: