Site Visits: A Nassau County, New York Perspective - Part 2

Nassau County, NY retreat, Summer 2008Dennis Reilly, Project Director of the Reclaiming Futures initiative in Nassau County, New York, continues yesterday's post
Planning for Implementation (cont'd)
By the summer of 2008, our project was losing steam. We needed to re-energize our planning process. So we set aside a full day for a retreat (with lunch!) to finalize our plan.

Each of the Nassau County Reclaiming Futures Fellows, along with our dedicated Deputy County Attorneys Gregg Roth and Arianne Reyer, agreed to present a section of the online curriculum to the planning team (see photo above).
This approach was great, because having a variety of different presenters always adds more depth and color to the discussion. Our review of the Reclaiming Futures online curriculum allowed us visualize the application to our community and finalize our implementation plan.
So, we had a good plan and had begun to carry it out ... but then we had to share it with the folks from the Reclaiming Futures National Program Office and our tough-as-nails Reclaiming Futures coach, Tom Begich! This was a little daunting, as the initiative we have planned is quite complex and the county is so large (over a million inhabitants and over 56 school districts!).
However, Laura, Jim, and Tom each assured us that the site visit was not a test, but an opportunity to recognize our achievements and share our challenges, so we could do problem-solving together. 
Conducting a Reclaiming Futures Site Visit
The Nassau County Reclaiming Futures planning team members held a meeting to prepare ourselves for the upcoming site visit and to discuss our approach. We reviewed our time task plans for our grant applications, discussed each element of the implementation plan, and realized that each person on the planning team had contributed an element to the plan. So, each person had a unique role to play in executing our strategic plan. And when the day for our site visit came, we were ready!
We started our site visit (click here for agenda) with a meeting of the Reclaiming Futures Fellows -- judicial, justice, treatment, community, and project director -- which gave each Fellow a chance to discuss their participation in their fellowship, and the impact that connecting with other Reclaiming Futures sites had had on our planning process.
This was a valuable exercise, as it allowed us to comment on how we had taken ideas from other sites and applied them to our own unique community. The support from the other Reclaiming Futures sites was not only valuable and freely given, but was given with such warmth, understanding and dedication, that these relationships continue to motivate us and inform our process.
Then the entire Nassau County Reclaiming Futures planning team assembled, and we showed a PowerPoint presentation of the goals, objectives and activities planned for each section of our implementation plan. Every planning committee member shared their insight into the areas that they are responsible for.
Challenges were shared, and suggestions for solutions were numerous. Pictures of the planning team at work were shown. A video of a particularly inspiring speech that our Deputy County Attorney Gregg Roth had given was shown. A Nassau County Juvenile Treatment Court participant’s phase movement essay was shared with the group. Our future plans were affirmed and supported by all those present. We were congratulated for what we'd achieved so far, challenged to aspire for more, and oriented for our next challenge, as we prepare our first Rapid Cycle Test.
This was a defining moment for our team, and we celebrated our progress! 

Updated: December 21 2008