The Incredible Years® Blog

19th Annual IY Mentor Meeting, IslandWood, Bainbridge, Washington, USA

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19th Annual Mentor Meeting

IslandWood, Bainbridge, Washington, USA

September 3-5, 2019

By Carolyn Webster-Stratton



This year 30 Incredible Years mentors/trainers came by school bus to the IslandWood retreat center on Bainbridge Island, 35 miles from Seattle.

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The Incredible Years Family

Back of IslandWood (2).jpgWe met for part of each day in light-filled, break out learning centers built with sustainable flooring: cork, bamboo, recycled rubber and concrete and bathrooms made with recycled plastic and composting toilets to reduce water use.  The sleeping lodges had solar-heated water from roofs and throw rugs woven from upholstery remnants and discarded clothing and beds had organic cotton bedding. Affordable electricity production from renewable sources included wind-power at the learning centers. The dining hall and welcome center had photovoltaic powered fans, salvaged wood beams, solar heating and natural ventilation. The incredible meals included local, organic and seasonal ingredients including vegan and gluten-free options.

Pond at islandwood.jpgThis beautiful, relaxed place nestled in 250 acres of mature forests and wetlands with miles of trails and a sustainably-built infrastructure facilitates thoughtful learning, sharing, support and collaboration among the Incredible Years international family. The nature backdrop and focus on sustainable resources served as a metaphor for our meeting focused on tailoring the IY programs according to children’s development, family culture and implementation principles. 

The facility rental costs are used to help preserve IslandWood as a place for teacher, parent and child learning experiences centered on justice-oriented environmental education and culturally-responsive teaching.

2019 Theme – Tailoring Incredible Years to Fit: Children’s Development, Family, Culture and Implementation Strategies

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Day One

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Wally relaxes and waits to share his problem with IY Mentors

Carolyn introduced Wally who was concerned that he looked different than before and she explained to him that he had been tailored. When Wally asked what tailoring meant and why this had been done to him, she said that she had carefully taken his measurements and customized him so he would always be incredible. Wally replied that he didn’t like his weird hair but did like his dimples. He said he would consult with the IY mentors about what tailoring involved and hoped that, in essence, he was still the same boy but wouldn’t mind some different hair.

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The first morning began with three incredible presentations.Caroline White presents DSC1076.jpg


The first, given by Caroline White, was entitled Building Sustainable Implementation in Manchester and reviewing the UK Government recommendations. This presentation reviewed the progress made in 21 years despite funding cuts as well as key factors in assuring fidelity delivery.  See her presentation. 


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The second presentation, given by Amanda Fixsen, Erin Albrecht, and the rest of the Invest in Kids team was entitled, Implementation in support and scale up the Incredible Years in Colorado. This report covered the past 10 years of dissemination work that recently had resulted in Colorado government support.  See their presentation. 


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The third presentation, by Diane Rzegocki, was entitled Implementation of the Incredible Years Parent, Teacher and Child Programs in West Bank. This too has been a 10-year project with one champion, Diane, who has collaborated with the teachers and parents in a school for children with behavior problems. See her presentation, and Learn more about Incredible Years program implementation in the West Bank on YouTube.


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The day ended with three small group break out groups in different locations with one group discussing tailoring implementation to communities or specific agencies, another tailoring to cultural groups, and the third to review a video presented by Lisa Herewini.

Day One Dinner

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Dinner Lindsay, Erin, Kimberley, Carolyn, Emily, Jamila, suzy, Micah DSC1098.jpg

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Michelle new mentor DSC1103.jpgOur day ended with fabulous and healthy food and later at the campfire, with silliness and songs from different countries.silliness at the firepit.jpg





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Lisa and Bjorn shared their musical skills with guitar accompaniment. Sadly, we were all too full from dinner to take advantage of the S’more supplies.Bjorn guitar.jpg




Day Two

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Carolyn started the day explaining how tailoring all the IY programs included making sure the IY group leaders, coaches and mentors were measuring each child according to their play level, language, temperament, cognitive status and developmental status. She introduced a new form entitled “How I am incredible?” to assess this data at the start of an IY group or coaching session.  See handouts for mentor meeting.


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The next presentation was given by Tania Anstiss and Lisa Herewini entitled, Tailoring for Māori: The Power of Whakawhanaungatanga, Aroha and Wairua in Parent Group Delivery.  This presentation covered more than 10 years of collaboration and tailoring that has resulted in successfully bringing the parent program to the Māori people in New Zealand.  See their presentation.


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Lisa greets Carolyn in Māori tradition and Carolyn congratulates Lisa for her Mentor accreditation, and for bringing the program to the Māori people



Lisa Herewini received her mentor accreditation in the parent program at this meeting. Lisa’s identity as Māori is central to her work with this population. Michele Jones, also of Māori decent, was starting her journey in the mentor accreditation process for the teacher program at this meeting.



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New Zealand team for IY Parent and Teacher programs


For the rest of the day, one group worked with Kimberlee Shoecraft to learn about the home coaching version of the IY parent program. One group worked with Carolyn on the critical components needed for passing a video review for accreditation/certification and reliability issues. The other groups reviewed video tapes shown by Peter, Suzy, Micah and Michelle of their work.

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At the end of the day Diana Linforth-Howden presented videos of families in New Zealand sharing their experiences as participants in the Parent Autism program. One of these videos showed a parent coaching and following the lead of her non-verbal son, and her delight as he counted numbers back to her before jumping off the sofa!


The day ended with the IY Olympics.  Peter Loft did an amazing job setting up the Olympics: sack races, three-legged races, and the popular fruit roll-up eating contest. Bethan was filming the event and was able to verify results for contested events via instant replay.

Day Three

Carolyn started the day with updates regarding new translations, new forms, hot tips, and new materials as well as information regarding the numbers trained in various countries.  See handouts for Mentor Meeting, and view pie chart on our website.

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The next presentation, by Siri Gammelsæter, was titled Parent Group Leader Training as a University Course, the new training model in Norway. This exciting presentation shows how the Incredible Years training protocol was incorporated into a 3 semester program of training and experience with support from coaches and mentors leading to a masters degree when group tapes were passed. See her presentation.

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The third presentation by Micah Orliss from Children’s Hospital Los Angeles was entitled Incredible Years Implementation in Los Angeles County: Adapting to Change and Creating Opportunities.

This amazing presentation showed how over the past 10-plus years they have incorporated IY training in the parent and child programs for psychology interns and fellows as well as for pediatricians, social workers and occupational therapists in their hospital. See his presentation.


Also from CHLA, Dean Coffey presented a paper entitled, Promoting Filipino Parent Enrollment in IY Using Culturally Tailored Marketing Video: An RCT.

Dean talked about his study with a behavioral pediatrician Joyce Javier to recruit Filipino populations to attend the school age IY parent programs in an effort to reduce suicide and depression in adolescents. See his presentation and learn more about the Filipino Family Health Initiative on You-Tube.


group work 1.pngThe afternoon was again spent in break out groups reviewing videos tapes presented by Dean, Tania, Julie, Anna, Cathy, Ceth and Eadaoin.

group work 2.pngAmazing contributions were made by those brave folks showed videos of their work to get feedback from others as well as by coaches who drew out the key learning principles.

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Coaches included Tania, Caroline, Kim, Diana, Siri, Angie, Jane, Micah, Peter, Cathy, Carolyn, Desiree, Sean, Emily, Lindsay and Suzy. I believe we had 100% involvement in sharing and giving feedback which was incredible!



Congratulations to New Mentors

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Jens Andersen, Eadaoin O’Brien, Suzy Hannen, & Lisa Herewini

In the past year, four mentors completed accreditation in their respective programs including:

  • Eadaoin O’Brien, Ireland, TCM Program
  • Jens Andersen, New Zealand, Parent Program
  • Lisa Herewini, New Zealand, Parent Program
  • Suzy Hannen, Colorado, Classroom Dina Program

We also welcomed new IY Mentors-in-training.

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Desiree & Eadaoin introduce new IY Teacher Mentor-in-training Michele Jones


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Emily Haranin, a new Mentor-in-training from CHLA








Food and Dinners Together

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The wonderful aspect of IslandWood is the amazing meals with all the IY family sitting together.

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This meant there was a chance for everyone to talk to each other in a relaxed manner in this beautiful spot.

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The final night we celebrated and danced together with selected music from Caroline White.

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Jamila, Carolyn, & Emily






Thanks to Jamila for all her incredible organization skills and ability to keep mentors moving on a time schedule from one group to another group. Thanks to Emily and Lisa for helping with so many details in regard to handouts and arranging venue and multiple other things.


Thanks also to the mentor team for being open to sharing their work and for supporting each other. They made this a successful meeting. I am so grateful to their commitment and persistence in their efforts to promote fidelity delivery of IY programs and tailoring to each parent, child, teacher or schools’ needs. For me the environment was one of a family caring for each other to achieve mutual goals for children… as you will remember this was one of my goals. Thank you for making this possible.

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– With great admiration, Carolyn

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