What is PATH?
PATH is a style of planning which works well when a child or young person has a group of people around him or her who are committed to making things happen. These people and the young person meets with 2 facilitators – one of these, the ‘graphic facilitator’ will draw on large pieces of paper on the wall to represent the young person’s path forward.
Step 1 – The dream
The facilitator asks the young person about their dreams for the future. The young person might talk very generally about how he/she would like life to be different, or much more specifically about how she would like to live day-to-day. The graphic facilitator draws this up as the person talks.
The facilitators may ask other people to make suggestions, but will always check back with the young person at the centre. Their dream for the future guides the rest of the meeting.
Step 2 – Sensing the goal
The facilitators ask everyone to imagine that a year has passed and that they are back in the same room remembering what has happened.
Everyone tells the facilitators what it is like to live in this better future, what events have taken place and what they have all done to make the dream more of a reality. There are two rules to this stage – all goals recorded have to be both positive and possible.
Step 3 – Now
Step 3 looks at the situation now and the difference between where the group is now and where everyone wants to be in a year‘s time.
Step 4 – Enrol/Who‘s on board?
None of the goals are achievable by the person working on her own. Step 4 looks at who needs to help. This could be people at the meeting, but also those who are not present. Sometimes there are people who could stand in the way of the goals. Their names are recorded so that a strategy can be developed for winning them over.
Step 5 – How are we going to build strength?
This can sometimes be a very important step in identifying what the group will need to do to maintain strength and commitment to their goals.
It can sometimes be as simple as meeting regularly and supporting each other by phone. Sometimes it means acknowledging and changing destructive patterns in the group.
Step 6 – Three/six month goals
The facilitator asks the group to pick a date within the next year, normally either three or six months later, and to set interim goals.