An Inspiring Week – SCARF Youth Camp

April 27, 2013 at 2:15 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

As we approach the end of this week I remain inspired by the experiences of the previous one. If you have been following our blog you would know that Explore Discover Act is all about providing opportunities to explore the possibilities, discover your potential and act authentically. This process is a journey of potential, being impacted by our connection to self, others and the world around us and witnessed through our daily thoughts, words and actions. So when I get the opportunity to work with and support incredible groups like the one I did last week there are so many reflections that race through my mind.

I was very excited last year when I first started discussing opportunities of supporting the passionate SCARF (Strategic Community Assistance to Refugee Families) team through a Youth Camp experience. SCARF is an independent, not-for-profit, community based incorporated association. It was established to enhance the resettlement process of permanent resident status refugee entrants in the Illawarra Region of NSW. They provide a variety of support programs and connection building opportunities for members of the refugee community, such as homework help, English for adults, driver mentoring, IT skills/training and enterprises and projects assistance. They are an inspiring community, believing in and supporting each other.

With the generous support of Rotary, SCARF was able offer a camp experience for 15 youth under the theme of ‘My Journey. My Potential’ in the first week of the school holidays. It was a privilege to be able to support the SCARF camp team, made up of staff and volunteers, to prepare for and assist in the facilitation of workshops and experiences that would challenge, inspire and empower the participants. The commitment, care, passion and team effort that I witnessed during all phases of the experience, planning, preparation, facilitation and reflection, highlighted to me the spirit and core values that SCARF live and breath on a daily basis. From the tireless Sharyn and Monique from the SCARF office, to the Santa Sabina College Tallong Campus team (the site, accommodation, catering and adventurous activity provider), to the SCARF young adult community members who epitomised the theme of the camp and shared their energy, gifts, talents and knowledge so freely over the four days, and finally to the various volunteers who attended and delivered workshops, drove the bus or whatever else needed to be done within the interdependent network that is SCARF.

Reflection 1:

“Each thought that is welcomed and recorded is a nest egg by the side of which more will be laid.” – Henry David Thoreau

I think we have all experienced entering a new group at some stage within our lives. We are doing it all the time when you think about it, going in and out of feeling surrounded by people who really know, love and support us and then interacting with others who we haven’t established connection with as yet. We can sometimes talk ourselves out of connection, not realising our own value and the connection that exists between us all as humans, regardless of any perceived differences such as age, gender, nationality, personality, looks, etc. Our ability to be open, vulnerable and courageous within the connection opportunities that life presents increases the networks of inspiring and supportive individuals and groups we have contact with who can assist us to make a difference in our own and others lives.

The welcome that I received from SCARF and the youth involved in the experience was incredible. I am constantly in awe of what is possible when ‘connect first’ thinking is evident. It produces the building of strong interdependent communities along with personal and shared learning allowing for increased levels of awareness and appreciation of each individual’s authenticity and potential. We can all take responsibility for our thoughts, challenging ourselves to be open, vulnerable and courageous, just like the group of youth that I had the pleasure to spend 4 days with.

Reflection 2:

“Hide not your talents, they for use were made. What’s a sundial in the shade?” – Benjamin Franklin

No opportunity was ever wasted over the 4 days that we were away. I’m not even talking about within the more formal opportunities such as workshops or adventurous activities where the participants tested their comfort zones and sought learning/insights that could assist them when they leave the camp, but I’m referring to those 10 minutes here or an hour of free time there that were maximised with enthusiasm. Not once in 4 days did I hear “I’m bored” or “I’ve got nothing to do”. What I was apart of was a group that grabbed guitars, sang and danced to various styles of music, all the time going out of their way to teach someone else who may not yet have the same abilities as themselves (I am going to put my hand up for all three right now, the encouragement I received as I tried to, and I’ll use the word loosely, dance, was incredible). There were impromptu games of volleyball, learning greetings or phrases in new languages, sharing of stories and the perseverance to work out challenges that I set them throughout the time away. The excitement that I witnessed as the first group to solve the handcuffs challenge came running out of the conference room during one of their breaks, after experimenting for 3 days and finally solving it will stay with me for a long time.

Reflection 3:

“We are each gifted in a unique and important way. It is our privilege and our adventure to discover our own special light.” – Mary Dunbar

The theme that was chosen by SCARF is such an important reflection for us all. If we neglect to honour our journey and potential, experiencing a disconnect from self, others and the world around us, it makes it more difficult to establish thoughts, words and actions that allow us to effectively deal with the successes and challenges that we encounter in our lives. This is an ongoing process, not just for children or for people who have been through a particular event, but for each and everyone of us. These 4 days away created a time and space for the group to have fun, explore individual and shared potential, learn about ourselves and others, build on or establish connections, be courageous while challenging ourselves and vulnerable in front of others, all the while experiencing what thoughts, words and actions are serving or limiting us within the journey. Within the busyness of 21st Century life we must all create these times and spaces as well, not necessarily time away at a camp but through a balanced life that includes opportunities, experiences and reflection.

“Use what talents you possess; The woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.” – Attributed to both William Blake and Henry Van Dyke

I am very grateful for the opportunity to spend 4 days with the SCARF team and participants. I look forward to exploring opportunities to further support the group as I am inspired by the individual and shared journey of potential that I witnessed. I consider myself very fortunate that I get to work with so many groups of inspiring individuals. It really is a privilege to facilitate opportunities to explore the possibilities, discover your potential and act authentically. Explore the link below to find out more about SCARF.


Daily Thoughts, Words and Actions out of the ‘Box’

April 12, 2013 at 11:42 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

“Human beings are not one dimensional.” – iO Tillett Wright from her talk linked above.

Whenever we attempt to place another person or group of people into a ‘box’, we do a disservice to self, others and the world around us. These predetermined judgements that we buy into serve to limit, separate and divide through perceived differences and fear, not allowing us to view the connection that exists between us all as humans and the acknowledgement of each individual’s authentic potential.

This journey of potential that each of us is on involves daily thoughts, words and actions. These thoughts, words and actions are our opportunities to connect, authentically engaging in making a difference in our own and others lives and fostering deepening purpose and meaning. Courage and the awareness and appreciation of our human vulnerability are required to effectively navigate these ongoing interactions. We can all assist in building an attitude of I Can, a belief in You Can, and inspiring We Can within our families, communities and the greater global village.

The personal and shared journey that is described in the TED Talk above may include different themes, issues or challenges to your own but it reflects a shared human experience. It is important that we continue to discuss and evaluate the ‘boxes’ that we try to place ourselves and others in as these can not reflect the complexity or multi dimensional elements of potential that make up the seven billion stories that are unfolding as I write. When we really look into the eyes of another, like the project that is being described in the TED Talk above, we see hopes, dreams, joy, sorrow, insecurities and experiences just like our own, as we are all human at our core.

Everyday individuals and groups within the global village attempt to navigate the successes and challenges of life. Consider how our daily thoughts, words and actions are impacted by individual and collective ‘boxes’ or limiting beliefs or actions and what we can continue to do to challenge these.

“I’m neither an optimist nor a pessimist. I am a dyed-in-the-wool possibilist! By this, I mean with an eco-mind, we see that everything’s connected and change is the only constant.” Frances Moore Lappé


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