In Partnership With

May 1, 2017 at 7:53 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Last Friday we woke up to the most beautiful blue skies. We set up for our Camp Adventure Day experience at the most beautiful sea side park location. And we welcomed the most beautiful Year 3 and 4 students into an action packed program that explored the role of resilience in our journeys of potential. What a great day it was! The photo above is of some of the participants from the red group challenging themselves and having so much fun on the rock climbing wall.

“Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.” – James Cash Penney

As the day progressed I started thinking about how being in partnership with multiple individuals and groups made the day even more special. The rock climbing wall is from a company who we are able to partner with if one of our client schools wants to add this to the experience. Council are always so accomodating with the use of public spaces that support the requirements and outcomes of a particular program day. And of course working in partnership with the client school and participants fosters the incredible relationships we enjoy with them.

“We cannot accomplish all that we need to do without working together.” – Bill Richardson

We are just so privileged to be able to explore the possibilities, discover potential and act authentically together with those who we are in partnership with. The feedback the accompanying teachers on the day left us with (below) highlights this interconnectedness best. Whether it’s school, home, local community or us as external providers, we all want the same thing. To see that the students have the opportunity to be engaged, challenged and inspired so that they can continue to grow, learn and make a difference.

“This always proves to be an excellent character building program. It is very well received and appreciated by parents. The local community find the program interesting and we get many positive comments on the day. Great job Cameron – we always love working with you and your team.” – Stage 2 Teacher

A Question To Reflect On

March 27, 2017 at 6:28 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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The other week I was asked a particular question that’s had me thinking. It’s one of the joys of working with kids, there’s definitely plenty of curiosity bouncing around. I had worked with the whole Year 6 cohort two weeks before. Then on this particular day I was back supporting the Year 6 elected leaders who were preparing to implement a new Ambassador Program within their school community.

“Never lose a holy curiosity.” – Albert Einstein

During one conversation I was asked, why are you so passionate about other people’s learning? The list of things that I’ve been asked over the years is diverse, but this questions directness, and the context of what we were discussing at the time, made me stop. I immediately thanked him for the question. I was then flooded with memories of the gratitude I feel for the way my family, teachers and others have shown up for me within my learning and leadership journey. Then really importantly I was reminded of why.

“People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.” – John C. Maxwell

Why our vision, fostering ‘informed, connected and empowered individuals believing deeply in their own and others potential’. Why our mission, ‘provide experiences and ongoing communication that promote exploring the possibilities, discovering potential and acting authentically’. Why influence, not control, as the way we lead and make a difference. And above all else, why I am so privileged to do what I do.

“Leadership is not about a title or a designation. It’s about impact, influence and inspiration.” – Robin S. Sharma

The context of what we were discussing was how this boy wanted to make other Year 6 students feel when he shares activities with them as the program is rolled out. He made a connection to how he had felt two weeks before, and then on this day as well. As founder and lead facilitator of Explore Discover Act, I am proud to offer programs and experiences that reflect our deep belief in the potential of each individual. I can’t wait to hear about the ripples created by these courageous leaders thoughts, words and actions as the year goes on.

“Human potential is the only limitless resource we have in this world.” – Carly Fiorina

The Heart of Leadership

March 13, 2017 at 6:30 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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“Compassion is a verb.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

I absolutely loved this video above when I watched it last week. It made me stop. It made me think. It made me feel. And then most importantly it moved me into action. All week since I first watched it I’ve been hyper aware of the role of compassion in leadership. I think it lies right at it’s heart.

“True compassion means not only feeling another’s pain but also being moved to help relieve it.” – Daniel Goleman

We’re all navigating complex and challenging journeys of potential. Some of that complexity and those challenges are visible for all to see. Some of that complexity and those challenges are shared with only those closest. While some of that complexity and those challenges are kept within. No one in our global village gets a free ride. So how we grow our awareness around, foster and practice compassion towards self, and then let it ripple out to those within our spheres of influence is so important.

“The best leaders blend courage with compassion.” – Robin Sharma

Leadership is purposeful. And that purpose comes to life when we use our thoughts, words and actions to make a difference in our own and others lives. It’s vulnerable to put yourself out there like that though. To notice. To care. And then have the courage to act from that heart space. It’s in the ongoing micro moments, day after day, week after week, month after month, that we’re able to embody the quote, ‘leadership is action, not position’. That’s where the magic happens.

“Compassion is the ultimate expression of your highest self.” – Russell Simmons

What connects with your highest self when you watch this short video? How do you want others to feel after you’ve interacted with them? What daily thoughts, words and actions might require courage if we are to lead but create the types of ripples that help ourselves and others to ‘be the change’? What do you believe is at the heart of leadership?

“Compassion doesn’t weaken leadership, it makes it stronger.” – Rudy Giuliani

What Happens Next…

February 13, 2017 at 5:32 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I often express our belief that leadership is a shared endeavour, not a solo sport, to the participants we support. As the lens is widened to the difference we can make, instead of just focussing in on the position might take, a diversity of opportunities to engage, challenge and inspire are opened up (both for us individually and collectively). Our learning and leadership environments play a big part in our growth and development as well. This is why environments like the one I walked into on Thursday excite me so much. It has a lot to do with the quote below.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” – African Proverb

At the beginning of each year a large group of schools in a particular area of Sydney send their school leaders away for 3 days. Amazingly dedicated teachers organise a diverse and meaningful program at the camp that empowers and strives to set up for success the Year 6 students for the year ahead. They’re interested in action, what happens next, but most importantly they’re interested in also creating support networks around these leaders so that they can confidently stretch, grow and contribute within their home school environments. I love having the opportunity to facilitate two half day sessions amongst the incredible schedule they’ve created.

“The role of leaders is not to get other people to follow them but to empower others to lead.” – Bill George

The sessions were such a pleasure. Watching, listening to and sharing amongst these student leaders had my inspiration meter peaking. But what happened next tipped me over the edge. It was the final circle of the day. 80 students invited to finish the session as it should be, in their hands. How they did this, what it looked, sounded and felt like, and what was shared was up to them. I stepped out and was privileged, along with the teachers present in the room, to be apart of something special.

“The task of leadership is not to put passion into people, but to inspire and elicit it, for the passion is already there.” – Ty Howard

Moderation, if required, was a shared responsibility. Inclusiveness and contribution were celebrated. When one girl stumbled sharing a quote she thought was important, the next to share compassionately related her reflection to without mistakes we can’t ever get to success. It was dynamic. It was authentic. And most importantly it reminded us all of what’s possible when we hold space for, foster and then embody the vision of ‘informed, connected and empowered individuals believing deeply in their own and others potential’. What happens next is absolutely in their hands. I can’t wait to hear about the ripples that are created as each student explores the possibilities, discovers potential and acts authentically each and every day.

A not The

February 6, 2017 at 7:08 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Sometimes you’re gifted with a participants phrasing during a reflection that will resonate so deeply. Phrasing that will never leave you after that moment because of its transferable wisdom. It’s the biggest privilege as a facilitator when someone languages something with such succinct beauty. Last Thursday provided for one of these occasions. I am extremely grateful that this participant had the courage to share what she was processing throughout the experience.

“Leadership is based on inspiration, not domination; on cooperation, not intimidation.” – William Arthur Wood

This girl responded within the reflection that she’d be taking away a desire to become a leader not the leader. It may seem like a subtle difference but to us it is such an important one. Imagine a global village where we as individuals and groups owned our ability to make a difference in our own and others lives each and every day. Imagine a global village where we as individuals and groups embodied leadership as inclusive, collaborative and inspiring. Imagine a global village where we as individuals and groups sought to influence and build, rather than control and fix. We imagine this every day; and have the privilege of working with incredible students who imagine this as well.

Buzzing

December 5, 2016 at 6:38 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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What an amazing week! It was definitely one that was full of moments that left me buzzing. From spending a weekend away for a friend’s birthday, an inspiring meeting with the woman who runs student leadership at the University of Wollongong, fantastic program days with new and existing clients, and finally a friend’s joyous and connection filled wedding yesterday, I was left with so many reminders as to what’s most important as we navigate our journeys of potential.

“Joy is not in things; it is in us.” – Richard Wagner

The tree swing I’m on above was from the weekend away for my friend’s birthday. It was such a playful weekend (not surprising I guess with the amount of Outdoor Ed leaders who were present). There were plenty of impromptu games and stories, giant swings, surfing (trying to learn for me), beach cricket, archery, walks, dance off’s (inevitable with a Michael Jackson themed party night), and everything in between. Such authentic people, giving generously of their time, energy and spirit, ripples joy throughout the moments shared whenever we have the opportunity to get together.

“Collaborate with people you can learn from.” – Pharrell Williams

I’m so excited to be collaborating with SCARF (Strategic Community Assistance for Refugee Families) over the next 12 months, offering a year long leadership program for their youth. In our first introductory meeting a few weeks ago I got chatting to the Youth Program Coordinator about all things leadership. From that conversation he then connected me to the inspiring woman who runs student leadership at the University of Wollongong. Before, during and after that meeting this week with her I’ve been constantly buzzing. The opportunities we discussed have me so excited for what’s coming in 2017.

“The real gift of gratitude is that the more grateful you are, the more present you become.” – Robert Holden

I am so very grateful for all of our existing and new client schools. I love how present, purposeful and humbled I feel as I am facilitating our program days. It is such a privilege to be able to engage, challenge and inspire Primary School students within their learning and leadership journeys. Last week was no different, as we explored the possibilities, discovered potential and acted authentically together. I was definitely left buzzing as the students courageously and honestly shared and contributed in such real, diverse and wise ways.

“Joy is a decision, a really brave one, about how you are going to respond to life.” – Wess Stafford

Finally, it was my friends wedding yesterday. Such an incredible ending to an amazing week. The wedding was so welcoming for all involved. What stood out most was the drumming that welcomed the bride and groom into the church, the minister mixing between English and Kiswahili to remind us of the cultures coming together through this union and the joy full expressions of love, connection and generosity right throughout the day. So much buzzing, and then a good nights sleep. I wonder what’s in store this week!

For Colour, Transperancy

November 21, 2016 at 8:26 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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The students we get to support are incredible. I am constantly being inspired by, learning from and growing because of their authentic engagement and contributions in our program days. Listening to participant responses, connections and reflections is one of the true pleasures of being a facilitator. Last week was no different as a Year 5 student, thinking outside the box, shared with the group such an important aspect of ‘being the change you wish to see in the world’.

“Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway.” – Mother Teresa

In creating similes and metaphors for leadership he chose as a colour transparency. I’ve heard so many colours used before in this activity, even combinations of colours like a rainbow, but never before this word. It cut right through. I think that’s the point. Transparency, honesty and authenticity brings out the realness that our families, schools, workplaces and communities are hungry for as we navigate the opportunities, successes and challenges within our 21st Century global village.

“Leadership is not a position. It consists of action with transparency and to set high example of integrity, honesty and to strive for welfare for all.” – Dr. Anil Kr Sinha

The sentiments expressed in the quote above are an inspiration for us as we support the development of leadership potential within our client schools and beyond. We believe ‘leadership is the purposeful practice of using our thoughts, words and actions to make a difference in our own and others lives’. This doesn’t need a badge. Or a particular title. Or any special ceremonial clothing. All it needs is individuals owning, practicing and remembering that our daily thoughts, words and actions matter, that we are all capable of making a difference in our own and others lives and that we’re all in this together.

“Transparency is the first step towards accountability.” – Unknown

As we get caught up in blame we forget and disown our own and each others humanness. So having the courage to mindfully and compassionately step into accountability through transparency just ‘makes more sense’. We as individuals and groups won’t ever nail it 100% of the time. But hopefully we can make it a practice to keep realigning the compass as we veer off course. Just like the inspiring leader will who shared this aspiration with the group last week.

“And transparency makes more sense.” – Envy Parade (The Love Before)

Hands Up If…

October 2, 2016 at 11:33 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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If you look online for a list of the top human fears it brings up a variety of search results. Most of the lists have similarities, it just depends on how that person or group has interpreted the ‘data’. One fear that comes up a lot in the lists and is also one that we’d all have experienced in our lives is the fear of speaking in front of others. On many lists it can sit right at the top at number 1 (higher than death – as Jay Leno famously said, “I guess we’d rather be in the casket than delivering the eulogy.”) It’s not surprising then that many Year 5 and Year 6 students that we support put their hands up when asked towards the beginning of a program if they are discouraged from seeking leadership opportunities because of this.

“All speaking is public speaking whether it’s to one person or a thousand.” – Roger Love

Being fearful isn’t the issue. We all experience fear. The issue is that we as individuals and groups can equate leadership with this one particular role. We see Prime Ministers, Presidents, Principals and other visible ‘leaders’ speaking in front of others all the time. Our lens then is influenced by their position equaling one particular function; rather than encompassing the fullness of thoughts, words and actions that accompany anyone’s journey of striving to make a difference. This aspect of the lens we view leadership through is one of the things that keeps us motivated as we engage, challenge and inspire the next generation of difference makers.

“The art of communication is the language of leadership.” – James Humes

When recently setting up for the third program day with a client school I had some interested Year 4 students come up and ask me what I was doing and what the particular equipment I was laying out was for. As I explained what experiences the Year 5 cohort were involved in I was met with a peculiar look and honest question from one boy. ‘Why are you doing it with the whole grade then if it’s about leadership?’ This question opened up a great conversation with the Year 5 cohort of students (90 of them) later as I told them about how my day had started. They confidently explained to me the multitude of ways that each of them can embody leadership (individually and collectively) without the need to be wearing a badge or standing on a stage leading assembly.

“A good speech is like a pencil; it has to have a point.” – Author Unknown

We are all influenced by what we see, feel and hear within our journeys of potential. It’s why top down thinking comes so naturally to us throughout all the complexity that we navigate each and every day. We internalise particular beliefs, ideas and patterns of behaviour from our experiences and the ‘knowledge’ gained from external sources. Remembering that we can choose a lens that sees the fullness of leadership opens us up to purposefully leading. When overwhelm or fears associated with any part of choosing to lead appears (like speaking in front of others) we have the opportunity to come back to ‘why’; then courageously, compassionately, interdependently and authentically navigate our way through whatever it is that is in front of us.

“The one thing that you have that nobody else does is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live only as you can.” – hplyrikz.com

When We Stop Fighting It

August 29, 2016 at 7:14 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I know I’ve said it before but I really love experiential learning. It can really open up pathways to some interesting, meaningful and important reflections and connections. Last week’s program days were definitely no different. One activity in particular, plus the group reflection that followed, dug deep into a theme that resonated with us all. It related to what happens when we stop fighting ‘it’?

“I’ll choose honesty over perfection every single time.” – Unknown

The game used is a high energy one. Plenty of movement. Plenty of engagement. Plenty of fun. But more importantly than all that it always seems to bring out a message or messages that we really need to hear or focus in on at that point within the program. Life’s funny like that isn’t it. Do we in our everyday though take the time to really listen in, to process and subsequently learn from (compassionately choose differently next time) the teachable moments that occur?

“What you deny or ignore, you delay. What you accept and face, you conquer.” – Robert Tew

The participants comments came streaming in. Most of them were connecting to not fighting to hold onto or push against what ‘is’ in the game. Some related to not doing this (fighting ‘it’) at all, while others spoke about not doing it for too long during the game. By not fighting ‘it’ seemed to be where the feeling of fun was being experienced. It seemed to be why the participants wanted to keep playing. It seemed to help foster the reciprocal support required when the inevitable ups and downs occurred. It also seemed to be that each individuals acceptance of what ‘is’ (the wholeness of the experience – navigating the ups and downs together) was rippling throughout the group. You could feel it!

“Resilience is very different than being numb. Resilience means you experience, you feel, you fail, you hurt. You fall. But, you keep going.” – Yasmin Mogahed

These initial responses opened up so many more questions, connections and thoughts. That’s the point isn’t it? It has made me consider how do we most effectively stay open to, engage with, remain empowered within, learn and grow from, and subsequently inspire others within the range of complexities we face? What do you think?

“Compassion is the keen awareness of the interdependence of all things.” – Thomas Merton

Looking Beyond The Label

August 8, 2016 at 6:03 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I love chatting to the teachers throughout a day as their students participate in an experience. It is always an opportunity to hear about and share stories, beliefs, passions and teachable moments that have occurred in their classrooms/school communities or during the program. So many of the teachers who we support comment that they notice different aspects to their students throughout the day as they can take a step back and become a unobstructed observer. One conversation last week reminded me why this piece of the ‘learning journey’ puzzle is so important. Looking beyond the label reminds us of the authentic potential, contribution and connection that each of us brings to the table.

“People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for…” – Harper Lee, To Kill A Mockingbird

One of the teachers came up beside me towards the end of the first session, telling me excitedly about a few of the students she’d been observing so far. She told me about their past histories, which involved suspensions, disengagement, etc. She commented how much joy she was getting from seeing how involved they were, how they were interacting with their peers and the way other students were leveraging their ideas and talents in the games, challenges and activities. She described how much she loved any opportunity to see the students in a different light. That awareness that this teacher brings into the many roles that she plays as an educator creates important ripples for each of the individuals in her spheres of influence. If as we navigate our journeys of potential we have advocates who look beyond the self or other appointed labels it can assist us as we explore the possibilities, discover potential and act authentically.

“We are by nature observers, and thereby learners. This is our permanent state.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

It can be so easy to fall into labelling or feeling labelled within different areas of our lives. It’s one of the things I love most while working with individuals and groups. I have the opportunity to create a space and time where what’s happened before doesn’t have to define who we or others believe we are in this moment, or determine what happens throughout the program or from now on. Experiential learning is such a powerful vehicle to use in this process. When we’re involved in the physical process of learning (doing, then reflecting on experience), its transfer into various areas of our lives becomes much more seamless. The week before I got to chat to another inspiring teacher who we’ve been supporting over the past few years. Her feedback below reminded me of the purposeful way we seek to engage, challenge and inspire the students we have the pleasure of working with.

“I constantly see the students treated with respect and with positivity. I love how the learning intent is clear. I love the brain breaks. I love the varied pedagogy.” – Year 5 Teacher

What labels (for self, others or the world around us) will you choose to look beyond this week as you explore the possibilities, discover potential and act authentically?

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