A sunny weekend in February brought together the 22 RADIUS Fellows in Radical Doing for their opening retreat at Camp Alexandra. An opportunity to take a step out of their busy day-to-day lives and to dive into building deep connections with each other, the weekend retreat hosted the Fellows to share their stories and develop their personal goals for the program. Read on for reflections from two of the Fellows; photographs are by award-winning photographer and Fellow Jackie Dives.
Fellow Natasha Thom writes:
“We come from incredibly diverse backgrounds: upcycling, building cooperatives and social enterprises, and photography just to name a few. Our diversity is what makes this program so special, and I can’t wait to learn more about everyone’s perspectives and the amazing projects on the go!
This past weekend we had our opening retreat at Camp Alexandra, and it was such a welcome opportunity to disconnect from the outside world. It was short, but I’m ready to dive in with both feet and see where this journey takes us.
This weekend provided space for personal reflection, but it also allowed us to start getting to know each other better. We kicked off our retreat by creating a list of community values, principles that we’ll abide by for the rest of our time together as Fellows. I found a few of them particularly resonating, so thought I would share them with you.
- Be open to the element of surprise. When we hold tight to our expectations, there is the potential to be disappointed. But by suspending judgement, there is more space to enjoy the ride.
- Use language that invites understanding. With great diversity comes great opportunity for learning. I openly admit that I don’t have a working knowledge of everyone’s field of work, but I’m excited to learn!
- Leave room for play. No doubt lots of work will be done over the next 5 months. But, as we navigate through this journey, we also reserve time to be silly and have fun.
- Be present. As one of my New Year’s resolutions, I appreciated that it came up in this setting. It’s this idea of being present in each moment: putting the phone away and really paying attention to the community and conversation around you.”
[Read more on Natasha’s blog…]
Fellow Kevin Harding writes on the Incipe blog:
“We launched into this session in the late morning, after having a great group breakfast. And the question that we were posed was really incredibly simple, but simplicity can hide the impact of what’s being asked. Here’s what we were asked:
‘ It’s one year from today. Where are you? How did you get there? ‘
In answering this question, we were asked to think about two key things:
- Where we were. We were hypothesizing a world one year from where we were; we may have reconvened for a reunion event, or we may have just bumped into each other walking the lovely Crescent Beach trail because we were feeling nostalgic. When we were asked to ponder where we might be, we were being asked to imagine our successes over the next twelve months. Not just imagine what we wanted to do but imagine what we had done. What would we be talking about? What successes would we be celebrating? What failures would we have learned from?
But importantly, we weren’t asked to simply assume success. We had to do some backwards thinking, too:
- How did we get there? We were also asked to share with each other how we had gotten to this position twelves months in the future. What steps we’d taken, what we had done to bring us to that place that we were. This part of the question allowed us to move backwards from an audacious goal – a picture of success twelve months hence – through what we did to get there. Those interventions that helped us along the path are crucial – we may know what they are at some level of our consciousness, but this question and this process allowed us to bring them to the surface.
…This is a theory of change approach to personal development and success.
I felt so energized through this process because we were developing personal theories of change – identifying changes we wanted to see in ourselves and starting to think about ways to work back from there. It’s like strategic planning, but it’s an approach that teases out those interventions that you need to accomplish on the way to your goal – the actions you need to take to make it happen. It also makes you deal with the assumptions you’ve made along the way.
This was so powerful and so energizing, for me. It wasn’t just a strategic planning exercise. It was building up a theory of how I was going to change myself to change my community.” [Read more…]
“I think there’s tremendous value in being connected with these people because I get to experience different viewpoints to common challenges we’re facing. Many of the projects led by the people in the RADIUS Fellowship have mental health goals at their core, or goals relating to providing people with tools to build their capacity to find meaningful work or income. Other projects are related to sustainable design, whether it be product or housing. All in all, there are tons of different projects with overlapping goals.
What’s really cool about this is that we get to see a myriad of viewpoints from different experiences all engaging with these overlapping ideas and goals. Different experiences give us different background and different approaches to solving comparable problems – and if one approach doesn’t work, it can often seem like you’re stuck there until you find a new way to look at the problem. Here’s where that connection is super important – you can broaden out your ideas on how to solve the problems you’re working on simply by talking about them with people who are passionate about their projects, especially where those projects may overlap!” [Read more…]
Find out more about the RADIUS Fellowships in Radical Doing program. Our thanks go to RECODE and the SFU Sustainability Office for supporting this program.
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