"How can we cultivate a leadership practice that invites creative disruption, co-learning and co-creation, to address the complex challenges of our times and collectively build the future we want to be a part of?"
- Art of Hosting and Harvesting Conversations That Matter-
All of the Yippies have returned some weeks ago now from their internships and our lives have been a flurry of transitions. Beginning and ends are overlapped creating shocking contrasts of yesterday, today and tomorrow.
We've started preparing for Initiative Forum while simultaneously our group is learning to cope and work through growing pains, as all of us become a little more comfortable with each other and saying "no".
On Wednesday I hurriedly pack my bags among the chaos of 18 other individuals also doing last minute gathering and landed in the backseat of a car. I watch landscape slide by for five hours as I slowly fit puzzle piece to puzzle piece of where exactly were headed and what we are in for. We park in a little town down south called Karlskrona, that sits on the water.
I know that the next four days will be dedicated to participating in an 'Art of Hosting (AoH)' training and that our whole group will be hosted by various locals that will be in the training, but beyond that much of what will go on is unknown to me. When we arrive at the campus of the Blekinge College of Technology, I am immediately struck by the beauty. The campus is bordered by water on one side and I can see a trail that slips past the buildings and winds somewhere away into the trees. I want to know where, but it is dusk so we head into one of the looming, clean buildings to register our names.
Inside I am again surprised by the two young girls sitting at the makeshift registration desk. I really did not know what would meet us here in Karlskrona, but I somehow did not picture people my age. The whole room in fact is filled with young adults and everyone that I meet is from somewhere besides Sweden, and everywhere I hear whispers of something called MSLS.
About an hour later we are lead into a completely round building outlined by chairs that slowly begin to fill, and then we begin. I learn then that our hosting teams and house hosts are all made up of students that are participating in the Master's in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability (MSLS) programme, which explains many of the young faces. The MSLS programme has striking similarities to YIP.
40 international participants averaging in their mid 20's that have 10 months together.
Except that this is a Master's programme and besides facilitating a four day workshop and welcoming us into their homes, many of them are currently in the process of writing their thesis.
I was humbled, to say the least.
There are many of us and everyone is excited. We are split into smaller groups to make the meet and greet a little more manageable and talk about common points of interests and why we are here. I am still barely fitting pieces of all of this together and everything is feeling a little extreme.
The thing that I will learn in the following days, is that everything is actually very extreme. The Art of Hosting Community brings together action orientated individuals from all walks of life. From the corporate world to the alternative minded, everyone is welcome and everyone has a story.
So what is, 'The Art of Hosting and Harvesting Conversations that Matter'?
- "The Art of Hosting is an approach to leadership that scales up from the personal to the systemic using personal practice, dialogue, facilitation and the co-creation of innovation to address complex challenges." -
The training presented various methodologies that make up AoH and that one can began to become familiar with through participation and practice. The whole training in fact wove us, the participants into the actual framework of what was being delivered. Sign up sheets were made available with slots open to anyone to fill in their name and have the opportunity to host various exercises throughout our day.
Many of the methodologies and even language were already familiar to me. I realized that AoH and MSLS are communities that are very closely related to YIP and that many individuals have cross pollinated many times over weaving such a large network, that the area I've been introduced to is only one small corner.
Much of what followed in the four days fell into this same understanding. One could easily spend years diving into and mastering just one of the many tools we were introduced to. What we were instead being offered was four days, an equivalent of a plate full of appetizers. Even if I had could have taken more we were encouraged not to.
I was reminded today, it takes time to chew, swallow and digest.
Below are a few clips from the dining table.
This was what our time in Karlskrona was about, conversing all day, err day.
A glimpse of the campus from the pier. For those of you that may be interested in the MSLS programme, I've attached a link below. Every participant I met was an exceptional human being, and the actual programme itself was incredibly intriguing.
"The question of reaching sustainability is not about if we will have enough energy, enough food, or other tangible resources - those we have. The question is: will there be enough leaders in time?"
- Dr. Göran Broman and Dr. Karl-Henrik Robèrt, programme founders
An Open Space looking at the question, " For those of you that are doing the work that you love, how do you both replenish and sustain your energy."
This was a great question posed by Maira, a YIP alumni, and all of the ones that found herself at her table were current Yippies, including myself. Sometimes myself and the group is just tired.
Sometimes I forget how much I am learning. I guess you could say that I've acclimated somewhat to the constant stream of information that I am attempting to integrate and process in order to call it my own, but if I don't closely watch myself I could easily start forgetting just how lucky I am.
This scares me.
It was questions and processes like this at the AoH training that enabled me to gain a birds eye view of my time here in Sweden. I was able to remember why I am here and reclaim a part of my purpose and foundation.
Stop- Listen- See the Pattern- Go Forward
Waking up with a group Haka.
"Fierceness and gentleness are not just in the same family, they are one"
Olga and I, asking for support and insight on YIP's Initiative Forum during Design For Wiser Action.
"If your nervous it means your stepping into something that matters."
Design For Wiser Action
Designing for Wiser Action is an exercise in asking for help and giving help. Utilizing peer coaching and a template we were able to state the need and purpose of I.F as well as review the group process. From here we were able to gain a clearer picture of where our group is and how best to step forward into action. Our group could not have attended this training at a better time as I know that starting tomorrow we will be actively practising and sharing all of these new tools.
Much of AoH is built upon constructing and refining the right questions in order for them to become invitations that others will want to respond to. After going through my notes over the past days, the questions below from fellow participants are the ones that I continue to carry.
For those that asked, please continue to do so. You may not have known the full effect of the gift you have given. Thank you.
- How can I lead from the silence inside me?
- How do I ask questions that really matter?
- How can gentleness be the creative disruption that will help a new society emerge?
- How can we use AoH methods in a corporate business world?
- How can I turn my deepest wounds into the greatest gifts in the world?
- When do you feel the most happy about being you?
Stepping into, "The Trembling".
Working with the prompt, "what are your next wise steps?"
Just one small section from our daily Harvest wall. Harvesting is a way of working with documentation that creates meaning for a collective. This an incredibly useful tool that all of us unconsciously use in our world today. This blog is a harvest of my time here at YIP.
During our training we were introduced to conscious way of gathering and processing documentation that could actually enable an individual or group to plan for the harvest they would like when putting together any time of meeting or gathering. This thought in itself has completely changed my understanding of how to approach all future projects!
Photo- Raquel Viggiani
"Friends, don't scatter or sleep. Our friendship is made of staying awake."
On our last day in Karlskrona we woke up late. It was a Sunday.
A few of us met up and made our way to a small local farm for lunch that had catered amazing food to our training. From our first morning in town, we have been blessed by the first sun in months, and yesterday was no exception. I was finally able to fully enjoy feeling warmth on my skin as we had a walk to the water. As Olga and I were cutting up through the woods to catch a better glimpse of what seemed to be a very random tower in the middle of the grass, I caught a glimpse of colour out of the corner of my eye.
Lo and behold, flowers! Spring flowers!
For those of you that have also just had a winter, I know you understand. We quite literally got down on the ground and laid our heads as close as we could to the colour. I've attempted a few times since to relay this story to other Yippies, because I could not get over the feeling of new life actually happening here in Sweden right now.
This morning I woke up back in Jarna, and it seems the sun has followed us back. I put on a dress, without leggings and stood for a moment on our balcony without shivering.
It's about to get really good.
Spring has Sprung!
The sun is out! It's warm enough to sit outside and say goodbye :)
Late night, gas station, feeding frenzies.
The International Youth Initiative Program
I am a Yippie class of 2013/2014. These are findings, thoughts and captured moments of mine from here in Jarna, Sweden.