Sunday, April 21, 2013

Retreat MAGIC

And yet again… onboard AirNZ flight to Dunedin and here I am blogging…

I do not know that I will be able to do justice to the MAGIC of the past three days but I will try to share some of the ripples that are spreading…

I arrived at Hanmer in awe of the beauty of this spot in New Zealand, in awe of the team I have joined and in awe of the time to get to know my new family and explore the journey we are on…

The initial feeling of welcome was one of ‘welcoming back’ or ‘welcoming home’.   I am asking myself what it is that makes it this way.  Is it the rapport that you establish each time you meet face-to-face, building on the established online connections?  Is it the sheer welcoming force of this family?  Is it the way we are adopted as opposed to being employed?  Whatever it is, it is very special to reconnect.

We were welcomed with the view to the transformative nature of the organization.  YAY!  We are not about change, we are about transformation!
A truly MAGICal beginning to the retreat is the gathering in ‘home teams’ across all branches within the family.  It is only through this that a shared understanding of some of the far-reaching tentacles of the organization are realized and shared. It is only through this that all are empowered to share of themself and their journey.  It is only through this that all are embraced, valued, empowered to share.  I wonder how we do this in our schools… do we cross group enough?  Do we allow all our members to contribute and share their uniqueness?

Taking the concept of universal design for learning , we were encouraged to introduce our home team with a name, a skit, an intro…  Well, what transpired was inspirational!  The creativity and innovation of names, presentation methods, humour was amazing.  Indeed it is a privilege to get to know the entire family in this way.  I wonder again, if we allow time in our classes for the creativity to shine through?

Our next session in our work teams was equally inspirational.  This was an opportunity for us to meet up with everyone in our own team and share our story, our purpose, and our vision with everyone.  What fun… I think that is the key for me!  We were working incredibly hard to define our purpose, our hopes, dreams and aspirations and it was incredibly fun.

Reflecting on the two tasks I wonder if we allow enough time in our schools for grouping and deep thinking within our teams and across our teams. This was time for reflection on our true meaning, purpose and vision as opposed to time adding to our skill set.

A session on Tatai Aho Rau followed.  For me this session was so incredibly powerful in helping me understand the purpose and structure of CORE.  To see the weft and warp, the aho and the whenua, is to experience the MAGIC of weaving. 

I loved the opportunity to learn and reflect upon the non-negotiables of aho…
·      Whakapapa;
·      Reo;
·      Tikanga;
·      Wairua
I am so inspired with this new learning.  What a truly wonderful experience, to learn from, and with our colleagues. 
Then looking at the whenua, the threads woven together with aho.  And oh what joy to sing the CORE waiata… and feel the song of our place…

Another layer of richness added to our learning was the Pasifika lens to Tatai Aho Rau through Lalago Tivaevae Nui.

And as the first day came to a close we were able to soak up some of the MAGIC of Hamner with a quick trip to the pools before the birthday party to celebrate ten years of CORE education.  And what a wonderful birthday party it was, complete with singing and cake and celebration.

I am still pinching myself in awe of the experience of being a member of a family I have aspired to for so long…

Day two dawned with a journey through the CORE story from inception to today.  What an incredible journey.  I had no idea how far reaching the tentacles of the organisation are.  What a privilege it is to see all of the teams and projects and members sharing a little of their story. Only through taking time to listen and understand the goals, and visions of other branches of the family am I able to understand my place in our branch and our ability to call upon the expertise of other branches, and alternatively reflect on the skill set we have that could be shared with others.

We journeyed on to look at the CORE story to date then moved to look to the future.  How incredibly powerful it is to really focus on where we have been, where we are now, and look to the possibilities in the future, remembering that the future depends on what we do today.

To be a part of a thinktank envisioning future transformation was awesome.  All ideas were welcomed, valued, and we were all given an incredibly opportunity to see the power of transformative possibility within the family…

Thank you for the transformative experience of the retreat.

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