Leaders meeting leaders

The Leadership Wood Buffalo alumni committee did a really good thing yesterday.  They brought a variety of alums together with a robust and excited group of leaders about to begin their 8-month learning journey.  In fact, they'll be piling into their cars this morning and heading out to Christina Lake Lodge near Conklin for their initial immersion into a community leadership process that, according to facilitator Colin Funk, is one of the best that he's seen.

Hosted at the Metis Local 1935 grounds and following on the heels of a perfect fall day, conditions could not have been better for seeing old friends and meeting some new ones.

I had been asked to facilitate one of the ice breakers following a tasty barbecue.  With about 26 people present, I thought it was the perfect number and setting to try the "Marker" game.  The exercise is delightfully simple.  Here is what happened after Rolando volunteered to go first and I handed him the Sharpie marker.

"Hi!  My name is Rolando. I am holding the marker.  I'm now passing the marker to Sophie."

"Hi!  My name is Sophie. I got the marker from Rolando.  I'm now passing it to Trevor."

"Hi!  My name is Trevor.  I got the marker from Sophie and Rolando.  I'm no passing it on to...."

It seemed onerous, with 26 people in the circle, many of which were strangers, but everyone was successful in remembering the growing list of names when it came to their turn.  Despite the half-light of sunset and their inability to see the name tags that people were wearing, the names and faces settled into each of our brains:  Cathy, Vickrim, Diane, Augustina, Angie, Adam and so many others.

My good friend Sherry Duncan then led a sorting game where we had to vocalize our favourite type of ice cream and wander about the space until we found other people who had that common interest.  Within that grouping we were given another question that we had to explore about the place that we call home.  Then we had to wander about again, this time vocalizing our favourite type of music.  Vickrim and I found ourselves almost immediately, the two lone Jazz fans at the party.  It was a delightful way to find commonalities and meet some new people.

This is the 9th cohort of the Leadership Wood Buffalo program, now one of the key offerings of FuseSocial, the organization that emerged from Volunteer Wood Buffalo, Nonprofit Sector Link and Leadership Wood Buffalo.  The number of alums after 8 full years of learning days, case studies and action learning projects is likely closing in on 150.  Having had the opportunity to engage with many of them over the years during social events, workshops and celebrations, last night's activity was one of the best for getting to know people.

For the next two days, these aspiring community leaders from all sectors and backgrounds will get to know each other and do some deep reflection about themselves.  They will then dive into the meat of the program and emerge in May 2015 and join those of us who have walked the path before and form the alumni of Leadership Wood Buffalo.  They are a great looking group and we wish them Godspeed.


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