Theme : Jean Vanier
Mary Bee’s experience
“I set off at 5:30 a.m., so the five of us could get out of London on time. Jos, Sandra and I were ambitious, and wanted to take 2 of our newer assistants to Pickering for the 0-1 formation ‘on the way’ to Sudbury. It was great to be together, and to deliver Emma and Dominque to Manresa… not so great to discover, however, that we had to go through the Toronto traffic twice, in rush hour! We had good road trip energy, and it was worth it, though we were a bit stressed that we’d disappoint and be late for the Servant Leadership training. Amy had told us to expect an intense week with little wiggle room, so being on time was expected! We called ahead to say we would probably be late, then we put the pedal down, enjoyed the ride and good catch-up time, and happily arrived 20 minutes early!
The set-up for the training was curious for this old-timer. I’m certain this was the first regional gathering of its kind – 30+ people around one giant tables-in-a-circle set-up, and each one of us plugged in to our own personal computer. I wondered if it would just feel like MORE, more to learn and do, on top of an already-overwhelming Servant Leadership to-do list and action plan. Yet from the beginning of the training right through to the end, it was clear that it would be supportive of what we’re already trying to do. We learned where to find what we needed in the new online training modules. We saw how the new materials fit and gave us more depth and access. We told stories of what we all are doing with the leadership training program in our communities – sharing our learning and creativity, and the challenges we’ve faced. And of course, there were skits to help us integrate the learning and keep us laughing. I loved the puppet show about engaging our neighbours, and “the doughnut incident.” Our L’Arche Sudbury hosts brought doughnuts from a local bakery one day. Someone (I won’t ‘out’ her here) had more than her share… the tease lasted a few days, and of course was featured in a skit!
It was special to be in Sudbury. The setting at Long Lake was simply beautiful and we were treated to some magnificent sunrises and sunsets. After our day-long working sessions, we had time to catch up with old friends and meet new people. I finally had the chance to connect with Amy, whom I’ve known for years but never had the chance to spend time with. There were walks along the river, and trips into town, the community and the famous Big Nickel. At night, we played games, and shared drinks and munchees and stories.
I believe in servant leadership! And I am so encouraged by the investment to go deeper and bring it even more to life. There’s nothing like being together, away from our normal routine, learning with others in L’Arche.”
The leadership training team is collecting the input of all who attend the training so that they can learn and continuously improve. Overall the program has been received positively as major step in giving leaders the tools they need. Some comments:
- “I'm so excited about these tools and how they will benefit our communities!”
- “It helped me to have a different perspective regarding my role, my house and my community. It gave me new tools to do a better job. It gave me ideas to to be more practical and efficient.”
- “I enjoyed the atmosphere, the content covered – which was quite extensive, but all of it important, and… having open conversations about how communities can implement and create action plans around the content covered…”
Debbie Dew from Daybreak summed it up this way: “The training was great! It was intense, full days, but really put the meat on the bones of Servant Leadership. It brought it into the practical realm, which in my opinion, was missing. The dedicated time to review the documents, talk about how they would be useful, and time to create a personal and community action plan was essential. The mix of new and long-term assistants was also beneficial. Seeing the long-term folks engage and embrace this as positive change gave it legs for me. It was clear that we were all striving for the same goal. The informal time gave us all time to connect, always good!”
- Day Center
- Jean Vanier
- Persons with Disabilities