This week was a whirlwind for me in a different way. I was nervous about how it’d go because I wasn’t really confident about facilitating and making offerings. I expressed my reluctance to offer something and desire to just float around and hang out with the kids to Sara and Nancy and was surprised to hear that it was totally okay and appropriate. Nancy highlighted something that I was feeling but couldn’t pinpoint and that was the week being a bit contrived given that normally you’d be in relationship with the kids. With that being said I was okay with just committing to a Spawn Point and regularly checking in with the kids from Heartwood.
I really enjoyed my Spawn Point and the mixed ageing there. It felt really familial, fun, and organic. Our approach to intention setting and reflection became more relaxed throughout the week and it seemed to really fit our group dynamic. One evening, on the spot, Bear asked if I could facilitate the closing. In the couple of minutes that we got settled I came up with something I thought was decently goofy and was surprised to see it humor everyone. Even more surprised that Lacy liked it so much she asked me to repeat it at the adult’s reflection circle. That was a good feeling.
The Set-The-Day meetings with everyone in one room started off a bit rowdy and the kids as a whole weren’t doing well at sitting down and staying quiet so the facilitator could do their thing. But by the end of the week, it had totally flipped. I thought that the culture of the meetings would need to be firmly established on Day 1 and was intrigued by how it improved over the week without very direct behavior management tactics. The meetings always went on, ignoring distracting behaviors, and that seemed to really communicate to everyone that they should get on board and that they weren’t the center of the universe. I did notice, as anyone would expect, the younger children have a threshold for how long they’re able to sit or roam calmly and quietly. In my spawn point Lacy engaged them with building blocks and it worked really well. They were fully into the blocks but also listening to the conversation enough to respond appropriately when it came time.
I also thoroughly enjoyed seeing everyone’s facilitation style throughout the week. One thing I appreciate and am really working hard to embrace is the experimental nature of it all. It won’t ever be perfect and mistakes are inevitable. So often the facilitators didn’t really have a firm plan or agenda, which I think maybe helps them do it better. It’s a very “okay, we’re going to try this out” mentality. Accepting the fact that “this may not go well” better positions one to adapt and modify even while things are underway. That’s the Agility of it. Facilitators don’t really serve their own agenda, ego, or a desire to lead. They serve the community and drive the group towards its goal. That framework positions the group as a support for the facilitator. It’s in their best interest to make easy and enjoyable the role of facilitation because that person is doing the hard work of managing the whole group. It’s a really great system that the experienced ALFs have gotten great at explicitly talking about and improving.
Monday I free roamed throughout the camp and totally forgot that in another part of the building, ALF training stuff was still going on concurrently. It was an interesting setup where adults could flow from participating in the camp schedule to the ALF Summer training schedule. I’m still undecided on if I liked that and how effective of an approach it was. I can certainly say it brought an abundance of choice and a compounded FOMO (fear of missing out) that didn’t work for me and led to some poor (none) time management on my part. Tuesday I set the intention of getting some leftover Heartwood work done. It was hard trying to be present at the camp, present for ALF training, and get work done for my startup. Wednesday through Friday I tried to juggle all of that stuff throughout each day and did a piss poor job at it all. I felt drained and like a ghost all while having not been productive in any particular area.
Talked a lot about marketing with different folks and those sessions were all very useful. Jenn from Emerson relayed information from her consultation on social media techniques and her tactics from fairs and farmer’s markets. Talked about functional, and memorable marketing materials with Drew. Nancy and Lacy gave a great talk outside about their connection over everything approach.
Had a lovely conversation with Rebecka that unexpectedly almost made my eyes water a little. I’ll likely talk about it in detail in another post.
Overall, I see the Agile camp wasn’t as much for the kids as it was for the adults and ALFs in training. A great way to experience and practice the basics of each tool and facilitation. I did get a wealth of insight about that stuff but felt I dropped the ball on actually participating or getting some work done for my own ALC back in Atlanta.