Day One!

We thought we’d collate and harvest some of the conversations and exercises that went on during our intensive, as reference points to return to, or simply just to skim through and be reminded of ideas that emerged.

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The Yarra Young Initiators kicked off by setting our circle, acknowledging country and working out a group agreement. This circle came to represent our shared values of respect, open-mindedness, participation and listening throughout the intensive.

Madz: It’s always challenging to walk into a new room, with new people. I’m reminded of this sweet word from the dictionary of obscure sorrows, sonder (noun):
‘the realisation that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.’

Sophie: In the ‘Wall of Wonder’ activity, we worked together to determine which rights were important to us. These rights were narrowed down to ‘freedom for self-determination’, ‘equal rights to expression’, ‘right to survive’ and ‘prosperity’. We then compared our results to the Victorian Values Statement. Some excellent questions were raised concerning whether these statements were aspirational, or if we can see these values in Victoria today.

Sandeep: I loved facilitating this session and seeing all the great rights everyone came up with. Then we started the work to whittle them down to our top rights and to give them names. I liked how we listed the right to be human up there under ‘freedom for self-determination', and while there’s a lot of rights involved in being human, I was really happy to see that we also recognised the most fun right of all: the right to paaaaarty! I think it’s pretty amazing what comes out in this session, because rights are often very personal. When we talk about concepts like the ‘right to survive’ we recognise how fortunate many of us are, that it’s up to us to make things better and that we’re all unique. If you want to read a great story about someone being resilient and living their values, check out the story of Miriam Issa.

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Sophie: The focus for day one was to consider how we individually practice leadership. Activities like ‘Where do I stand?’ and ‘Prioritising Values’ allowed us time and space to investigate how values shape our leadership. Although each of us expressed unique opinions throughout the day, we were still able to connect based on the values that we had in common. For example, family was particularly important value across the group. By the end of the day, all of us found ways to challenge ourselves, enter the ‘learning zone’ and show courage and vulnerability to develop our leadership.

Madz: Family was brought up a lot and many of us shared stories about grandparents, parents, siblings; as those who have shaped us. It’s funny how you often don’t realise whilst living life and being with family just how close their influence is, then all of a sudden in front of a group of new people, vivid memories spark to mind. It’s interesting to relate these connections to the layered meaning of the word ‘leadership’, and this was a theme that began on this day and weaved into the whole weekend.

Sandeep: The first day ended with our reflections, some connections starting to form, some pretty awesome craft work creating our personal shields to show our values, and some really good pizza! We really couldn’t pull anyone away from their crafting, and some of the objects you created were truly amazing. We took home a lot of ideas, especially around our values, and were energised to come back for Day Two.

Click for Day Two