Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Leadership Retreats {work}

I get a lot of joy out of what I do for work.  It isn't always easy, but what job is?
I work for a non profit organization called Hands4Hope.
What do we do?
Simply put: we are a youth run organization that strongly believes in service learning - that is: learning through serving others.  Our youth members volunteer for several outreaches a month, they also develop projects and fundraisers for other agencies serving those in need.
Through the process of volunteering, planning fundraisers (they do it all - including the marketing & PR, contacting businesses, getting donations, etc), and working together with their peers has taught many of them life long lessons - many of which some adults haven't ever had the opportunity to learn.  If you want to see a list of last year's successes, click here. This year's is even more impressive! :)

In the last few weeks - I have gotten to work really closely with our Youth Board.  They are the leaders at their high schools of the Hands4Hope Clubs there.  They are from 4 different high schools in the area - and they work closely with each other and their clubs to make a difference.

In July, we did a team build day at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center.  We learned about our strengths as a person and how we can effectively use them in a team setting - and we also learned important lessons about leadership - trust, respect, encouragement, etc.

Last week, we spent 3 days camping (in bunk houses).  It was our annual Leadership Retreat.  Here, we have break out sessions with adults who have years of experience and expertise in their fields training them on how to get better at what they do, and we have several team building exercises.

The kids get close - they open up to each other about their life experiences, and so much more.  Many of them are meeting for the first time before this retreat - and by the end of it - they've seen tears, cheered each other on, and shared a lot about themselves.  It's a great experience to be a part of - and I feel like I have learned a lot about myself from each of them.  What a great group of truly dedicated and inspiring youth - the future is in good hands with them!
Getting everyone on the mat - a lot harder than it looks ;)
They worked together to make dinner - and it was pretty good.  Day 2 of our Retreat last week.
It's deceiving, but the course is about 35-40 feet up.
 Our Executive Director and I participate in all of the high ropes team builds with them - this one was difficult, but a lot of fun.  Hard to tell - but I am in the air jumping from platform to platform here. :)
 Figuring out how to face a challenge together with out talking...
 Ever had anyone lead you through a forest while you're blindfolded?  Takes a lot of trust.
Of course... we did more than just ropes courses and challenges - but these are the fun pictures to share :)

I did this same course last year with the kids, i've done one in San Francisco near the Golden Gate Bridge, we've done a zip line course in Kauai, and in Juneau, Alaska - and - TL and I did a high ropes challenge in Switzerland as well (that one was much higher!)  I love the challenge of the ropes - and the heights - gets my adrenaline going!

It was a fantastic Retreat!

PS. if you're interested in supporting Hands4Hope and the awesome things are youth are doing, purchase a button on my blog - ALL of the money goes directly to Hands4Hope.  


Katie said...

Love hearing more about what you do Tracy! Hands4hope sounds like an amazing awesome :) Maybe if after we visit and we move you could put me to work ;) xoxo

pretty little things said...

looks like such a great time! xo

Nikki said...

This is awesome! I wish I had such a fun job!

Can you send me some info about the high ropes corse in San Fran? Thanks!

Claire Kiefer said...

So neat hearing more about your job. Sounds like your work is dynamic and important, and I'm glad you get to do something you enjoy so much. :)

Anonymous said...

" Ever had anyone lead you through a forest while you're blindfolded? Takes a lot of trust." Why yes, yes I have ;-)

This sounds like am awesome organization! What a fun experience!

Dear Boys Love Mom said...

I love reading your Hands4Hope posts! You do such amazing work with that organization. I wish I loved closer so that I could participate more often. I do loves Jennifers emails about needing volunteers. I promise to come back soon!

Jamie Kubeczka said...

That is so neat and what a great time! Love the pics!

Caitlin C. said...

I loved hearing about what you do and seeing the pictures! What a great cause and it's awesome that you've found something you're so passionate about. Love it!

Pretty Zesty said...

That looks like so much fun!!


Carol {Everyday Delights} said...

Your work sounds like a great place! And this retreat sounds like a blast!

allison said...

Wow! That looks so fun where you're jumping on the platforms!

Jess at Just Rainbows and Butterflies said...

Isnt it wonderful when you find a job that aligns so perfectly with your dreams and passions?! :) I'll have to check out ya'lls website and learn more!

Rod and Alex - aka: "Rolex" said...

You do such rewarding work! Looks like you have a fabulous group of kiddos that work hard and play hard! :)