What happens when you put 55 youth together with 25 adults for 8 days?
A few weeks ago I worked on LifeBeat – a youth empowerment programme using the creative arts, and the creative community model that was developed by Charlie Murphy (PYE Global). Its a great programme for the youth – no doubt. And the reason why I blog about it is because of its empowering effect not only on youth, but also the volunteers. The impact it has on adults is – in my opinion- much greater than quite a few personal/leadership development programmes I know off.
Why? This is what I think contributes: Living in community together – with other diverse adults & teenagers; working in the service of others; taking creative risks through leading activities / workshops, and being invited to bring your gifts to others and to be authentic (teenagers just don’t ‘take’ in-authenticity – is that why adults find them so challenging?); the questions teenagers are asking themselves are still alive, yet often suppressed in adults.
Why is this important news? The need of personal growth / authentic leadership is great in these times of social and environmental challenges. So learning opportunities that facilitate this are needed. Yet, I belief the time of people getting together for a weeks course – to play some ‘games’, and sit in circle (or even watch some slides) – is over. A more systemic approach is – for example – LifeBeat. It provides a ‘service’ for youth, and at the same time a large amount of adults benefit – for free. Its the sweet-spot between a powerful learning experience and serving a need of our time. Elos work – for example the Warriors Without Weapons – is another example of such sweet spot. In times of economic hart ship, this may be even the ONLY way in which the majority of people can benefit from personal / leadership development programmes. And certainly, the learning that comes from interacting with and serving the ‘real needs of the world’ is more relevant to our times than games/models/theories that have arisen from an unsustainable paradigm.