Ben Rheinheimer | December 17, 2021
2021, you have been a year! You started with many questions and uncertainties about how we would be operating as an organization. However, it has been a wild ride of continuing to grow our virtual training presence, navigating the waters of creating safe spaces to return to in person trainings, and understanding how we as a team continue to work together in both in-person and remote environments. And through it all, we never wavered from our mission of inviting each person we encountered to discover their “why”, grow their skills, and inspire those around them through their actions and words. It has been a busy, good year, and it is still amazing that is almost over. In reflecting on what has happened this past year, there were so many wonderful experiences, however, one training continues to impact me both professionally and personally.
Each of the past three years I have had the pleasure of working with the Brian & Jeannelle Brady Center which is the Boys & Girls Club of Elkhart. Now, this hasn’t just been any training but rather a 36-hour retreat held off-site to get the team into a unique space to grow and learn. It has been fun to return each year as I continued to get to know the team better and while I wasn’t a part of the team, it felt that we had a new bond in year three that made it special. That being said, it was a little before the retreat that I learned that this year would be different. The beloved director who had been there for several years and who initiated the retreat announced that he would be leaving. So, I knew that this year was going to be unique. “Uncertainty” was not an uncommon theme for our retreats. In year 1, we were all uncertain about the experience and how the team would do being together for this long of a time. In year 2, we were uncertain about health concerns and how we would navigate the experience safely. But in year 3, we were now dealing with the uncertainty of where they were headed as a team. But it was in the uncertainty that we were able to have some amazing conversations and challenges of what an impending change would mean for this team. There were moments of frustration, moments of concern, and moments of anticipation. But probably the most exciting moment came at the supper table on the first evening when it was announced that one of their own had just been offered the position. And even though I wasn’t a part of the team, it was an honor to be able to celebrate with them in this moment. It was a testament to how impactful their work was not just among the kids they serve but also among their teammates. But our time wasn’t done. It was through this new revelation, that allowed us to have some raw conversations about how their identity, while strong, was certainly going to change as there were several changes to come.
In many of our trainings we get to challenge teams to better understand themselves and their work, but it was here at this retreat that I was able to clearly see how the help we offer can challenge the team to think through who they were, who they wanted to be, and how they might need to change to welcome new individuals and ideas into their club. It was a range of emotions that ultimately made for a special time for all involved. I don’t know what the future will hold for retreats or work with the club but in that moment, I was able to join into the team’s experience and feel just a bit of the excitement for the upcoming year as they prepared to continue their hard work of inspiring their community through their words, skills, and gifts. Thanks Brady Center for helping make 2021 a special one for ULEAD.
Ben Rheinheimer, Self-Efficacy Curator at ULEAD