Viewing posts from: December 2011
11Dec
Winter Break in Frome
Updates

Monday was the last ‘official’ day of Edventure Frome this year. We reviewed our last community assignment at the YMCA, and made plans for continuing the individual projects over the winter break.

Edventure will start again on January 7th, in our new home, The Round Tower at the Black Swan, right in the town centre.

Thank you for following our updates, and have a great christmas & new year!

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11Dec
The Experience of Creating Edventure.
Updates

Looking back at the first few months of Edventure, I can see how Temujen’s and my experience and learning mirrored the experience of the apprentices.  Perhaps this is not surprising, especially considering that we invited the apprentices not to join as consumers of a product that we had created but as active partners in creating Edventure.

Just like the apprentices, we started with a dream, a set of abstract ideas, and a bag of thoughts and assumptions about how we can create the lives we would rather live, the world we would rather live in and the education we would rather have had. The dream propelled us into giving up previous work and other exciting opportunities and spending more time working than any other job we have had before. It felt like a risk without any guarantee of success costing us many anxious moments as well as giving us incredibly exciting sense of adventure.

I can now see how the dream let us walk naïvely and under-resourced into starting a new year-long programme, in a community we had not lived in before, with an untested business and education model- all within nine months.  This naïvety is what I’m extremely grateful for, as without it, the project would never have happened.

Just a few months before our anticipated launch we met many challenges that shook our trust in the dream and business model and even in each other.  Our funding and the building we had counted on fell through.  Recruitment was slow, and our team shrank from four to two when we choose to start up in a small market town rather than in a city. There were times when we thought we should defer the launch of  Edventure until the next year, but we wanted to learn the right lessons through doing, rather than further planning. We needed to step into the same space as we would invite the apprentices to step into.

One of the things that helped us through the muddy waters was ‘trust in the process’.  Trust that plans not working out is part of the process of creating an innovation that responds to reality rather than ideas; that group conflicts are part of becoming clearer about what we want as individuals;  that disengagement from what we do is part of distilling the essence that holds us together; and that the death of an old version of a team, model or idea is part of the growth of something new that better suits reality.   But that trust would have left us walking blindly if we were not to have met as many allies and friends on the way, a community of people who have been with us through challenges, triumphs and celebrations.  Nothing has ever been shaped and transformed by a single hand or two or three, but by a community.  These are the people who contributed to Edventure Frome through practical help or conversations during the first six months of the project.

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10Dec
Assignment #7: Cabaret Theatre
Updates

We have been do some exciting improvisation work with Annabelle Macfadyen, with the intention of performing cabaret. Her work spans the realms of theatre, music, dance, community arts, flash-mops, movement, cabaret and carnival. She has offered to support participants with their creative projects, and facilitate some creative group challenges.

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Community Impact

  • Helping leaders to become more flexible in responding to situations
  • Developing confidence and communication
  • Having fun!

Value Received

  • Team building, workshops, laughter.

Learning Outcomes

  • Collaborative learning
  • Improvisation and flexibility
  • Communication  skills
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10Dec
Frome Supermarket
Updates

Transformational Learning through Adventure: Taking Risks to Make Things Happen 

As part of Edventure every apprentice develops a personal project or business. Ben had been planning to start a wood-recycling business with Harry.  Their dream was to involve young unemployed people to recycle waste wood from the local community and use it to sell upcycled wood and build furniture.  By taking their dream into action, they gained skills for setting up a business and met many personal challenges along the way.

 A few months in Ben struggled to keep his motivation for the project and in a review session he reflected “When I dream about something everything seems possible. It feels like I can be who I want to be and that I can overcome anything. But then when I get stuck in, everything seems much more difficult.  I feel like I don’t have the right skills. I get distracted with new dreams and lose my motivation”.

Making an idea or project happen is going like going on an adventure.  Driven by a dream, an idea of what is possible, a journey begins that takes people away from what they know and what is comfortable, requiring them to meet inner and outer challenges. They gain skills that will help them on the way, find supporters and draw out the best of themselves –  in short,  learn and transform. 

Making a project happen is both a source of practical learning and an impulse for personal development.  This kind of learning ties into who people are and what is really important to them.  Ben and Harry are now running a small business building furniture an outdoor shelters of recycled wood

We had a great day at Frome Independent Market.

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10Dec
Week 11: YMCA, Vallis Veg, and wood-recycling
Updates

We had Cordelia Rowlat from Vallis Veg, who set up and run a local, organic veg box scheme over the last few years contribute to our group on monday. Besides reflecting on the lessons she learned, we explored many different potentials of working together next year. During the week, we completed an assignment for the YMCA Youth and Community Centre to increase their capacity to rent out space, and we started with building a community garden.

While Harry & Ben were away on the South-West Wood Recycling Conference, we worked together on transforming the feedback from our stakeholder meeting last week into tangible actions for next year. It feels great to go into the winter break with clear plans for the new year.

 

Vallis Veg
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07Dec
Assignment #6: Mendip YMCA Youth and Community Centre
Updates

The Vallis Road Youth and Community Centre has recently been reopened by the Mendip YMCA. Edventure Frome has worked with the new manager to contribute to the revamp of the center, indoors and outdoors.

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Community Impact

  • Supporting the YMCA in utilising community space better
  • Providing volunteering opportunities to young people
  • Starting on building a community garden

Value Received

  • Office, meeting and kitchen space for Edventure Frome

Learning Outcomes

  • Project management and leadership
  • Liaising with diverse stakeholders
  • Building  skills

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30Nov
Week 10: Edventure Frome’s first organisational learning cycle
Updates

The week beginning November 26th began with a session with Jo Berry, probably one of the most inspiring english figures working in Conflict Transformation. Jo lives in Frome and shared her story and experience, and helped us explore how we as an organisation and group of students can deal with and prevent conflict. Early next year we will have a follow up workshop with her.

While everybody was working on their individual projects and enterprises, Temujen and Johannes worked with Neil Oliver to prepare our first organisational reflection and revisioning day. We invited all stakeholders of the organisation to look at what we have done well, what we messed up, and what changes we have to implement now to respond to our learnings of the last two month. Neil, a very experienced facilitator based in Frome, did an amazing job at creating a space where feedback could be openly discussed. It provided us with the right information to redesign what we do. The changes will become obvious in the coming month…

And of course, a feast and celebration followed… Thank you to the Old Bath Arms for providing the space and food on such generous terms!

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29Nov
Week 9: Our first performance @ the Hub Club
Updates

The aim of the Hub Club was to create a space where people meet, help build community, have fun and raise money for local good causes.    Thanks to Chris Samuel for taking this video in the audience.  

The Edventure Philharmonic Orchestra 

The team made their debut at the inaugural evening of the Hub Club.   Among the performances Angus Barr sang  Oath of Allegiance and The Banker Who Lost His Bonus.

Angus Barr sings Commercial Christmas with the B Naturals at Frome Hub Club, Nov 2012
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27Nov
Assignment #5: Frome Hub Club
Updates

In the week commencing November 19th we geared up to our Hub Club Assignment. Zoe Ward was the project manager and our creative director. Annabelle Macfadyen supported us to put a set together. The aim of Frome Hub Club was to create a space where people meet, help build community, have fun and raise money for local good causes.

Community Impact

  • Raising money for good local causes (including Open Storytellers, a charity that is working with disabled adults).

Value Received

  • Edventure Frome has received £200 from the money raised

Learning Outcomes

  • Creative Direction of a performance
  • Improving skills in performing, playing together
  • Working together creatively
Angus Barr sings ‘Oath of Allegiance’ at Frome Hub Club, Nov 2012
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27Nov
Another trip to Somerset Wood Recycling!
Updates

As part of our continuing research into our wood recycling project, me, Harry and Dobbie made another trip down to the Somerset Wood Recycling centre in Weston Super-Mare. This time with the intention of spending the day there and getting more of a feel of how the place runs on a day to day basis.

We arrived early albeit getting slightly lost along the way (I blame bad directions from Harry…) and got stuck in. We were given a quick tour of the space and the workshop, introduced to some volunteers and then challenged to make something out of a large slab of wood that they had. The really laid back atmosphere of the place was really inspiring, they pretty much gave us free reign of the workshop with people available to help if we needed anything.

Later on in the day me and Harry went out in the truck on a collection. It was really interesting seeing how it all works. We visited a local concrete mixing firm that use a huge amount of wood weekly to create moulds. SWR visit their site roughly once a week and collect anything that they have put aside. It’s regular arrangements with businesses like this that account for the most of the wood collections.They charge per square yard of wood on stuff that isn’t immediately sellable at a price cheaper than landfill, and anything that is really useful they will take away for free.

When we returned we sat down with Triss, one of the founders of the project. He gave us a huge amount of information and advice, things that worked, things that he would’ve done differently and provided us with a bunch of documents and information that would be helpful to us. For me, hearing that they felt very much in the same boat when they started (described as one man in a warehouse with a big pile of wood) was really encouraging

On the way back, we got lost again. Even more lost than on the way. I blame Dobbie for that one…

Our next step is to turn all this talk into actual reality. We are hoping to send off a bunch of funding applications before the new year so we can secure the physical things that make our startup possible. Things like a truck to collect wood with and a space to do it in.

Also, to try and build up interest from people and businesses in the community, relationships with people that get through wood on a regular basis and people that would want to volunteer or use the services that we hope to provide.

Please pass the message on to anyone that you think might be interested!

My email is : [email protected]

My phone number is : 07907269228

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