Building Community

A story by Cassie, a member of Edventure’s 12th Start – Up team.

A team of 9 students are working on a challenge to start a SHED equivalent for young adults. This new Edventure initiative will be a weekly event for young adults focused on productivity and creativity.

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Sitting in the ‘thoughtbox’ at 9 o’clock, we wait to see who else will arrive to complete our team. Who knows what everyone else is thinking, but for me, meeting new people can be a real anxiety trigger.

A chronic health condition has meant that I have been unable to work for a number of years. With my symptoms recently improving, l’m on a journey to rebuild my confidence and preparing to return to what I love – working in the community and making a difference – it’s a mixture of nerves and excitement.

Luckily I’ve been here before, two weeks ago. I completed the ‘MAKE’ course at Edventure. This time I have an idea of what to expect. Its amazing how much less nervous I feel just these few weeks later.

The team at Edventure and at the Welshmill hub provide fertile ground for personal growth and a sense of community support which is infectious. Having previously worked in roles that made me passionate about working towards a more inclusive society, finding ways to create social equity, being here I’m reminded of what is possible when people get the right support at the right moment in their lives – I feel re-energized – back in touch with what drives me as a person. I feel inspired.

Our course leader, Amelia, will undoubtedly use her facilitation wizardry to bring the team together, enabling us to grow as individuals.

I know two of the other team members too; Leah and Lucinda were also on the most recent ‘MAKE’ course with me. The experience of learning new skills together whilst developing products to bring to market has built a friendships of a depth you wouldn’t expect in a little over a month. We have laughed and cried together.

Six more people arrive by 9:15 to make up the team of nine – we each share a little snipppet of why we’re here and are almost immediately thrown into our first challenge.

It involves blindfolds, water, a unicorn and a hula hoop… The ice is broken.

Wednesday morning continued our getting to know each other and we started to learn more about effective teamwork. Thrown in at the deep end, we prepared for ‘Edventure Soup’. Five hours to organise how to present the project to around forty people. All hungry to know whats going on. All hungry to share thoughts and ideas and soup!

Diversity within the team was immediately and evidently advantageous as we broke off into working groups – although nerve-wracking for a lot of us, it was a beautiful experience to feel the community start to come together in support of the project….
What an experience. 

Thursday was a chance for us to reflect on an intense few days – laying the foundations of trust required to quickly form a productive team.

In review of what we put together in one morning, having only met the day before, our eyes were opened to how much can be achieved when a group of motivated and passionate people come together to make something happen. If we can make that happen the day after meeting, imagine what we can achieve in 10 weeks. 

As we sat in the dappled shade of the trees, we set our own personal goals for our time on the course. It was a much needed moment of shared calm and quiet. We returned to the Hub and each shared a goal so as to be able to support each other in working towards them. We closed the day by sharing a little more of our personal stories. I leave feeling privileged to be part of a diverse team brought together by a common goal.

And that was it… the first week was over and our journey had begun.

I hope you’ll join us and follow as we work together to create a ‘SHED’ for young adults in Frome. We are ready for the challenge.

So, let me briefly introduce the team (bearing in mind I only met some of them two days ago of course!):

  • Rosie is another previous ‘MAKE’ student (last year) and an Artist. She is pursuing her dream of making a living from her art –  I’ve met her around the Hub and she came along and supported us during our course – that’s the kind of community that exists here. 
  • Chloe has come to Frome especially for this course, she is living with a host family during the course (arranged with support of Edventure). She brings a calming presence and sense of serenity to the group and is choosing her own path towards a meaningful career.
  • George lives in Frome, is a professional Forager and within the team already, a lifter of spirits and a creator of smiles and laughter
  • Charlie is staying in Frome for the course. He was in Iceland the week before we began ‘just’ climbing a Volcano. He embodies a sense of unhurried calm and modesty.
  • Felix has recently moved to Frome from Ghana – he is a bundle of positive energy with infectious enthusiasm for learning.
  • Leah also lives in Frome. She worked as a chef, is a talented maker and is a testament to the strength of the human spirit. Nothing will stop this woman when she is on a mission.
  • Beth has come all the way from America to attend this course – she has an interest in community building and alternative education. She is witty and bright.
  • Lucinda – another powerhouse of a woman. Mother, artist and blessed with an aptitude for creative and original thinking that I could only dream of.
  • I could wax lyrical about these people all day long and I’ve only known most of them for three days.
  • And then there’s Cassie – that’s me. I took on the task of documenting our first week. For the duration of the course, one of us will be documenting our journey, no doubt in increasingly creative and surprising ways…