Empowering and Equipping Our Future w/ Resilience. Hope. Focus. Grit.
During the week of August 5 - August 10, 2018, I had the privilege of leading our Joe and Jan Veteran Leadership Development Institute at East Bay Camp in Hudson, Illinois. Attendees and leadership counselors followed my lead as we journeyed into the wilderness of adventure, self-discovery, and true belonging. This will go down in the history books as a pivotal moment in the lives of all in attendance.
Our Joe and Jan Veteran "Be Un-Stoppable" curriculum is a 4-chapter brain altering workbook that gives rise to our many primal instincts and fears, which in turn induces vulnerability, maybe some tears, and personal fears as we peeled back the Band-Aid of real-life ISSUES. Our youth took courage and decided to face their real-life ISSUES together and head-on. Our redemption came the way of writing down and burning our greatest shame and fears in a fire pit and through the verbal releasing of our souls from the what was, as we deeply denounced all distractions and verbally expressed what mattered most! Students and leadership counselors alike learned the importance of setting their own expectations (early) and not rely on others to set expectations for them. Our time was spent challenging and stretching each individual to reach his/her greatest capacity and expression of self (without fitting in) while fully occupying his/her purpose on earth. There was not a dry eye in the building after it was all said and done.
Maya Angelou said it best: "You only are free when you realize you belong no place — you belong every place — no place at all. The price is high. The reward is great." In short, to become who we really are is going cost us everything; therefore, we charge our youth to fix their eyes and attention on rebuilding their own constitution. We denounced all factions and subgroups and focused on the one "group" that matters… the "Human Group". We experienced PEOPLE not devices, as we all spiraled to deeper levels of self and community. We released ourselves from life-altering fears and the shame of our pasts. We gave ourselves permission to no longer be stagnate and fixated on possessions but rather on SELF-EMPOWERMENT!
The Joe and Jan Veteran Institute provides youth and professional groups with intensive opportunities for physical, mental, spiritual, and relationship growth and deepening their community roots by sharing common space and programs for the purpose of personal transformation. Youth participated in a week of whole health and wellness specific and inter-character development. The components of the program are designed to bring restoration with self, country, family, community, and spirit. The program's design will increase tolerance and respect among youth and professional groups of various backgrounds.
Lastly, this method of leadership development is scalable, with a systems ontology designed to accommodate participants as they come, go, and change.