On my second day at WILD10, I had an opportunity to follow the CoalitionWILD presentation team (made up of Crista Valentino, Jordi Van Oort, Michael Grover, and Lincoln Meyer) as they prepared for their launch. It really started yesterday with the team of putting the finishing touches on their presentation, on top of running workshops, managing the CoalitionWILD lounge, having impromptu meetings, and squeezing in some tappas. I've mentioned the level of collaboration and willingness to help others in my last post, and that certainly continued into the second day of WILD10.
The experience of preparing a presentation, and in this case the official launch of a movement of rising leaders, was intense and inspiring. The CoalitionWILD team was short a couple of key members (due to sickness and the current political situation in the USA), which increased the burden of the launch presentation. Fortunately, the cool and composed team managed to stay on top of things with good humour. In fact, it was great humour. A combination of Dutch and South African's has really opened up my eyes and ears to a new level of comedy, when I can understand them (I am intentionally being vague - the details are crude, very crude).
The morning of the second day was relatively quiet as the presenters took the time to practice their speeches. The presenters room was tense as final adjustments were made. The tension was eventually broken with a few Miley Cyrus jokes and impromptu raps. Quick; what rhymes with CoalitionWILD?
Putting my photographer hat on allowed me to explore the stage, and when it was time for Crista and the group to present, I had the best seats in the house. The presentation was rousing. I think the best sign was the multiple mid-speech claps it received. The hard work had paid off.
The CoalitionWILD team honed in the message of the need for giving youth a space to connect, receive effective mentorship, and develop environmental projects. Again, multiple mid-speech claps. Awesome.
The post-presentation interview session with local and international media was when the team shined the most. Faced with both skepticism and excitement, the team handled both with ease and poise.
When asked how to get disengaged youth excited about making a difference, the team noted the potential for using new social technologies effectively and the power of an outdoor experience. Michael, Jordi, and Lincoln noted how much depression has grown amongst youth today and how, being outdoors can help overcome that. When asked what connects youth, Michael simply took out his phone. He made the point that youth are more connected than ever, which can be used for positive change. Getting youth outside seemed to resonate with the more skeptical media personnel.
When discussions went off topic, the team expertly enforced the key messages of CoalitionWILD. One of my favourite and most insightful moments was when the team acknowledged the importance of having something to fight for, but in the context of a debate. A healthy debate, or space for sharing ideas should nurture discussion, not polarize. I think this really captured CoalitionWILD, and I am interested in how such a mature and poised organization develops going forward.
My time shadowing CoalitionWILD is almost at an end. Keep checking in as I explore some of the other amazing organiztaions and ideas coming from WILD10!