US Training: Excerpts From the Fellows’ Blog

What follows below is a collection of excerpts from the Fellows’ Blog during the US Training Institute.  You can read more on the Fellows’ Blog.

Alec Yeh,  On Authentic Leadership  (09/22) We each got a deck of values, and we had to decide which two values were the most important. I personally chose “friendship” and “help others.” We then listed the top 10 things we do. We wanted to see if what we believe in, coincides with how we actually operate. It was interesting to see because in my case, it really didn’t seem like I live my life the way I believe. It helped me realize that perhaps, I may actually value different things, or perhaps that I should change how I live my life.

Ian Zimmermann, Our Role as Fellows (9/23) In response to an afternoon Twitter post, Whittemore asked us what we think our own roles will be when we arrive in Guatemala and Senegal. Our responses: Serve as an ambassador to and from the US, act as a student and a learner, serve as a cultural observer, cultivate self capacity, increase awareness, share attention and interests, and show the opportunities and potential of communities.

Laura Keaton, Current TV site visit (09/24): Current has a focus on citizen journalism—essentially encouraging everyday people to go out and film what’s going on around them! The whole idea is getting the news from people on the ground where the audience isn’t, and it doesn’t matter if the camera quality isn’t high definition because what really matters is that the story is interesting and it’s getting told when it otherwise wouldn’t. I’m sure you see how this is connected to all of us at GCY…

Andrew gave us a tour and then sat around with us and answered about a trillion questions ranging from “Oh my God that’s really Al Gore’s office?!!?” to tips for how to find the story that we want to tell. His advice was to turn the camera on ourselves, to tell our story of our journey. So that’s what I plan to do.

Gaya Morris (09/27) At the risk of sounding cliche, I would just like to say that the past few days have been some of the most inspiring and stimulating of my life. From our vantage point up here in the hills of the Intitute of Noetic Sciences in Petaluma, CA, spending one pleasant hour after the next listening to the inspiring stories of travelers, professors and social entreprenuers, its hard to see anything but hope and optimism in our surroundings and our future. This place feels like a sort of safe-haven or mini paradise with its beautiful weather, wholesome food and the company of cheerful, enthusiastic, now-familiar people.

Ananda Day, “Coming together” (09/29) To me, though, the group has not come together in one of these complicated action packed moments. Instead, we formed at the most inconspicuous times: as we slept on each other’s shoulders during the van ride back from our fifteen hour day in Paulo Alto, laughing till we couldn’t breathe at pictures of each other, creating goodnight rituals, sharing pictures of our lives, and pondering the questions of our lives together. All of these experiences and countless others have come together as the thread to our group, sewing us together into a seamless quilt of consciousness. Of course  we still retain the individuality of each square of our lives. Thanks to these things though – the small things, the little moments, bad jokes, awkward phrases, and silliest things the past week has really made it possible to say “I  know you, and you know me.”

Alec Yeh, “Walking Away to Discover Something New” (09/29) I just finished packing for Senegal. I can’t believe it. In three hours, I will be at the airport, waiting for my flight to DC, then my flight to Senegal. In 24 hours, I will be in a different country, a different continent; across the Atlantic Ocean. I never actually thought this day would come, you know? This idea of a gap year, was simply an idea. I said I would do it. I was all talk, but never did I think I would walk the walk.

So I wonder, who will I become by the end of this trip? When most challenged, when thrust into an unknown situation, who will I transform into? What will I discover about myself that I didn’t know before? What will I look like in seven months? Those questions will be answered in seven months time.