My post is in 3 parts . . .
Part 1 – Written for fellow campers who went on the weekend and/or those considering a SLTcamp in the future
Part 2 – My reflections of the weekend
Part 3 – What I got out of the weekend
Roll up, roll up! . . .
Who is up for a weekend away in a youth hostel, in the middle of term, actually in the middle of November! NB you will be sharing a bedroom with up to 4 other people who you have never met before. . . Yes I can see this is grabbing you; images of cold and basic conditions!
Let’s re-frame this so you can appreciate how amazing and positive the weekend was . . .
How it all began
A tweet appeared in the summer promoting the first ever #SLTcamp. An opportunity for senior leaders and aspiring senior leaders to come together to share, reflect and be inspired. Participants would be the driving force in igniting a new phenomenon. Tickets went quickly and the rest is history (legendary?!)
The concept and aims were very compelling, but I will be totally honest, the thought of a youth hostel in November and sharing a small bedroom with 4 complete strangers did not excite me (bad experience in the past on a group holiday tour = grim!). However, the passion of the organisers was tangible and the potential for the weekend unquantifiable, so much so that I signed up without hesitation; even though I knew I would have to leave for an Open Morning at School on the Saturday.
I was fired up with enthusiasm as I set off after school and that sense that you were going to be part of something special, something unique, as well as a degree of you have got to be mad doing this, you will be exhausted come Monday!
I enjoyed my favourite national car park on route, the M25; always a pleasure especially on a Friday night during the rush hour. My sat. nav. had come up with a very direct route once I exited the A3. I was soon laughing away as the roads got narrower and narrower and I was grateful it was dark so that I could see any approaching cars as I navigated the Surrey Hills. My sat. nav. finally informed me I had arrived, when clearly I had not . . . (always a good one!) but thankfully there was a sign to the youth hostel at this point so I headed up the lane. @SLTcamp was correct about the muddy driveway but our path was clearly marked out and from the word go you knew attention to detail was in place.
Part 2 – Reflections on the weekend
It was about ‘team together’ throughout the weekend – everyone was ‘up for it’/got involved and participated in the sessions and social activities
The presentations from fellow campers were very helpful and inspiring
Excellent food – thank you Phil and Maria
Virtual presentations were fun, with resounding messages. Thank you to all
Sharing a bedroom was not a trial in anyway, great conversations!
Many congratulations and thanks to Stephen and Sarah for dreaming the dream and for making it happen
It was an honour to be a part of the first #SLTcamp. May there be many more!
Part 3 – What I got out of the weekend
The anticipated/hoped for – being with fellow passionate professionals, hearing and sharing great ideas/exemplary practice which was inspiring and motivating
Positive networking – meeting people I regularly tweet with face-to-face was special, as well as adding to my PLN
The challenge – I met outstanding middle and senior leaders, some of whom were questioning if they could step up to the next level and ultimately Headship; some had not had the affirmation they deserved to encourage them in their journey. I was challenged as a Head, not just to continue to provide training and leadership opportunities for my staff but also to ensure that I articulate clearly and often my belief in my staff as emerging senior leaders. Also, I want to ensure that colleagues develop the resilience and adaptability needed to survive at senior leadership level
Something for everyone – There were some key messages that were relevant for all, so during assembly on the Monday after the weekend I referenced the weekend and said: 1) we never stop learning, regardless of our age 2) learning is an adventure, it is fun and motivating and 3) learn to take opportunities (they may never come again)