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Last week, Part 1 of this blog entry provided a quick teaser with an update on some examples of the social initiatives that our Agents are currently working on during their Academy experience. Stay tuned, as in the near future we will be doing a feature with a more detailed look at every single one of the participants, profiling the social issues they’ve identified along with the strategy and goals of their respective initiatives.
For now, Part 2 of this edition of the Insider’s Diary is focused on sharing some great pictures (along with insightful descriptions) of the excitement and learnings that arose from recently completed Module 4. Enjoy!
Narrated by Robert Balfour – Program Coordinator, Academy of Agents of Change
Module 4: “Finding My Passion”
Dates: May 15-20, 2013
Location: Lake San Pablo, province of Imbabura, Ecuador
Here are our Agents getting ready to board the plane that took us to Quito. All of them had been to Quito before but it was their first time exploring the Andes, camping in the mountains and trekking above 3000 meters. With the help of local sponsors from the island of Santa Cruz, our 8 participants were able to travel to the northern part of Ecuador to visit the main campus of Outward Bound Ecuador. We spent 5 days in total there taking advantage of all the activities that Outward Bound had to offer.
Sugeidy jumping through the air!
The first activity that opened our fourth module included a bit of a dare, a lot of determination, and the trust of our entire group. Each participant had to climb a wooden post and then jump from the top of it while trying to touch a ball hanging from a top wire. To do this, each participant had to wear a harness, helmet, and was belayed by the rest of the group. The ball symbolized a future goal that they wanted to achieve and their jump symbolized how determined they were to accomplish it. It didn’t matter whether or not they were able to touch the ball or if it took each one a long time to jump. They could even decide if they wanted to do it or not. What mattered the most was their attitude towards being aware of their limits, being aware of their fears, and later on deciding what to do with them. By the end of the activity each one of our Agents had jumped, and had taken a huge step towards beating their own fears, accomplishing their initiatives, and following their dreams.
Juan Andrés takes charge.
Keeping up with team building activities, this dynamic challenge above proved to be a great one to see how willing our participants were to work as a group by helping each other, communicating clear messages, and making it possible for everyone on the team to reach a common goal. Juan Andrés quickly became the leader of this activity and helped organize the entire group. Juan Andrés is the youngest of them all and it was interesting to see how at first his energy and impulsivity got the best of him, which worked against him as he tried to consolidate the whole group. Later on, after three failed attempts, Juan Andrés was able to control that energy, deciding to go last and to patiently give instructions on how to proceed while taking into account everyone’s suggestions. By the end, our Agents were able to surpass the challenge easily while working together as a team. You can see Juan Andrés in this picture wearing a light blue sweater, patiently waiting in the back until all of his teammates had accomplished the goal.
In this picture, Sugeidy is being helped by Constanza, our Outward Bound facilitator, instructing her on the proper way to pack a backpack, with the goal being to carry it safely while walking at 3000 meters above sea level. This was part of the preparation that each Agent had to go through in order to get ready for their “solos”. The solo was an incredible experience for our participants. The basic idea was that each member of our group had to pack a tent, a sleeping bag, a bit of food (that was mostly fruit), and warm clothes. After that, we started our walk, which took us in the direction of the summit of a nearby mountain called “Cubilche.” Once there, each participant stayed in a specific area that Constanza had determined. The Agents were required to spend a total of 18 hours alone with no technological devices of any sort available to them. They spent those 18 hours watching the beautiful views of Imbabura Mountain, San Pablo Lake, and Cayambe, the snowcapped volcano and one of the tallest in Ecuador.
This a picture of Melissa and Diana working on their initiatives and preparing their first iteration of the budget that they will have to use to get their initiatives up and running. Both Melissa and Diana teamed up and are working together to produce a theater play that focuses on passing forth information about sexuality in a fun, responsible and approachable way for adolescents of their same age group.
Celebrating a successful Module 4!
This picture shows Eduardo Balarezo, founder of Lonesome George & Co. and Georgina Marten, the Academy´s director, enjoying some quality time with the whole group of Agents. The photo was taken at the end of our fourth module, after we had camped for the previous 5 nights, walked in the neighboring mountains, climbed and jumped from wooden posts, worked on the important social initiatives, and enjoyed cool and starry nights!
Dinner is served!
Our last night and supper in mainland Ecuador.
Thank you so much for being a part of our online community and following our blog! Please check back again soon – as mentioned, we’ll be giving you deeper insight into the world of each of our participants as they continue their journey. This is just the beginning for our Agents of Change!!!