This Thursday, I had the absolute privilege of co-facilitating the second Jewcology leadership training, which took place at the Teva Seminar on June 2.
Following the first leadership training at the Kayam Beit Midrash on March 14, we took participant feedback (both positive and negative) and went to work. Taking the basic framework (learning how to tell your story of self, story of us, and story of action now), we added Jewish environmental context, discussion of how we can apply this work in our communities, and opportunities for participants to make requests of each other. The result was that in addition to building skills for how to tell our own stories (which we achieved in the first training), we also created a community of leaders who want to continue working together, and who have opportunities to do so.
As a result of the Jewcology grant from the ROI Community, we have the opportunity to run this training three times – twice on the East Coast and once, coming up soon, on the West Coast (stay tuned for details). I've never actually had the opportunity to do an individual, learn lessons, rejigger and try again. I was really surprised by how much of a difference this made. It's amazing to see that we can learn from prior experience and apply these lessons to make the very same training even better.
And a reminder that even if you don't get everything right the first time, it's often quite worthwhile to learn from the experience and try again.
As a participant who attended both sessions told us: "I wanted to say again how much I appreciated the incorporation of feedback from the first training into the second. I thought it was terrific this past week."
My intention with these Jewcology trainings has been not only to teach people the specific skill (telling the leadership story), but also to awaken us as Jewish environmentalists to the opportunities leadership training and community organizing can offer to our movement. Most Jewish environmental leaders do their organizing by instinct, or with leadership training that comes from outside of our field. If your instincts or training are not a perfect fit, you may not be as successful as you could be. So many others have been thinking through the specifics of how community change happens. We need to take advantage of these opportunities!
I'm glad that I've had the opportunity to do my own learning through this experience, and I hope we'll have many more opportunities to share leadership trainings and make change together in the coming years.
(If you attended either trainings, please post your experiences and your leadership stories to share with others!)