Archives for posts with tag: charity

ImageI’ve spent the day deep in conversation with the Chief Executive of the Wilderness Foundation UK designing the course content for a leadership development programme we’re delivering later this year.

It was great to start with a blank sheet of paper – and a big pile of post it notes! – and brainstorm what we think would be the key areas for the leaders of tomorrow to focus on. As the programme is being delivered by the Wilderness Foundation, there is a heavy emphasis on nature based learning – using a variety of outdoor exercises to explore leadership skills and abilities. You might have seen in an earlier blog the fun I had hugging trees in an exercise on trust, teamwork and observation – it’s activities of that sort that we’ll be weaving into the programme.

After spending the day up to our armpits in post it notes and felt tip pens, we had an overall plan for the structure of the programme. We’d come up with some great thoughts for the detailed activities that will make up each day of the course.

Tomorrow we’ll be putting some meat on the bones of that structure, designing sessions and outlining activities. I can’t wait to use the opportunity to be creative, finding new and exciting ways to help the participants to discover the leadership potential within themselves.

Have you undertaken any leadership development training? What sorts of activities, tools, models or techniques really resonated with you? Are there any that you put into practice in your life and how effective have they been? Did any involve the great outdoors? I’d love to hear your experiences.


ImageWhat have you done in the past hour? Spent some time trawling about on the internet – Facebook, Twitter, blogs etc.? Perhaps a nice cup of tea? Maybe watched an episode of your favourite TV programme? A nice bit of sitting in general? Well, that’s certainly true for how many of the average hours in my free time are spent.

What about the average hour at work? Do they fly by as you struggle to get everything done that you need to? Or do they drag as you’d much rather be somewhere else? Does your boss or anyone else in your workplace tell you that they look forward to seeing you and that you make their day? I must admit I’m not sure that’s ever happened to me at work!

But I don’t spend every hour of my free time sitting at home, and I’ve found something that does result in me being told that I make someone’s day. For one hour every week, I volunteer as a Befriender for Age UK. It consists of me visiting an elderly couple (although the service is more often provided to older people who live alone), sitting with them and having a nice chat, or perhaps the occasional game of Scrabble. So I still get to indulge in my favourite pastime of sitting, while doing some good!

I absolutely love doing it, it’s great to meet and make friends with new people, especially new people that I would have been unlikely to make friends with in other circumstances, as I’m not sure my path would have crossed with that of a couple in their 90s without joining this service. We sit and chat about all sorts of things, from what’s going on at the moment to memories that they have from their long and interesting lives.

And it’s not just fun to sit and chat with a couple of really interesting people, it’s also very rewarding. As I’ve alluded to, I get fantastic feedback from them, such as “you’re exceptionally good company”, “we really look forward to seeing you” and – my favourite – “you’ve made my day”. How could it not make you feel good to hear that! Just by leaving my house, sitting in someone else’s chair and bending their ear for an hour (which has the added benefit of giving my lucky wife an hour off!) I can actually make a difference to someone’s day who doesn’t have a lot of company. A win-win situation, if ever I heard one!

So if you have a spare hour a week, a love of sitting and chatting, and a desire to make a difference to someone’s life, why not look into Befriending?