The Importance of Leadership Staff Working in the Trenches

I have always believed there is great value in being able to know the inner workings of any work environment. To understand how and why the system function the way it does. To know what is working and what is not.  At Calo, I feel that it is even more important than in other settings. Being in the trenches with the students and staff gives a whole new perspective and reminds me why I do what I do every day. Monday was one of those astounding day where I had the privilege of taking off my admissions hat for a day and stepping into the role of a coach. I spent the day working on the front lines with our female students.  I worked with some amazing staff and some even more amazing students.  It was encouraging to see our students move through their daily activities with a focus on the importance of relationships in their lives.  I was able to see the amazing power of relationships at work: relationships between the coaches and the students, the students and their therapists, the students and the canines and how those relationships are utilized to create change.

One of the most impactful parts of the day for me was during a trust oriented recreation therapy activity. Students participated in the leap of faith a high ropes course event that requires students to scale our 30 foot indoor climbing wall then progress to a high ropes activity where they jump from a steel beam to a trapeze set high over the Calo milieu. The event requires a great deal of trust between to the recreation therapist and the student and support from the peers and staff below. Each student navigated the experience a bit differently and each student took varying amounts of time to complete the task. What I noticed throughout the process was that the task was not where the power laid. The power of the event lay in the relationship between the student and staff facilitating the event.  One young lady spent forty-five minutes on the steel beam attempting to convince her body to jump from the beam to the trapeze.  Throughout that time she relied extensively on the staff to coach her, ease her fears and to provide information in regard to her need for safety. While this young lady was not able to make the jump the power of those forty-five minutes in regard to building her sense of self-worth, her value as a person and her capability was enormous. She was able to discuss at a deep level how the experience impacted her and her goal to complete the leap of faith at her program graduation.  The experience allowed her to work through her immense fear and set goals for the future.

The value of being in the trenches provided me with a small window into what occurs every single day at Calo and how relationships truly are the catalyst for change here. It was a truly refreshing experience.