Supporting Each Other's Success

Val Rathjen, Community Learning Network

1 0 7 June 2016

Is it just me, or has the last year gone by in a flash? In many ways it seems like just yesterday that I was transitioning out of my old role with Flagstaff Adult Learning and into the newly created Regional Support Staff team. Now, as the pace of life has slowed down for a moment, I’m trying to take a breath and reflect a little on what I’ve learned over the last year.

I’ve learned the power of a team; none of us could do the work we do in isolation. I’ve learned that while change can be challenging, it can also lead to great new possibilities. And I’ve learned that the strength of our system is the people – people willing to show up day after day and give 150% so that others’ lives can be changed through the power of learning.

The desire to share and empower isn’t limited to just the learners you serve, it can also be seen in the willingness of folks to share their wisdom and ideas with other CALPs throughout the province. We see this happening through the CALP Portal, at Regional Meetings and basically any time you get two or more CALP Staff in a room together. Everyone wants to share, encourage and support each other any way they can, and this makes you all amazing!

The generous nature of our system has even been noted on the CALP Professional Development Logic Model where it says:

“CALP staff learn about the value of collaborative learning and contribute to and utilize collective wisdom.”

We have a wealth of knowledge accumulated through years of experience all across this province, but not only are veteran CALP Staff willing and able to share, the new CALP Staff have embraced this principle wholeheartedly as well. I saw this lived out so clearly in the room of new CALP Staff taking the latest Introduction to Adult Foundational Learning workshop. It was adult learning principles at their best – people bringing their talents and passion with them and then sharing their journey with those around them. I loved it!

A short narrative showed up on Facebook recently which exemplifies this core philosophy of building each other up and succeeding together.

There was a farmer who grew excellent quality corn. Every year he won the award for the best grown corn. One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learned something interesting about how he grew it. The reported discovered that the farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbours. “How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbours when they are entering corn in competition with yours each year?” the reported asked.

“Why sir,” said the farmer, “Didn’t you know? The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbours grow inferior corn, cross- pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbour grow good corn.”
So it is with our lives… Those who want to live meaningfully and well must help enrich the lives of others, for the value of a life is measured by the lives it touches. And those who choose to be happy must help others find happiness, for the welfare of each is bound up with the welfare of all…

Call it power of collectivity…
Call it a principle of success…
Call it a law of life…

The fact is, none of us truly wins until we all win!

Author Unknown

I want to thank all of you who have shared your journey with me over this past year. Let’s keep sharing the journey, it’s so much more fun when you don’t walk alone!

Val Rathjen
Regional Support Staff
East-Central Alberta


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