2019 Annual Leadership Retreat

Ruth, Evan, Emily and Ryan discovering and sharing the best in Lark’s Song and its people during our Appreciative Inquiry session

Ruth, Evan, Emily and Ryan discovering and sharing the best in Lark’s Song and its people during our Appreciative Inquiry session

Reflecting on 2018

On January 25th and 26th, the Lark’s Song staff and Board of Directors joined together at the Fort Harrison State Park for their annual planning retreat. The retreat began with a reflection on the former year. Lark’s Song’s theme for 2018 was the Common Flourishing of Shalom. At the start of the year, Lark’s Song committed to be patient, harmonious, interdependent, present, purposeful, visible, excellent, daring, responsive, generous, loving, curiosity-sparkers, and owners of peace.  

Team members expressed how they saw the common flourishing of shalom emerge in the organization in 2018: 

“We did life together like a relay race and honored and received the learning of others while generously sharing our own learning as well. We also delighted in the ‘space’ of resting, reflecting, and unfolding… not just creating and forward movement.”

“The way that our staff held space for each other to be real, full humans with good days and bad days.”

“It permeated every program and dimension of Lark’s Song that I was witness to. Every individual was approached with the core assumptions, which comes back to Shalom.”

The core assumptions include that every person is creative, resourceful, whole, and relational, every person is uniquely valuable, every person is worthy of being championed, every person is capable of solving complex problems, and every person is ready to live at choice.

On Friday night, our team celebrated the growth and impact we had in 2018. Lark’s Song hosted many events in 2018 including Made Wild, Growing Goodness, Co-Lab Confab, Superhero Camp, the Day of Aliveness, Power of She, LSCC Soul Care Skill Share retreats, and a Little Larks workshop. The Lark’s Song Certified Coach Training Program completed two cohorts, training a total of 22 coaches. The Ceelelo School began its second year and our Little Larks Well-Being coaches were chosen to present at the International Positive Education Network World Positive Education Accelerator (WPEA) and Appreciative Inquiry (AI) Summit. Lark’s Song also added Len Anspach to the Board of Directors as the Treasurer.

Through the many exciting changes and events in 2018, Lark’s Song continued to rest in shalom.

Planning for 2019

Our team switched gears the next day to discuss our initiatives for the 2019 year.

The theme for 2019 is Slow Medicine: A deliberate and intentional approach to healing that is intentionally measured, mutually respectful, and skillfully administered. Slow Medicine requires one to trust the process and outcomes of curious learning, attentive care, and practicing toward mastery.

We set out to engage in the transformative work of courageously co-creating a more fulfilled and flourishing world through the Appreciative Inquiry (AI) model. This practice involves discovering the greatness that is happening in Lark’s Song and around the world, dreaming about the future of the organization together, designing real prototypes and patterns that create rhythmic, sustainable practices and solve complex problems, and delivering a set of high priority initiatives for the next 12 weeks.

The staff and board members worked hard to create brave ideas and concrete plans for the next 12 weeks. Emily Hathway explained that she enjoys the 12 week plan over a year long plan because it allows our team to focus and be more productive. Aubrey Baker and Erica Eyer enjoyed how the retreat allowed them to work with people on our team that they do not normally work with. “It brought about a team cohesiveness,” Aubrey explained.

Members from our team left the retreat feeling good about the plan they had created, although it was hard work to create. Ruth Rice explained that it “felt like a workout,” but that it feels nice to have a good plan.

Emily described Slow Medicine as trusting the soundness of the truth that Lark’s Song carries as an organization. She feels as though it lacks desperation; it is not a sprint. Slow Medicine, according to Emily, is leaning into being more than doing.

Erica explained that Slow Medicine to her means “floating down the lazy river instead of treading water.”

Aubrey described it as “both a challenge and a way to rest in what we are already doing.” She believes that the yearly themes build on each other. Lark’s Song will continue to embody the shalom of common flourishing while trusting the healing slow medicine brings.

BY Jaylan Miller | Writing Intern