On Saturday, November 2nd, thirteen area directors (representing over 800 children and 160 staff) gathered together for the ECEA’s first Director’s Retreat. This wonderful day focused on the development of the network’s core values which was facilitated by Lizann Peyton with support from Sara Kobylenski and Amy Brooks. The immediate feedback was overwhelmingly positive with one director quoted as saying that “today was a game changer”.
The group, working with innovative techniques from Lizann, worked in small groups on targeted discussion integrated with an art activity. After spending time discussing keywords that had arisen (collaborative, safe, honest, support, focus) the group worked in partners to find other trends and discuss the importance of these trends.
The day also featured a visit from Michael Bennett, representing the Couch Family Foundation, and discussion around the Foundation’s efforts in the region. After a wonderful “talking” lunch, the group expressed interest in continuing the work further as the “wordsmithing” is completed and the final Core Values are revealed.
The directors were able to stay a few minutes longer to talk to others without the usual “push” of having to get back to a short-staffed center. Overall, it was a much slower-paced day, dedicated to depth in understanding, depth in relationship building and a focused opportunity for a group of leaders to find common values that helped them define their vision for the network.