“Are you with me now?” AJ Ryder
While on Kauai I met with Kapua, Mel and Lori to plan the next year’s work and there’s lots to do. This will be the year before the school opens and now it’s time to hire staff and immerse families in experiences with their children in what is come. One of the milestones to pass was the special use permit that was now approved by the planning board to site the school on agricultural land. The way Kapua described the meeting brought me back to the days of building The Met.
In one of our last emails Kapua ended it with this phrase. Lots to ponder there.
I ka ʻōlelo no ke ola, i ka ʻōlelo no ka make.
In language there is life, in language there is death.
- Mary Kawena Pukui
Amidst the intricate web of planning, a recurring theme emerges: the unpredictability of life and the impossibility of strategizing every facet of our journey. As Everett Hitch aptly noted, "But life has a way of making the foreseeable that which never happens and the unforeseeable that which your life becomes."
A delightful surprise came in the form of a Facetime call from Gabby and Ben Carr. Ben, now a member of the House of Commons in Canada, bridges the realms of education and politics. The prospect of collaborating with key figures like Matt Henderson, Chief Executive Officer of Winnipeg School Division, and Brian O’Leary, Manitoba’s Deputy Minister of Education, presents an unprecedented opportunity for influence. Plans are underway for a meeting in Ottawa and a potential rendezvous in Winnipeg during our visit in late January.
Adding to the momentum, Gabby is spearheading efforts in Montreal to establish a B-U and IBPLC, with potential collaborations extending to Nova Scotia alongside Dan Dillon.
Transitioning to our HFF social media initiatives, a deep dive into Instagram and TikTok revealed the vibrant world of young carpenters, trades and craftspeople. Their skillful endeavors, showcased through captivating content, warrant the attention they receive. Leveraging social media to spotlight the work of our Fellows in the field becomes a powerful tool for directly engaging youth. It serves a dual purpose—introducing the trades and crafts to a younger audience while sending a resounding message to schools to embrace a more dynamic approach in catering to students' interests.
These social media narratives extend beyond the confines of traditional classrooms, featuring young entrepreneurs in carpentry and mechanics forging their paths. This counter-narrative challenges recent stories exposing the exploitation of child labor by major industries, revealing a disconcerting indifference from auditors and authorities. Faced with the urgent need for young people to harness their skills to support themselves and their families with the caveat of doing work that is meaningful to them and their community, there is a call for legislation and policies that safeguard and promote safe, economically viable avenues for youth to contribute meaningfully to the workforce.
As we stand at the intersection of education, politics, and industry, the journey ahead is both promising and challenging. Building bridges between these spheres, we are poised to create lasting impact and inspire meaningful change.
We Met in the Park
I recently completed Andrew Coburn's enlightening book, "We Met in the Park." It's a unique perspective from an advisor, delving into the crucial interplay between students' mental and physical well-being through meaningful work and the integration of BPLiving. This narrative is a valuable resource for educators and parents, offering insights gleaned from the ups and downs of both advisors and students.
A standout moment in the book is the visit to Brevard County, a noteworthy Blue Zone in the U.S. Here Dr. Leriadas emphasizes their exceptional health, attributing it to the community ethos of "it's not a me place, it's an us place." Meanwhile Andrew also highlights, a 102-year-old Okinawan, Nakazato, on the importance of friendships and social connections in maintaining health, stating, "sometimes you can best take care of yourself by taking care of others."
On Wednesday, Andrea, Anthonette, and I gathered at about the halfway point San Diego and Los Angeles at The Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano. With ample space and garden-fresh food, we planned the integration of B-U and the IBPLC over the next four months. The bustling yet calm backdrop of workers and visitors allowed us to work at a relaxed pace. In the past, we’ve had meetings in places just like this in San Diego, Atlanta, Denver, New York and Portland.
Next week, my schedule is packed with meetings in LA alongside Pam, David Abel, Jeffrey Wallace of Leaders Up, Rock Tree Sky Kelly Candeale, culminating in a YARA Awards luncheon with Anthonette on Saturday.
The Okinawan Blue Zone imparts the wisdom of "hara hachi bu" – eat until you are 80% full.
Happy New Year!