By Kat Treister

The CCI Greenheart team was delighted to welcome Katia Petersen, and the Worldview concepts into our annual conference, and now forever into our hearts!  The weekend began on Friday, October 4th, with an afternoon session held for CCI Greenheart’s 8 Regional Directors and 19 members of the Chicago Office staff.   The goal of the afternoon was to introduce the concepts of Worldview and to work through the lessons and activities to bring our team that is geographically scattered closer together.  Split up into small groups, we defined our Worldviews by clipping images and words from magazines and pasting them onto poster board.  The team was delighted to see the many different approaches and interpretations of this activity, which opened all of our minds to the complexity of the Worldview concept.  At the same time, it helped simplify how we see and relate to one another because by thinking in this context we have a platform for better understanding each individual person.  The team at the end of the day felt united, rejuvenated, and excited that we would be getting more time with Katia the following day!

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On day 2, our group from Friday was joined by 37 CCI Greenheart Local Coordinators (LCs).  LCs are members of our field staff that work directly with students, host families and schools, in their respective communities, and are the foundation of CCI Greenheart high school exchange programs.  This particular group of LCs work with students that have been awarded a scholarship, sponsored by the US Department of State, to participate in the FLEX (Future Leader’s Exchange) or YES (Youth Exchange and Study) program.  The students that are selected to participate in these programs are considered the future leaders of our world and are held to a very high standard.

At each FLEX/YES annual training conference, amidst the ‘nuts and bolts’ training, we invite a special guest presenter to bring fresh ideas and perspectives to the group.  We asked Katia to be our Keynote speaker in the morning, and to conduct two sessions in the afternoon.  Our goal for the day was that the LCs would leave feeling better equipped to assist exchange students and host families in dealing with adjustment issues.  We also wanted to help the LCs feel part of the team, as they are even more geographically scattered than our team from Friday.  Our goals were easily met, and the ultimate result of Katia’s sessions was more profound than any of us could have imagined!

The attendees were so moved by Katia’s opening remarks, mixed with the very poignant corresponding videos, that when we flicked on the lights after watching “Lost Generation” there was not a dry eye in the house!  The sentiment continued throughout the afternoon as we shared surprising facts about ourselves, created PSAs for our organization, and ended the day by holding hands, in one large circle, and setting our intentions.  The room was buzzing with positive energy and inspiration, and the LCs were eager to get back home and start doing these same activities with the young, future leaders of our world. I speak for all of us in attendance when I say that we are eternally grateful to have met Katia and to now be part of the Worldview family.  We love you!

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