When we focus on our gratitude, the tide of disappointment and uncertainty goes out and the waves of love and reassurance come crashing in.
This is probably the easiest way to sum up a truly life changing experience that the Extensive Facilitator Training in Stanford has been for me. But in order for you to understand why I needed this to happen to me and for our communities of young champions, let me paint the picture. From the age of 12 (the age of our young cohort of Juniors at camp) to the age of 16 (senior forum cohort) tragically I would lose 3 mates to suicide. From 16 through to 26 I would continue to lose a further 5 to something that I consider so preventable when it’s at the root cause of mind and behavioural health.
It’s not something that affects and impacts me once then never again. It’s not something you get over 6 months down the track. These lives of my mates replay through my mind every single day and haunt me, a flashing slideshow of the faces I’ve lost and I’d do absolutely anything I possibly could to bring them back and show them how beautiful and meaningful their life could’ve been, the same way mine is now, but we can’t. But what I could do as one of the lucky ones, a suicide survivor is use that pain and grief and channel it to make a difference, to help young champions of tomorrow tap into their own inner strength and the strength of those around them so that they can be the young hero of their own story. To be who they dream of being and not who the world pushes them to become.
Fast track from that decision I made, sitting 15 rows back, 4 seats across in the last funeral I attended of my mate I lost. I have been extremely fortunate to of told my story to hundreds of thousands of people in 32 states, 3 countries around the world, but none as influential as the time I found myself in the company of Heather Yelland.
The day I met Heather will always ring thick to me. For me, a bloke who continuously struggles with the thoughts of failure, worthlessness and being a burden. I had no special way to articulate my pain and what I wanted to achieve to her, I simply said ‘I don’t want to sit up the back of any more funerals and I don’t want anyone else to feel what I’ve had to’. Heather paused me immediately, ‘you are the type of young man I have been looking for, for a long time’. It was that reassurance that I have always longed for that straight away made me feel like something special was going to happen or that I was in the presence of someone who believed in not only me but something greater for everyone else. I felt seen, heard and got. Funnily enough, this was the mantra for Heather and ‘Elevating Families’.
Fast track less than 9 months down the track, after spending one day with Heather, Skye, Jodi, Matty, Liam and the family at a Connection Zone event, I was in. Anything they were doing, I wanted to be part of it, because it wasn’t just me that felt like this, it was everyone. A rarity to feel like you belonged in such a short amount of time, but that’s what it is. A family of people with a common goal and a heap of heart!
Fortunately for me, I have been the lucky recipient to be put through my paces as part of FIT training. A month-long trip to California, USA to acquire an extensive skill set of 300+ hours of Quantum Learning strategies and practices that will help me engage with young champions not only through Green SuperCamp but in my daily advocacy. Facilitating learning that allows them to flex their muscles of their emotional struggles and find the uniqueness of who they really are based on their own values and truth.
So, the experience itself. AHHHHMAZZZINNNGG!!
I’ve been lucky to gain a wealth of experience from public speaking spanning over 5-6 years now, but to be pulled from those comforts of delivering from my heart space and storytelling every day, to learning to speak in alternate directional sets, learning to lower my walls of an alpha male (by speaking in a female voice for hours) and being even more comfortable with that inward step to vulnerability were some of the biggest learnings that I desperately needed being away at California State University.
I was always a kid at school that spent much of his time in the school corridor or the principals office, it didn’t teach me anything, often I was out there because of my inability to concentrate but also from a lack of ability of the teachers to understand the mind and behavioural challenges I was experiencing. It was hard enough to sit still without throwing monotone and mundane learning techniques amongst it. To see the ways in which this training engages the learning of every young kid is truly inspiring and something I wish had existed for my friends and for me, when we bounced through the system and out the other side to the wrong belief system or life path.
I land back in Australia with a greater appreciation of the SuperCamp experience and exactly what it means for our country and the young people who ache for something better than what they see day today. I can’t wait for Junior Forum in September where I will get to utilise the skill set I have been gifted with to help positively impact the lives of 100+ young legends. For them to learn in the style that suits them, to gain long lasting friendships as a result of being open to them and not shut off to the world, to acquire the belief in themselves and the value of who they are so they can thrive through life situations and challenges, not just survive but grow into the person their meant to become.
I am incredibly blessed to be alive, to be anywhere in the world, but to be walking this path. And to walk it with the incredibly compassionate and caring team at Green SuperCamp & Elevating Families gives me endless amounts of energy and drive that I will continue to tap into and grow from for years and years to come. The difference between what we do and what we could be doing is the change this world needs.
Nobody out there deserves to wake up feeling exhausted by their own thoughts, feelings and emotions and I refuse to sit up the back of any more preventable funerals. Thank you to Heather & Jodi, for gifting me an amazing experience to help become the best version of me, the continual guidance, wisdom and opportunity that they so freely give to everyone that crosses their path, will help to live the difference I was born to make.
Thank you to Zoe & Liam for sharing in this experience to America with me, you both have helped hold the space for me to grow and gain the most out of this incredible training.
From one believer in recovery to another. From one believer in something better for our kids, our future to another. We all are loved & worthwhile.