Sometimes Learning Looks a Little Awkward

November 13, 2017

Hitting the brakes on Summit at the Bay just two weeks before the event raised a few eyebrows. (No surprise there; it raised every damn hair on our necks.) But in the wake of The Reversal, we’re discovering something we never expected.

When your ninth-grader leaves her in-person interviews for a project until the last minute and then discovers that two of the people she needs to talk to are away on vacation, you let her learn from her mistake. She’s going to disappoint her group members, and she’s going to disappoint herself. And she’s probably not going to make the same mistake twice.

Sometimes the crash-and-burn is necessary to lock in the learning.

There are times, though, when you need to take action before the crash. You know: slam on the brakes, pull a quick deke — whatever it takes to avoid plowing into the moose.

The core team at Rethink Thinking recently had our own adventurous experience with hitting the brakes. Two weeks before Summit at the Bay was scheduled to kick off on November 18/19, we pulled back. Even though Jeff Hopkins, principal of the Pacific School for Innovation and Inquiry was on deck to lead these kids in discovering their passions through rich, mind-blowing inquiry projects, and even though we had dozens of youth coming to Victoria from interior BC, we pulled back. Even though we had supporters at our backs and sponsors at our sides and a wicked venue and food trucks and snacks and speakers and disco lights and a DJ…

We pulled back.

Because every time we turned around, we met another student or parent or teacher or vice-principal who had no idea this conversation was even happening in Victoria, let alone a whole event. And there was just too much risk that we would miss the kids who would truly flourish as a result of an engaging, inspiring and totally freeing event like Summit.

So we took a breath. And we pulled it alllll back.

Because we were learning as we went. We realized we needed a lot more runway to get 500 bums into those seats. We needed more than two months — and more horsepower than the four of us could manage on our own.

Growing pains. (Because baby, we be growin’.)

But pulling back was hard. Some people squealed, but thankfully — and surprisingly — the majority of them threw their fists in the air, telling us the new date means they can actually dial more kids into Summit. Get them pumped, primed, and stoked up for this exclusive weekend of thinking big. We’re already getting signal back from the community that more kids in other parts of BC want to be there. Other not-for-profit organizations are approaching us to partner in creating an experience that’s never to be forgotten.

It’s something we never expected. We thought we’d have to hustle double-hard to convince people of our legitimacy, but instead, we’ve sold more tickets, brought more partners on board, and begun carving a deeper strategic path.

Because people get it. They get what we’re doing. And they want to see it grow.

We’re so excited.

The community wants this to go off, and it wants it to go off BIG. Our community wants Rethink to knock this one out of the park and into the next time zone. Because we’re all working together to make a statement here: that our kids need different, broader, real-world, human skills to navigate a future that none of us can even fathom.

Call them 21st century skills.

So the big festivus that was set to take place on the weekend of November 18/19 has been moved to April 21/22. We’re still creating all the great experiences like before (the food trucks, the inquiry dive, the speakers, the entertainment . . . and the all-holy holi powder throw, natch). There will undoubtedly be even more on offer by the time Summit arrives.

And hey, we’re thrilled to still be throwing the Village Bash on Friday November 17. So if you haven’t got your tickets yet, get in there! They’re free of charge; the cheese n’ wine is on us! And so are the great conversations you’ll listen in on. Jeff Hopkins will be there, too, to run the crowd through a real-time inquiry so you can see what the kids get to experience when they attend Summit. We’ve got business owners, teachers, professors, deans, social services providers, principals, counsellors and social innovators coming that night. We’d love to see you there.

In the months leading up to Summit at the Bay, we’ll be spreading the word far and wide about those 21st century skills.

We’re on it, people. We’re all OVER it.

Let’s go.