Where to start? I have had many turning points during my time at Enviros.
But, I think what is most notable for me is my last stint at Base Camp, when I was working as Family Therapist. I went to work every week feeling so grateful to be ‘coming home’. To be received week in and week out, with open arms, open minds and open hearts by the wonderful team of individuals, who dedicate themselves to working out there. Not only would the staff receive me in such a warm and inviting way, but the clients would as well! If that is not a gift, I don’t know what is!?
So, why is this a turning point? There was a shift that I noticed not only in myself, a helping professional. But, also in the Base Camp program. This shift was in how we were choosing to show up as people, and as professionals. There came a point where simultaneously we realized that true change, growth, and healing, happens in a genuine relationship. So simultaneously, we started to look at what that really means. This became a pursuit of the program, to really get clear on how we were showing up with our clients. In the meantime, I was taking on this exploration in my own life. What we learned collectively is that to show up in relationship we have to be vulnerable.
Why is this important? Well, we can’t just expect our clients to be ok with being vulnerable; while we, as professionals, tower over them, without flaws or imperfections, without humanness. We learned that we needed to model vulnerability and to ‘show up’ ourselves. This would give permission to our clients to do the same. We are all human and we are all in this together. We are all seeking belonging and acceptance, simply by virtue of us all being humans. When this was realized, and we started truly showing up, leading with our hearts over our heads, our retention rate went up, our conversations suddenly felt more meaningful, and our relationships with other staff, with clients, with family and with the community started to feel more intentional and impactful.
So, what was the magic trick? To show-up whole heartedly. Not to spill our guts out, but simply to feel, to feel our own stuff and to feel what was going on for our clients. That’s all. And what did we hear from clients when we started to lead from this heart-centered place? We heard from multiple clients that this was the first time they ever felt heard, understood or seen. Some even referred to us as ‘a family’. If that doesn’t move a person I don’t know what does!
I owe a lot to this incredible organization for showing me what community can really look like. For accepting me for exactly who I am and for giving me space to show up in my own unique way, as an individual and as a therapist! And if there is one thing I learned over time, is that if I am feeling this as a staff member, I am certain our clients are feeling the same.
Enviros has been greatly privileged by the amazing people who’ve come through the doors…staff, students and families alike. As part of our 40th Anniversary celebration, we look to honor those who’ve been a part of the agency and the stories of their time here.