Given the rapid pace at which we all operate, it can be a challenge to pause and reflect on progress and accomplishments. This week, I've found myself saying (repetitively) "how is it June already?!"; without taking stock of the investment placed into each month.
So, over the long weekend I wrote a list (of course) of the five most exciting / challenging / thought provoking highlights for me personally for the month of May.
1. Hanging out with Prince Harry
Combining some of the old stalwarts from the Student Volunteer Army's earthquake days, trustees of the subsequent Foundation & the current UC SVA leadership team, we were fortunate to host HRH Prince Harry for a wheelbarrow-based conversation.
We chatted about the community ethos that the SVA movement (across all iterations) embodies, and how important it is to see that intent replicated around the world. He clearly understood the "why" that we were talking about when discussing concepts such as a National Service Day; and how that connects + resonates with the younger generation.
And yes - he's just as good (if not better) in person as everyone purports him to be!
2. PechaKucha Night Christchurch
PechaKucha Night Christchurch and Heritage New Zealand presented a thoroughly entertaining and informative evening; the speakers ranged from the Arts Centre's own CEO Andre Lovatt to Jenny May talking about the "inside story" through to James Arps talking about heritage capturing on Instagram.
The concept is straightforward: each presenter gets 20 slides, for 20 seconds each. Sound easy? It almost definitely isn't.
We were so glad that we'd taken the time to check it out - and I'd highly recommend keeping an eye out for a PechaKucha Night near you. In the meantime, the presentations are accessible and great to look through!
3. I'm now a member of the Christchurch Rotary Club!
With over 33,000 Rotary clubs around the world, it's the type of organisation that everyone recognises by name: but often, that's about where it ends.
I first got involved with the Christchurch Rotary Club when I was a guest speaker in 2013 and I have maintained connections with them ever since. When I was approached about membership, I saw it as an exciting opportunity to get to know another organisation in Canterbury that is dedicated to fostering service. I think that, as a younger generation, we're very quick to start or launch initiatives (which is great, and I'm 100% behind that!), but there is a lot of learning to be gained when you engage with some of the more traditional structures.
So, I've now got my official badge (pictured) and am looking forward to getting involved with some of their communications and membership work streams over the coming year!
4. The UC 21 Day Challenge
In late April I was approached to be a business mentor for a student in the UC 21 Day Challenge. Basically, thirty students were placed into teams of five, and given an imaginary $5,000 (which becomes real if you're the winning team) to assist a remote community in the Philippines (and supported by their mentors). Driven by Linda Cruse (bottom left), it was a pan-university challenge, that took place over three weeks.
My team (the Purple Carabao) were an incredibly inspiring group of students, who developed a Community Livelihood Fund to address some of the challenges the residents face through a lack of access to capital. While they weren't the winning team, their concept and methodology was particularly impressive - and they're currently testing to see whether they might be able to implement the scheme in Tarong, regardless.
The opportunity to be involved with such great students and giving back to the University was wonderful; but it was also particularly encouraging to see a new and untested initiative take flight, so successfully!
5. Aaaaand, a new toy!
About six months ago, I tried paddle boarding for the first time: and totally fell in love with it.
Fast forward to May, and I am now the proud owner of my very own board (as pictured, with a "helping" puppy dog). I'm really looking forward to getting out and having a play on the harbour - even as it's getting chillier!
So, those are my highlights from the month of May: jotted down, recorded and stored. What's been the highlight of the past week, month or year for you? I'd love to hear - let's see if this becomes a more regular "thing"!