Catalyst Bootcamp Blog by Polly Wells, Catalyse Change CIC intern.
This year’s Catalyst Bootcamp consisted of 3 days of being inspired, informed, and integrated into a powerful network of women. I was fortunate enough to attend the Bootcamp as a Catalyse Change (CC) intern, having helped out with some of the preparations for the event. However, sending emails and printing handouts hardly prepared me for the real event: the openness of everyone’s minds, their willingness to share and to learn, and the sense of unity between us, the young women, and each formidable woman who devoted some time to us.
From panel discussions with women working in a range of sectors, to finding our purpose (or ‘Ikigai’), to coming up with solutions to some of today’s toughest sustainability challenges, to sucking on a raisin for 7 minutes. That last one was part of a mindfulness training session, which taught us all to give
greater thought to our everyday activities but also taught us 7 minutes is a really long time to eat a single raisin. We drummed, danced, yoga-ed, and taste-tested tea at Pukka (whilst learning more about the company’s strong ethics and hearing from some of the great women who work there). Each activity involved the whole group and involved sharing experiences, bonding us together. We were also able to network with the fantastic women who will soon become our Catalyst Mentors!
I am particularly excited about CC’s new Mentor programme. I have been involved with the programme in developing our Handbooks, our go-to-guides, for both mentors and mentees, as well as liaising with the mentors. Having done some research into the benefits of youth mentoring, I cannot wait to see what kind of impact this programme is going to have on a young woman’s life and career goals, mine included!
The final activity of the Bootcamp was setting ourselves goals, or ‘Sustainability Pledges’. These Pledges ranged from volunteering and shopping more in charity shops to ending world poverty. These were all very personal goals, each one being unique, and as such, perfectly matched to an individual’s passions and strengths. Setting goals was a topic covered in great detail during the Bootcamp and surely a very useful skill to learn, but, what I most appreciated from this exercise was each young woman applauding and encouraging each other with everyone’s different goals. We all respected each other’s goals, whatever they were because we all know this Bootcamp has inspired us to go and achieve them; whether that was supporting a local charity shop, starting a blog, going vegan, or hell yeah ending world poverty.
Catalyse Change has provided me with the tools for personal growth, the connections to other young women and professionals passionate about the same things I am passionate about, and they provided some of the best memories. I feel part of a community. I feel empowered. I feel the most confident and optimistic I have ever felt about my future career.
I also feel so privileged I was able to see each young woman attending the Bootcamp grow: some of the less vocal young women really opened up after the first day and were comfortable addressing the whole group, and the more vocal ones in the group really appreciated hearing their stories and ideas. We all felt like the Bootcamp was a safe space, one where we could speak our minds and not be judged (or called a tree hugger).
I would recommend the Bootcamp to any young woman interested in sustainability. Whether you’re just starting to learn about plastic pollution, or you have a degree in gender studies, this Bootcamp can expand your learning and connect you to like-minded peers and professionals. One key thing I learned was that you don’t have to have a job in the sustainability sector to be working sustainably. You
can contribute to the sustainability of your local community, your country, and the world by making informed sustainable choices; from using recycled paper at work, to using a reusable coffee cup, to divesting your money, to offering some of your time and mentoring a young person.
Traci and Jenna are really doing something special and very worthwhile for young women with Catalyse Change and this Bootcamp – thanks for having me be part of it.
Catalyst Bootcamp 2018 took place on 1-3 August at Clifton Hill House. All enquiries about about our programme email firstname.lastname@example.org