We love it when we have visitors come to our town. We generally find that they bring with them ideas and energy that we can feed from, they inspire us and guide us in new ways of taking action and coming together. We had the Regeneration crew visit us two years ago and I personally have been very excited to have them back.

With that being said, like most things in this world, stuff changes. None of the original Regeneration crew that visited us the first time round were on this mission. I’m not sure that that really matters though. They still carry the same kaupapa and bring with them tools and energy to regenerate, inspire, empower and revitalise our young people.

Regeneration Wanaka 2011 is part of a much bigger picture. The crew have embarked upon a truly epic road trip of Aotearoa, hunting out inspiring stories of young people along the way. A very talented film crew is also along for the ride to help document and share the amazing stories that they encounter. As with all other cool projects in this world, they have an almighty web presence —–> www.regneration.org.nz

So where to begin….I guess in the morning making butties would be a pretty good place. This is also the place where I get to showcase some the amazing people we have in our town.¬† When it comes to putting on events, everyone wants them, but not always does everyone want to pay for them. So….now and again people seem to help me out to achieve EPIC things at a very low cost. Diana Hickey offered her services in the morning to make a whole stack of butties for everyone to feed upon during lunch. I hate catering, I don’t get it, it confuses me beyond belief to try to work out what to feed people, so having someone not only offer to help make the butties, but also give me a shopping list was just like a dream come true, thank you so much! Tim Ryan was also beavering away in the kitchen making gorgeous burgers for our dinner, the burgers sponsored by Steve Henry and the Center for Sustainable Practice, big ups to that crew for supporting us during that event.

I had managed to gather around 12 students from MAC and the Queenstown youth workers did an epic job of stirring up the interest in 12 of their young peeps and ferried them across the range to come and join us here in Wanaka. It’s the first time that I’ve managed to mix young people from either side of the range in an education for sustainability event, to say I was excited is the understatement of the day. And….lets not forget the legendary Guy Ryan leading his Inspiring Stories workshop for another 11 MAC students in the Faulks room upstairs. Yup, that’s 35 young people from across our district being inspired, educated, motivated and more importantly empowered in one place during the course of one day!

I always enjoy seeing how other facilitators bring young people together and break the ice. It’s so important for us all to feel relaxed in each others company if we are going to spend the whole day together discussing some pretty important issues. And what better way to do this than play a name game involving you and your name accompanied by a mime of an animal that represents your name. Did anyone mention we may be stepping outside of our comfort zones today?

Will Watterson, of the Global Poverty Project opened the proceedings with a really amazing activity. We had a blank piece of paper with which we were to draw the world, well……what we thought the world looked like. It’s amazing how many different versions you see when you do this. Once the world was drawn we were taken through the day of an average teenager. What did they consume? Where did it all come from? How did it get to us? Was everyone who made it healthy and happy? It’s only when we sit down and think about all of this stuff¬† that we have in our lives do we begin to appreciate the madness that is going on all around us each and every second of the day.

Tim Bishop and Rick Zwann took the floor next to talk climate change and energy. It’s amazing how much we hear about these issues but how much do we actually know? It’s so good to open up the discussion and realise that what works for us here in Wanaka may not necessarily work for anyone else anywhere else in the world. What we need to do is connect with our place and our people, only then can we understand what we need and how we can get that from our environment without causing too much carnage. It seems so simple when I put it like that, yet it never seems to work out like that does it?

After a very nourishing lunch it was straight into Lani and Jill’s conflict workshop. I’ve been part of this one before, so I took delight in being able to take a step back and take a few photos. I remember when I first took part in this workshop how much it opened up my eyes to how other people can view a situation. We are trying to create change aren’t we? Yes, of course…..so if we want people to change we need to understand how they may react in order for us to be able to deal with the situation and make them feel like we understand their issues. With some amazing role plays upon very relevant topics it didn’t take long for our crew to get into the swing of things and start role playing themselves. Apparently Lani and Jill are not good at role plays….you certainly fooled us ladies, you were uber epic oarsome!

I’ve got to admit, after this point I’m a little unclear about what happened. I got myself involved in special projects which are to be kept highly secret for now…..With the day now wrapped up and our crew tucking into fabulous burgers it’s about time for us to get ready for our 8×8 presentation evening. 8 presenters, 20 slides each with 20 seconds per slide….How much fun is this way of presenting? No room for cobwebs here…..According to Luke, I “like spoke at least twice as fast as everyone else”….whoop whoop, would anyone seriously expect anything else from me?