Monday, March 10, 2014

Highly Distributed Teams in 2014

Some of the students on Ember 13X still maintain regular contact with people that they met last year in Aix - the physical distance being over 4000 miles. Not to mention that SAnderson is here in DC and has had to fly back to France to take care of some paperwork twice already in her 6 months of being here. This is our global hyper connected world today, thanks to the Internet and the ease of world wide travel and the emerging generation has not known anything else.

In January of 2008, I met Rachel J, she was hanging in Maryland with her good friend Emilie, who was one of our core leaders. After a weekend traveling to NYC with a student team, I invited Rachel to join us on the leadership team of a summer experience based in Hungary. One slight caveat - she went to school and lived outside of Seattle. The other caveat, her friend Emilie, who had already signed on as one of our leaders, would eventually meet us in Vienna, Austria, flying in with her brother Sven, coming in from Norway. Despite not having both of these leaders present during all the pre-field team training and some very challenging logistics for who would arrive when and where, Rachel was a fantastic leader and we made the right decision bringing her on board to help with the large task of leading a 26 person team.

In the summer of 2012, Olivia joined our AZ2012 team. We had befriended her family in 2007 - their two daughters were the exact same age as our girls. In 2007 and 2008, at the same staff missions conference, our two sets of girls had hung together during the conference, doing all the kids conferencey things together. Having Olivia join the AZ team was great - a missionary kid going on a missions trip. One slight caveat - she lived in Austin. Olivia was a great addition to our team, eventually helping lead kids in the outdoor water games as well as helping lead worship. I loved being able to make it work and that summer continued to lay the groundwork for what Ember did last summer and is doing this summer.

This summer MK is coming from California. She was on our team last summer and returns and we are thrilled that she is a part of it again. John comes from Virginia where he is finishing up his senior year of college. And of course, we are going to France, in another part of the world.

If we are going to embrace these ideas of virtual connections, friendship via technology and today's ease of travel, what you do with student missions might need to reflect this as well. You might have passionate, qualified, fantastic team members that need to be engaged over some physical distance. The extra trouble in logistics and connecting and timezones might be well worth it to get the right person on your team.

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