As part of the 2016 summer student missions initiatives of Grace [our home church], Ember spent about 24 hours this past weekend in Philadelphia doing some team leader training. It was our privilege to work with a great set of leaders - humble, interested and totally engaged in being their best as they lead their students cross culturally this summer.
Most of the weekend was centered around the idea of decoding and navigating culture. If you've been around Ember for a while, you've probably participated in one of our culture scavenger hunts - this weekend was much of the same kind of thing, using City Center and Chinatown as our context. Both of these areas are rich with resources for this kind of experience and our teams were able to check out lots of interesting sights. The big win, of course, is to be able to teach your students how to navigate and decode culture. This weekend was hopefully the start of a shift in perspectives for leaders first.
Interesting cultural nuances of Philly that I learned about this weekend:
+ Most of the food service workers in Chinatown are actually Latino.
+ Love Park was packed with skateboarders. And I mean packed.
+ One of Philly's best community catalysts, LT, gave us a little tour on Friday night. Love his heart for his city and it was the best way to kick off something like this. Part of his tour included the stories about an alley right behind his church and how that space is being transformed and redeemed.
+ We stumbled upon Rosa's Pizza, which the pizza place where you can donate a slice to the homeless. That was so cool to see in person.
+ If you are in City Hall, take note of how distinct all 4 exits are.
Our Ember team did great and were awesome resources as these teams went out exploring to create a culture exercise for other teams - I'm proud to note that they were all high school or college students, working with leaders who were older than them. The only location details we gave the team we were working with was coordinates - that was fun. We also gave this team a set of very detailed conversation topics for the ride up, including taking a mobile friendly Myers Briggs test, discussing the Tuckman model of group dynamics, and reflecting on a few significant quotes about team leadership.