Leadership that imagines the future.
Our little village threw open the doors today for our 15th birthday celebration.
As I stood up the back of the hall listening to the stories and performances my mind wandered back to the meeting where we decided to purchase the village.
There were a number of people who were deeply concerned about the idea.
People told us all the reasons in wouldn’t work.
I remembered being a little concerned that it might not work… it was after all a big risk.
As we celebrate our 15th birthday I want to celebrate the part my Dad played in making the dream a reality.
One of the most remarkable examples of visionary leadership I have seen is a 10 minute story A Current Affair did on the early days of Poatina.
Reporter Neil Kearney spent a couple of days here and on the video you see him walking around with Dad as Dad explained the vision for the village and how the training would develop, how the garage would train young people and where the community radio station would be based.. well before any of that actually happened.
While so many people spoke about what could go wrong, Dad focussed on what needed to happen to make it right.
It wasn’t just Dad of course. In the early days a small group moved in from all over Australia and banded together to make the dream a reality.
I really enjoyed travelling up from Hobart where Leeanne and I were living at the time and seeing the way the village was being transformed. Almost every week something new was happening and someone new was visiting.
The chalet opened by serving Devonshire teas with scones made by the residents.
Each day they would meet in the motel loungeroom where Dad seemed to be eternally saying the same things over and over again about welcoming the stranger, social capital and what it really means to care for young people.
As I look back I see what he did was lead. Stephen Covey said
The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.
and Dad was pretty good at that.
He continually told and retold the “story” of the Poatina we were in the process of becoming.
Over the last 15 years the village has been through all kinds of ups and downs, and sustaining the dream of a community that cares for young people is not simple.
What I want to celebrate though is 15 years on we are still here.
Dad has moved on but as I write this I am sitting in the studios of our little radio station he spoke about all those years ago.
Another thing Stephen Covey said was:
“The greatest risk is the risk of riskless living.”
Fusion, under my Dad’s leadership, took a lot of risks. Not all of them worked.
Poatina was one risk that did work – at least enough to be here 15 years later and having a global impact!
Dad didn’t get it all right, and Poatina is certainly not perfect but it is the result of a dream that worked and I am proud of what Dad and the team were able to achieve.
Now fifteen years on I am living here with my family.
Poatina has been through its most difficult year, and yet as I hear the stories and see the new developments, it is clear the dream will continue.