Tag Archives: Leadership

Boomers at 70 will change America Again…Making a Difference for Humanity… by Steve Sparks

“These seventy something Boomers are poised to give Millennials some real competition for attention. They have the opportunity to become increasingly relevant — socially, economically and politically — and more responsive than previous seniors to the needs of an ever changing nation.” Click here for more…from USA Today…

#####

Boomers at 70 will change America Again!  As I turn 70 on July 6th, with countless others from my generation, my excitement and energy for this next decade of my life has never been better. It is the younger generation of millennials, children and young adults that keep my spirits high. I take my cues from the youngest and brightest, and strive to be the best senior mentor in a rapidly changing world.

We should listen to and observe the creative and disruptive behaviors of our children, and young adults.  Never push back the kids and tell them to think about something else that is more serious than what we think they are doing at the moment.  What do we know?  We adults and seniors should never lose sight of kids who remind us how to live in the moment and make dreams come true.

Reflecting on my childhood and young adult experience so long ago, I still behave the same in many ways.  As a child I was always asking questions about many things, wondering, and dreaming about all the possibilities, and still do this each and every day.  I have a very busy mind, just like a kid.  I tested the stormy seas many times in my life and have known great success and the lessons learned from failing. I get right back up just like youngsters and keep fighting and moving forward one day at a time. Kids fall down often and always get up.  Kids have resilience.  Even under some tough circumstances as post WWII and Korean War military kids we got back up and took ownership for taking the next scary step forward.  We boomers must get right back up too!  No giving up and going home to watch CNN or FOX; or to hide on the porch, lost in a world that is safe while others are struggling and in pain.  Get out and make a difference for humanity each and every day.  Your wisdom and leadership is a vital source of energy in your community.

Now at age 70, I want to keep the child in me alive, and jump in with both feet, just like the younger generations do each and every day.  I want to be in the middle of all the action even now as the 7th decade of my life is staring me right in the face.  The child in me is the fuel that keeps a fire burning in my belly.  It is also love of life, spirituality, and humanity that gets the blood pumping in my veins everyday of the week.  Mostly it is my love for people and cultures everywhere.  It is from my soul and heart that making a difference for others drives me to keep on fighting for healthy change…to help others keep pace with a rapidly changing world, and to not become complacent with the old ways of doing things.  Kids help us stay on top of our toes and to never become complacent.  While doing all this, I have more freedom to smell the the ocean, hike in the mountains, explore new places,  and reserve quality time with my family and friends.  All of this energy provides a healthy balance for me at this pivotal time in life at age 70.

I celebrate children and young adults who keep teaching us about dreaming and making stuff happen.  Just look around and keep your eyes open, and listen carefully.  The kids are moving forward very quickly, even without us adults, because they can, and they should.  If you don’t recognize this happening for any reason or do not see any value in keeping pace with your kids or grand children, get a smartphone, laptop, tablet or other technology device and catch up with the reality of social media communications in the 21st Century.  We are blessed to live longer these days as seniors and must stay on top of our game to make a difference.  We can’t go home, sit back and watch life from the sidelines. It is our duty to step-up and lead again.  Older Americans are a critical human resource and needed right now.  In case my boomer friends and colleagues didn’t see the memo, we never stop mentoring, guiding, and facilitating.  I feel needed right now! If you don’t feel needed in these later years, walk with confidence into the fire storm of community action and find your place in a changing world. Your work is not done!

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Post Trauma Growth Advocate, and Children’s Champion…

Reconciliation, A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1&2… Click the highlighted text for my author page and to order other stuff from Amazon.

Steve2016

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Post Trauma Growth Advocate, and member, Lincoln County Oregon Mental Health Advisory Committee (MHAC)

51XVJuHBdUL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_

Saving your children, family and loved ones from inter-generational post-trauma stress (PTS)

 

 

How to treat “Silo Disorder” as a Detriment to Rural Community Building and Vitality…

StrategicPhilanthropy

Strategic Philanthropy  Click highlighted text for more…

 

 

NONPROFIT MANAGEMENT

Collective Impact

“Large-scale social change requires broad cross-sector coordination, yet the social sector remains focused on the isolated intervention of individual organizations.”

“Collective Impact!”  Quote from this article from Stanford Social Innovation Review…

“Against these daunting odds, a remarkable exception seems to be emerging in Cincinnati. Strive, a nonprofit subsidiary of KnowledgeWorks, has brought together local leaders to tackle the student achievement crisis and improve education throughout greater Cincinnati and northern Kentucky. In the four years since the group was launched, Strive partners have improved student success in dozens of key areas across three large public school districts. Despite the recession and budget cuts, 34 of the 53 success indicators that Strive tracks have shown positive trends, including high school graduation rates, fourth-grade reading and math scores, and the number of preschool children prepared for kindergarten.”

#####

Ralls_Texas_Grain_Silos_2010

Ralls, Texas Grain Silos 2010

I was asked again yesterday, what is meant by my reference to a rural community sickness coined by me as “Silo Disorder.”  For starters click on the highlighted text link that defines a “silo” mostly connected with a farming community where grain is stored in tall cylinder structures close to rail transportation.  My work over the past 25 years in rural community building projects reveals that the greatest challenge and obstacle to overcome at the beginning of any project for the “greater good” is to get our neighbors and community leaders to talk to each other, build relationships, discover teamwork, and find common ground…  We often refer to this process as leadership, but I don’t believe defining leadership initially helps…it is too subjective.  Leadership means different things to folks and the dots are rarely connected unless there is a reference to something tangible and attention getting like “silo disorder.”  If we all stay in our tiny sheltered world of self interests only, we never see the light of day or the bigger picture of what we should be talking about to build community vitality where new opportunities are discovered…where innovation happens…where we begin to find new social investment capital never before realized by creating public private partnerships (PPP)… click for graphic images…

Communities everywhere dream about economic development and improving the community as a popular destination point for vacationers and travelers, including building a much better quality of life for citizens, but can’t seem to make it happen until tearing down the silo mentality and start talking and trusting each other.  We residents and community leaders often find ourselves stuck in the mud for decades because we spend our time picking on each other about the small stuff, and never get to the part where a strategic plan for the greater good comes into clear view.

We have to stop all the silliness and ignorance right now where ever we live and get down to the basics of building a community culture that thrives.  Get all these individual self interest groups, including local government, business, non-profits, schools, colleges, chambers of commerce, home owner associations, young adults, adults, seniors, moms, dads, parents, and grand parents, including the kids to hold hands and start talking… amazing stuff will happen in your community!  Go for it and stop whining, complaining, and blaming.  It takes a village, a team, and strong leadership to build a thriving community.  We have to do this work for the greater good together with common goals and strategic plans…  Start talking and trusting your friends and neighbors and get to work!

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1 and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story…  Click on the highlighted text for my author page…

and…

Vice Chair, www.neighborsforkids.org, Depoe Bay, Oregon

cropped-cropped-NFKBanner4

Neighbors for Kids, Depoe Bay, Oregon…A public private partnership (PPP)…click for larger view…

Eagle Scouts…”Freedom is not Free…” Learning the Value of Leadership Early in Life…

boyscout-239x300

Bryan Ritchey… recently finished his freshman year at Barat Academy, where he played on the Boys’ Varsity Soccer and Junior Varsity Golf teams, as well as participated in the Spring Musical. Bryan crossed over into Boy Scouts in 2010. He has held several leadership positions throughout his scouting career.

memorial

Bryan Ritchey, Veterans Memorial “Honoring Heroes” Project…Dardenne Prairie, Missouri.  Click photo for larger view.

 

Freedom is not free…  Quote from this website article by Bryan Ritchey, Eagle Scout, Boy Scott Troop #984…

“Eagle Scout represents the culmination of the Boy Scouts’ finest achievements. The focus is on service and leadership, with the most important and well-known requirement being to “plan, develop and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, any school or your community.” To put it simply, the Eagle Scout rank provides the opportunity to give back to others.”

#####

I don’t know Bryan Ritchey, but feel very proud of him and other young men and women who learn early about the sacrifice of protecting the freedoms we enjoy as Americans.  I am also a big fan of programs that teach kids leadership and community service early in life.  Giving back and making a difference for others is a heartfelt payment for all the blessings and gifts we receive over a lifetime.  Besides, there is no other work I can think of that is more rewarding than community service…

Bryan Ritchey sets an example of learning about leadership early in life through working with the Boy Scouts of America.  If there is one thing kids need to learn and grasp as early as possible, it is to “step up and lead.”  America will always be short changed when it comes to leadership development and skills.  Future leaders in both private and public enterprise are very critical to solving the problems and challenges of our time.  In my experience, young people and even adults shy away from taking on leadership roles for fear of failure or inability to achieve what often appears to be a monumental task.

Leadership is learned and skills are acquired when taking the first big step of accepting a leadership responsibility.   The risk is certainly a factor for anyone willing to step up and lead.  But the rewards are far greater when we achieve big goals that require a strong team and a great leader.  Bryan Ritchey has proven as a young adult in his own community that he can make a difference as a leader.  You can do it too…

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1 and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story… Click the highlighted text for my author page…