When I signed up for the Scottish EDGE Alumni Retreat with Power of Youth at Harburn House, the offer of an opportunity to recharge the batteries and meet with other Scottish EDGE winners was too good to turn down. What I hadn’t realised was that I would be recharging batteries in the literal sense, thanks to a mechanical issue on the drive over. The first problem solving session for me therefore turned out to be a small break out group with RAC Bob, whose knowledge of the workings of an elderly Volkswagen Polo thankfully resulted in a positive outcome.
With a total of just twenty entrepreneurs joining the Power of Youth team for the weekend, it meant we could really spend time getting to know each other. The story telling session on the Saturday afternoon helped to speed up the process and we went through a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, listening to entertaining tales of out of control smoke machines, close shaves with the police to some truly heartwarming stories of generosity and courage under tragic circumstances.
With the themes of managing resistance and conflict, and a focus on changing mindsets running across the weekend, it might sound a bit like hard work, but the Power of Youth team had carefully crafted the sessions to ensure it was interspersed with plenty of more entertaining activities. Trust me, it’s surprising how frustrating a bamboo cane can become, and how elated you feel when you finally manage to lower it onto the floor.
Some had been to Power of Youth events before, but for many, like myself, it was the first time, and it definitely won’t be the last. The setting and staff at Harburn House made us feel as if we were staying with friends for the weekend, with a lovely relaxed environment and, thanks to the chef, we enjoyed the most amazing food.
Over the course of the two days, I had some really interesting conversations with some amazing people. The word inspirational is perhaps a bit over-used in the world of TED talks and conference speakers, but I met with some wonderfully unassuming and self-effacing people who might not be shouting about it from the rooftops, but are quietly getting on with running businesses that are changing peoples lives, not just here but across the world. Having the opportunity to share issues and get advice from such a diverse group of individuals and businesses was fantastic, and I think we all felt some great new friendships had been made.
Thanks to the Power of Youth team and RAC Bob, Mr Minty (aka the Volkswagen Polo) and I left the tranquil surroundings of Harburn House on Sunday feeling recharged and both of us firing on all cylinders.