Beginning the CFI Adventure

by Community Forests International on July 2, 2013

A reflection on my first week as CFI's summer student and new addition to the team.

“What’s on your wish-list this summer?” This question was posed to me near the end of my first introductory staff meeting at Community Forests International. It’s a big question, and something I keep returning to as I continue to settle into my position and learn more about the work that CFI does, and the values that stand behind the organization. It’s been an interesting first week, to say the least. I’m enjoying the variety within my job. I might be weeding in the community forest garden one day, and designing event posters the next. I have the space to use my strengths to contribute to CFI, but also to expand my abilities. After four years of reading and dreaming about working for an organization like CFI, I’m excited to find my niche here and see where my skills and interests can help the most. I really appreciate the collaborative approach to projects at CFI, and I already feel my perspective is valued, in spite of my spring chicken status. I am also excited to learn from this group of dedicated and passionate staff, and the CFI community as a whole. This summer I will have six mentors at hand who can offer me advice and ideas as I need and require. I consider myself exceedingly lucky. The learning process has already begun. As I listen to the stories and soak up the conversations (they’re good conversations) that take place around me, I’m picking up on some of the ideas that seem to be most important and foundational to those working at CFI. Here are a few: Learn by doing. Lead by example. Be open to the needs of the community as a whole, those close around you, and yourself. Know when to help, and perhaps more importantly, know when to step back. Seek to re-imagine and redefine value based on long-term solutions. It is refreshing to see the positivity and hope in the CFI community. The enthusiasm here is contagious. So, Madeleine, what’s your wish? This summer, I wish to embody the values to which my co-workers are visibly committed. I wish to learn as much as I can, and to let what I learn change me and impact the work that I do.

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