Assistant Facilitator, Africa tells us how this year’s new cohort of participants got on in their first session of The Agency programme.
Our 12 week journey officially began at Caius House to the sound of Rihanna and Drake as the new participants to this year’s Agency programme raced across the hall.
After 15 minutes of cardio warm-ups and a game of betrayal trying to catch each other out, the agents were given a challenge that was less about reaction time and numeracy and more about thinking and teamwork.
The lead facilitator Bobbi split them into pairs with the task of drawing around each other to create an outline of themselves to fill with written interests, desires and any general facts that make them who they are. This exercise aimed to help the agents to begin developing the idea that as individuals, we are the protagonists of our own stories and ultimately the masters of our own fate.
Next up – an introduction to a concept that will be pivotal to the group over the next 12 weeks: the Faustini compass. A metaphorical tool that swaps the points of North, East, South and West with Desire, Form, Territory and Network. A useful allegory for mapping out goals and ambitions. As agency member Leon later pointed out, ‘a map shows a path that’s already been set, where as a compass shows a direction … we can alter our own paths in order to get there’.
Later in the session compass ‘stations’ named after the points of Faustini’s concept, were set up around the hall. Split into groups of four, the agents visited each station to collect an envelope with their task. At the Desire station agents had to practice giving a minute long presentation, talking through their aspirations and what they believe makes them who they are.
With many daunted at the prospect of having to talk in front of their peers, it was refreshing to see how the shyest of characters rose to the occasion and flourished when it came to presenting to the rest of the group. Minira explained her motivations came from her family and told us of her desire to travel and learn new cultures. Shania spoke about her love of Asian culture and went as far as greeting the group in dialects from China, Japan, Thailand and South Korea.
The Territory station provided the most entertaining activity of the day as each group performed a five minute piece highlighting some of the pros and cons of the environment they live in.
I found this station particularly interesting as it showed how the agents perceived issues in their areas – almost poking fun at stereotypes that society creates, like Henrietta who parodied a police constable giving interviews to the general public about their local areas. I think it was her use of police-like phrases and mannerisms that really sold it!
Concluding the day, every agent drew their compass at the front of their new booklets. This compass would serve as a reminder to what they want to achieve on this journey and be the guide to reaching that goal. Saturday marked the beginning and, if it’s true that a journey of a 1000 mile begins with a single step, then I’m proud to say as a team we took our first, compass in hand.
By Africa Nile, Assistant Facilitator
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