Hi everyone :)
It was sure fun being back with your children this week! Session 3 is off to an amazing start.
The week started off, as new sessions typically do, with hugs and cheers and excitement all around as the eagles greeted each other after what apparently feels like a very long break to them! It feels a bit like a family reunion and always brings a smile to my face. The bonds of friendship within the learning community are really strong :) The excitement Monday morning was amplified even further though as the studio welcomed five new eagles to the tribe. Welcome Muhlestein family!
We started the morning reading the little blurbs you all sent me as the eagles tried to guess who the story was about. It was fun to see how well they have gotten to know each other. Often, I would only read the first sentence before everyone shouted out the name of the eagle it was about. This led to sorting into three new houses for the session.
Later on in the day came the announcement the eagles were all waiting for--the new quest! Their excitement and anticipation around hearing what their next challenge is going to be is always contagious! It feels a bit like waiting to run down the stairs for Christmas. Everyone holds their breath as the announcement is made. As I'm sure you've all heard by now, this session we are embarking on a quest to create an actual restaurant! The excitement could barely be contained :)
We launched the new Quest with a field trip down to Via313 Pizzeria in Provo where the eagles got to learn from some incredible entrepreneurs (while eating some incredibly tasty pizza). The owners, Josh and JP, have bought and sold literally dozens of restaurants in their careers, and currently own some big names including Swig, Mo Bettah's, R&R BBQ, just to name a few. The eagles had very insightful questions for them and began taking notes on how they wanted to go about creating their restaurants for the exhibition.
I am really excited about this quest. The only guardrail we are really providing the eagles for this quest is a $250 budget. Beyond that, it's entirely up to the eagles to figure out how to succeed. For this reason, this quest is really going to challenge their abilities to think creatively, plan, budget, cook, and work together. Some great growth is already happening in each of these areas.
This quest is also structured in such a way that it will deliver some compelling real-world learning--including the potential for failure, which we will always embrace. We are inviting a special panel of experts to attend the exhibition on the 16th and rate the three house restaurants in several categories including taste, menu, atmosphere, service, profitability and more. This panel will evaluate the restaurants as they would actual acquisition targets, and pick two to 'invest' in. These two houses will earn their quest badge. As difficult as this approach is, I love the learning it will provide. It epitomizes our philosophy of 'fail cheaply'--where in this case the consequence is not getting a badge, as opposed to failing at a new restaurant venture in the future where the consequence could be one's entire life savings. For those of you that this puts in your panic zone a bit as a parent, just know that the house that doesn't earn their badge at the exhibition will actually be able to earn it in the future. But just like in the real world, it will not be easy. It will take the heroic characteristic we talk about so often at Aim of getting back up after getting knocked down--along with a healthy dose of humility and courage to try again. We will reveal the details of this at a later time.
Speaking of getting up after falling down, on Wednesday, we took a trip to the Cottonwood Heights recreation center for ice skating which is going to be our PE activity this session. Everyone had an incredible time. And I couldn't believe the heroic attitude that everyone approached the activity with! It was many of the eagle's first time ice skating, yet they all jumped head first into the new challenge. There were probably 100 falls between them, but nobody quit, and everyone kept getting back up and trying again. Many of the better skaters in the studio were giving mini-lessons to their fellow travelers who were just learning. I observed multiple other adult customers who were sharing the ice rink with us watching our tribe of learners with smiles of surprise on their faces. It was clear they were very impressed and weren't quite sure what to make of this unique group of children. I myself was surprised that something like PE would highlight some of the stark differences between this group of learners and a comparable group of their peers. It was really cool to see. The eagles noticed it too. The character call-outs at the end of the day focused on those who fell down frequently and kept getting up.
I will end with another major theme we experienced this week which involved a restructuring of freedom levels and eagle bucks. This has been in the works for quite some time and is the result of countless observations, and a lot of brainstorming, debate, and thought on the part of the guides. We will let your eagles fill you in on the details, but the high level summary is that we are moving away from points, adding new ways to earn eagle bucks, and replacing a weekly freedom level with freedoms that can be purchased with eagle bucks.
Several of the morning launches after this announcement centered around voting for what prices to set the freedoms at. The studio was very divided. About half wanted the prices to be low, and the other half wanted them to be set high. The first freedom that was voted on was the freedom to set your own schedule during core skills. The price was set at 15 eagle bucks. Things got a bit more contentious as the eagles debated and voted on the price of the freedom to work anywhere, and eat snacks anywhere in the studio. Impassioned arguments were made on both sides--some bringing up that earning EBs was more difficult for some learners than others (which was countered by others who mentioned that everyone is working at their own level so the requirements get more difficult at an appropriate pace that coincides with eagles getting older), others brought up the fact that unless you really have to work hard for something, you won't appreciate it. After quite a while (and multiple votes to add more time to the schedule for the debate which kept going over time) a slight majority voted to set the price of the freedom to eat snacks anywhere at 10 EBs, and work anywhere at 5 EBs.
This did not sit well with about half of the studio...and it led to a powerful moment.
On Friday, one of our learners leveraged their super power of writing and led the morning launch--asking the studio to revisit the prices. In much more eloquent words than I can reconvey, this eagle talked about how Aim's mantra of finding a calling and changing the world was not just a nice saying. These learners are actually going to do it! But the world does not want to change. And so learning how to tackle seemingly impossible challenges while at Aim is one of the best things they can do to prepare for what they are going to face in the real world. The eagle made a final plea not to settle for easy or convenient. But to set the bar high--and grow along the journey to get there.
I think everyone was inspired.
The new price of the freedom to work anywhere is now 45 eagle bucks.
Head of School