Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Engaging the Sparks

On February 6, 2012, we put out a challenge to our Facebook followers to increase our likes to 500 prior to the Leadership Subcommittee meeting on April 26. This challenge was the beginning of an effort we call IGNITE the Spark for Leadership intended to bring an awakening of the Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program (WFLDP) and ignite the passion for leadership development within our students of fire. We are happy to report that the initial goal of 500 likes was reached prior to the meeting and another 31 (maybe more when this posts) have joined since.

The IGNITE campaign is much more than a push for Facebook fans. Social media is a way that we can connect and network across all levels within our community. It is a way to build movements and share information. IGNITE is about Y-O-U. The WFLDP is and always has been a grassroots effort. As we have grown and expanded, we may have lost some of the luster that we had when we first rolled out the program. It doesn't have to be that way. With Y-O-U, all things are possible.

Recently, we launched Phase II of the campaign: Engaging the Sparks. Sparks are those of you in the field who want to be part of the awakening of the WFLDP. Here are a few projects that we will embark upon in the coming months: 1) brainstorming ways to redesign and infuse the Professional Reading Program, 2) an FY13 launch of a wildland fire leadership campaign titled "Leading with Courage" with an emphasis on Sir Ernest Shackleton's leadership, and 3) increasing our Facebook likes to 1,000 fans by the beginning of FY13. You, the participants of the program will have a say in where we go and how we will do it. You are and will continue to be the hands and feet of the movement and revitalization of the WFLDP.

Being in the political climate we are in and changing environment where wildland fire seems to thrive reminds me of Sir Ernest Shackleton setting sail with the crew of the Endurance on a great adventure (see our Leaving a Leadership Legacy series on the WFLDP blog). The journey may be hazardous with a few unwinnable situations; there may be long months of complete darkness, little communication from the outside world, and great change and challenge; but, there will great opportunities and success if together we can weather the storm.

Shackleton's advertisement (something like the image above) ignited the passion in over 5,000 men. We would be overjoyed if we could IGNITE the same passion in every firefighter and support person in the wildland fire service, whatever gender, position, etc., the Spark may be.

If you are ready to be a part of something big, like our Facebook page, contact your agency representative, and above all, spread the word about IGNITE like wildfire!


Bill Miller said...

Thank you Pam, for sharing your enthusiasm and dedication. You know... I'm particularly struck by the analogy you used with Shackleton's call for the crew of the Endurance.
As most of us can attest, and with little enthusiasm, it's been easy lately to get frustrated, angry, defensive and perhaps really concerned about the direction, or perceived lack of direction, we've been experiencing in our hard struck organizations.
Increased workloads with less time, money and personnel to complete them... New and difficult policies to implement, that seem to have the potential to negatively impact ourselves or our colleagues... Mandatory changes to the ways in which we've become accustomed to getting things accomplished, and accomplished well might I add... All seem to contribute to an environment where the sky is constantly falling... and it sucks... but it's easy to get caught up in that.
Your connections to the Shackleton add reminded me of one of the reasons that I love what I get to do for a living... what we as wildland firefighters have the privelege to do... We work hard... we endure challenges and rise... and we get a sense of strong connection to our folks, the land and the people we serve. That's quite an incredible thing to be able to identify with. That's the kind of challenge that Shackleton put out there for folks in his add to build a crew.
While these particular challenges we are facing right now may seem unlike the ones we choose that give us our sense of belonging... as a part of a special group of people... We don't always get the luxury of choosing the challenges we take on. And, it's in these really tough times when Leadership becomes the most important. It's easy to run our mouths and to praise the virtues of solid leadership when we are pursuing the things we have a passion for, and that give us a sense of accomplishment... it's much more difficult to accept the responsibility of leadership in times of uncertainty and adversity. But that's exactly what WE say Leaders do... right?
Thanks Pam... for reminding me... that when I'm frustrated with the situation, and I'm tempted to run for cover from that falling sky... that this is our calling as leaders. These are the kinds of difficult times when Leadership matters most. Remember the concepts of Danger vs. Opportunity that we speak of in our courses... We can choose to look at these times as a threat... or an opportunity... that is our challenge as leaders. Which do we choose. Winston Churchill once said, "History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it." That's a pretty powerful statement about grabbing the reigns... and it's OUR challenge in these difficult times.

Pam McDonald said...

Thanks for your input, Bill. I appreciate the vote of confidence and your willingness to share your thoughts with us. Now is the time to come together as a wildland fire service and lead by example. I am honored to sail with you!

Anonymous said...

Significant entry! I think sparks are more efficient to expand the promotion of 'WFLDP'. Hope by connecting the maximum number spark can be the best scheme to attain the desire point of business. Thanks for your precious discussion.
Increase Facebook likes