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Erin Rigney's Fundraiser:

RFL 25th Anniversary

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Erin Rigney

THE STORY:

ROARING FORK CENTER FOR COMMUNITY LEADERSHIP wrote -

"Roaring Fork Leadership is the best investment I have ever made in myself — as an individual, business owner, spouse, parent and community member." Erin Rigney, Class of 2005

Did I say that?!?!  Indeed I did. I said it during my RFL experience and seven years later I reiterate that same statement today.

I went into the RFL program because I thought it would be good for me as a business owner and employer. What I learned has impacted every facet of my life. Each evening after an RFL session I would talk for hours with my husband Craig about all that opened up for me. It was as if every lesson could be applied on a professional and personal level and seemingly enough it was tremendous parenting advice without even trying to be. Now RFL does not promote this as one of their selling points, but I don't think I would be half the parent or person I am today if it wasn't for RFL's influence on me.

Then there is the RFL team experience... The group I was randomly placed in was the fieriest group of individuals ever. Everyone had his or her own ideas and incredibly strong personalities. I looked at the other RFL teams who seemed to get along so well and never argue and I immediately wanted to be on another team. But isn’t that always the case in life. The grass is always greener.

It's hard to describe Roaring Fork Leadership, so here is a little taste of what I learned in RFL and through my team experience. A top 20 if you will:

  1. My paradigm shift for the year was "What I am doing is enough". If any of you really know me, you know that was the hardest part right there!
  2. To persevere through uncomfortable conflict and stalemates, something I had avoided at all costs prior
  3. To stop thinking "Someone should do something about that" and start thinking "what can I do — to make this better, easier, different, etc."
  4. Anything is possible with enough open-minded discussion
  5. If I embrace the conflict coming AT me that the other person's energy would diffuse and together we could create a new conversation
  6. Never judge a book by its cover; people will surprise you in good and bad ways
  7. The people I was first most drawn to ended up being all talk and no action when it came to achieving results
  8. Those folks who drove me crazy in our early team meetings were the ones I could completely depend on and who got things done
  9. I could actually survive speaking in front of people, and eventually do more than survive, and ignite the spark of excitement and involvement in others
  10. Triangulate in a conflict discussion and put the problem out in front of you and the other person — not between you. Hence I have found chairlift rides great places to have conversations that work.
  11. Good Leadership is much like Jazz music. One person takes the lead; the others back him up and support that energy and then the leader hands of to another instrumentalist and on the music blossoms. There is an underlying harmony to good leadership — one that you don't even realize until its off key.
  12. All of us together are way smarter than any one of us working alone. Thanks Carl Larson!
  13. Things aren't good or bad; they are just working or not working
  14. Listen to others and truly hear them
  15. To be a conduit of ideas and individuals — connecting together to create new possibilities
  16. The little voice inside my head is not always my friend. Ignore it and do what I know I must and I will succeed. The Roaring Fork Autism Network was born out of this very experience. 
  17. People are usually willing to help be it though time or money if you just ask them and tell them why it inspires you.
  18. Often times I meet others in the valley and I am impressed by how they are being in this world, and then I find out they are RFL alum and I say to myself, "no wonder." You can see the difference in an RFL alum. 
  19. A team of 12 people can actually transform another family's life
  20. The lessons learned in RFL are at my disposal everyday if I just slow down and listen before I open my mouth! ;)

Since RFL, I have stepped up in ways I never would have imagined before. I feel as if I am a drop of water rippling out in all directions BEING the RFL way. Here are a few things I have been crazy enough to be a part of and love since my time in RFL:

• Creating the Rainy Day Designs annual Design Grant that helps non-profits in a more thoughtful and constructive way to coalesce their brands and be able to carry on their message after their time with RDD is done. Since 2007 we have donated over $300,000 of our design time and creativity to our community and beyond.

• Co-Created the Roaring Fork Autism Network because there weren’t any supports for families in our rural mountain environment. Within six month of founding the network we had over 55 families from Aspen to Eagle and New Castle. We had educated over 200 teachers and Para professions and had created a support and educational network for those that were blessed with the challenge of raising or working with these wonderfully amazing human beings. 

• I got together with a group of moms and created the dream of a community built playground for Crystal River elementary school that would unite diverse families and community members around the idea that on the playground there is no difference between you and me. Even though the consultants said we were crazy and we didn't have enough support, our team believed and our community didn't let us down. We had over 700 volunteers come out over five days and it is one of my proudest accomplishments to date.

• It is possible to try to unite a diverse school. Through a core group of women and the support of a community advocate and a Latino organizer, CRES was able to transform our Parent Teacher Organization meeting attendance from 8-10 Anglo people to over 90+ people the next year. How? We asked questions. We learned that the Latino community likes food at gatherings so we made it a potluck meeting, that our meeting times were on the nights that there were free English classes in town so many Latinos were attending those instead, and that free childcare was paramount to having parents attend. We are a stronger school community because we are working together and hearing each other in our bi-lingual meetings. Talk about true collaboration, CRES has got it going on in so many ways! Thanks to George and Veronica who believed our goal was possible.

Now I am not one to toot my own horn so saying these things is a little uncomfortable. But people need to know that our community is full of everyday people making great things happen —large and small — in our valley, as a byproduct of their Roaring Fork Leadership experience.

Being self-employed I never would have been able to afford RFL when I added in taking unpaid days off work to the tuition itself. If it hadn't been for a partial scholarship to RFL that made it possible for me to partake, I can't imagine I would be as involved in my community as I am today. So please consider supporting RFL scholarships for your fellow community members through a donation to the 25th anniversary fundraiser today. I share my story with you so that others can have the opportunities I had through my experience in RFL.

And remember, in our daily experiences, progress and change are not always smooth but if we educate each other, listen to each other — truly hearing each other, and are open to the possibility of an outcome that we didn't invent ourselves we can create great things together as a community. 

It takes a village to shape the world into a better place. Please do your part today and donate online at my personal RFL fundraising page: 

http://www.crowdrise.com/rfleadership/fundraiser/erinrigney

Sincerely,

Erin Rigney

Carbondale, Colorado

 

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Erin Rigney

Erin Rigney

DONATION: $50

6 years ago