For the second day of the 2013 Fellowship, we were treated to an incredible trip to the Point Bonita YMCA in the Marin Headlands. We fellows got to know each other a little better and hype each other up as we discussed what we wanted from the year to come.
The day began early as four of us met for a sunrise ride over the Golden Gate Bridge. It was a wonderful way to wake up. We each needed encouragement at different times in the ride, starting out the team building theme we’d continue for the rest of the day.
We arrived sweaty to the YMCA, with breakfast and coffee as our rewards. We quickly went off on a hike around the Headlands. It was a perfect fogless day with a view all the way to the Farallons. We learned about Harbor Seals, native plants, and Fort Barry’s military history. We also slowly began to learn each other’s names.
We were lucky to have Allen Gunn, aka Gunner, facilitate our team building day. The man has got jokes for days, which is matched by a sharp wit and a passion for improving the world through community building and open technology. He is a raconteur who set an intelligent and hilarious tone to the entire day, and hopefully our entire year long fellowship.
After our hike, we had some light hearted debates around really easy questions like “Big Government, good or bad?” or “Should cars be banned from cities?” We followed up this divisiveness by joining together to write down every question we could possibly want answered during our January training sessions. We threw these Post-it notes up on the wall and did a ‘human bubble sort” till we categorized them all. Larger group discussions on these categories followed. We stirred it up about stakeholders, city politics, learning and teaching, and appropriate technology.
For the first time, our nine groups (one for each project) got to meet, feel each other out, and exchange rumors about our host cities. My Kansas Cities squad got right to it, listing out what we needed to research and how to trade notes. We also decided to write a team agreement, to guide us as we go, while being malleable to iteration. The Kansas Cities, Las Vegas, and South Bend, Ind. teams each have been invited to work on economic development projects so we all shared ideas and a learned a little econ dev 101.
After meeting all of the 2013 Fellows, I am extremely humbled and honored to share the same title and purpose as them. Code For America really recruited the best and brightest this year, each full of passion, raw smarts, and the technical chops to make real change happen. Keep your eyes on this group, big things coming in 2013.
After fine Northern California sunset, we bikers rode back up over the hill to Sausalito, where beers and the ferry took us home.
Questions? Comments? Hit us up @codeforamerica.