Using technology to aid human connections
We are often asked how our participants stay engaged and connected after their time in Seattle. This is no doubt a very important part of our work – to maintain the relationships and network forged during the program. You may have heard about reLEAP, where short “refresher” programs are held abroad. But additionally, as strong believers in technology being part of our work, we’ve begun hosting virtual reunions through Zoom, an online video conferencing platform.
On Monday January 4th, 2016, participants from the 2014 International Fellowship dialed into Seattle from Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Italy, and Bolivia for one of these virtual meetings. Despite the immense physical distance (8368 miles) and a lengthy time difference (15 hours between Seattle and Indonesia), the virtual reunion was a success, filled with laughter and warmth as if we were sitting next to each other. Calls were made from workplaces, bedrooms, friends’ homes, and living rooms. In Seattle it was 6 AM, in Southeast Asia 9 PM, 8 AM in Central America, 10 AM in Bolivia, and 3 PM in Italy. For a short hour, however, we were able to transport ourselves to the iLEAP East Hall for a check-in, as we had done each and every day during the eight weeks of program. Spirits were lifted and souls were re-filled through genuine sharing and reconnection.
At times, technology can certainly impede human connections – during programs the East Hall, where most sessions take place, is a technology-free zone – but utilized thoughtfully, it can be an incredible resource. We are already looking forward to the next one!