The sixth meeting of the VALOR fellows has just concluded, marking the halfway point of our inaugural fellowship. The group of fellows numbers ten in total, but as we travel (both literally and figuratively) we number 12. Megan Seibel, the program director, and Kelsey Brunton, who – prior to her “retirement” – was the graduate assistant, round out our number to an even dozen. (Which, in my opinion, is the proper number for a group such as ours. Future classes would be well served being similarly sized.)
While graduation is still a year away for our class, the makeup of our group will change with the arrival of Seminar 7 in September. Mr. Brad Burbaugh joins us as Ms. Brunton retires from her official role with the VALOR program. (Which stands to reason, as she is no longer a graduate student. Congratulations.) I understand that Brad was highly sought after and look forward to pestering….err… meeting him in September.
Part of the VALOR experience is getting outside of your comfort zone and, while you are out there, learning from it. As members of an “experiential” learning program, we are provided an opportunity to go out and experience aspects of Virginia agriculture that we may not be familiar with or adept at. Some of these may cause angst or discomfort, but experience is the name of the game, and engaging in this way is part of the “fun” and offers opportunity for growth.
Over time it became apparent that the fellows were not the only ones availing themselves of the opportunities that arise from discomfort. Regardless of claims of “Oh no. I don’t care for that at all.” there were 12 of us taking in the experience at whatever stop we were at. Or when, “Yes, I have those coordinates, thank you. Thank you sooooo much.” there were 12 who enjoyed the scenery afforded by numerous U-turns. (Well…10 in NoVA when I was driving and making my own U-turns but still arriving at the destinations with the session chair in time to reconnoiter.)
I don’t have knowledge of what went on behind the scenes leading up to the creation of the VALOR curriculum, nor the planning and organizing between seminars to make the whole thing tick, but I am fairly certain it is a Herculean task. You could even say that the staff has been “obtaining results.” I am sure part of the success of the program thus far has been due to the work of the inaugural VALOR graduate assistant. And while it is tough to get voice inflection just right to indicate the true meaning in a blog post, may I just say:
“Oh yes, that’s great. Thank you. Thank you soooooo much.”
My “official” musings can be found here. My more eclectic, seemingly random musings can be followed here or here, if eclectic random musings are more your thing. I wonder if this counts as an assigned blog post…