This year the annual Evolve Staff Conference took place at the Aston University campus in Birmingham. From Tuesday 28th to Thursday 30th of August, over eighty Evolve staff attended the conference including Evolve Directors, Regional Managers, Health Mentors and special guests.
The day kicked off at 11am with a ‘reflective and vision for 2012/13’ session. Graham led the session and discussed the progress Evolve has made. During the past year Evolve has increased its number of full time staff in schools from 7 to 30, it has taken Project HE:RO to 3 new areas of the country and has seen growth of 33%. Everyone agreed this was excellent progress, but Graham wanted to discuss the ways that this progress could affect the quality of service. John Bishop then took over from Graham and discussed the aims for 2013 and explained that this year Evolve would be focusing on quality. It was decided that there would be higher expectations for pupil mentoring and more consolidation on things that have already been set up rather than further expansion.
After lunch the Health Mentors took part in the ‘XLR8 Camps 2012- a review’ session, led by Bryn Llewellyn and Graham. The group firstly addressed the strengths and weaknesses of the Camps and then went on to discuss the locations, dates and numbers of children that attended the 2012 XLR8 Camps. After this, the Health Mentors took part in group work in which they shared what they had gained from leading an XLR8 Camp and what they believed the children had gained from the camp. The session concluded with a screening of the XLR8 video made by The Awakening Agency. There were a few red faces from the Health Mentors featured in the video, but everyone enjoyed hearing the praise for XLR8.
Following Bryn’s session was the ‘Help us to improve’ session. This was led by the directors and involved the Health Mentors suggesting improvements and new ideas for Evolve. Once this session was finished the Health Mentors were given free time to move into the accommodation they will be staying in and get settled.
Meanwhile, the Directors, Regional Managers, Health Mentor Trainers and guests attended a seminar by Jeff Grout. Jeff is an extremely reputable and respected public speaker and the seminar, titled ‘What do leaders really do?’, was extremely useful and interesting for those who attended. Once the seminar had finished there was a quick dash to accommodation and then back to the Lakeside Conference Centre to attend the second of Jeff’s talks. The second one was for everyone attending the Staff Conference and was titled ‘Lessons from sporting excellence’. During this talk Jeff explained the reasons why and how athletes achieve success. For a more detailed description of Jeff’s brilliant lectures you can read this article- https://www.evolvesi.com/2012/09/what-do-leaders-really-do-and-a-lesson-in-sporting-excellence/
After the evening meal the whole group sat down for a performance by spoken word artist, LCB. Many of the Evolve staff had never seen LCB perform before and everyone really enjoyed the performance. Once LBC had finished the Evolve Health Mentor of the Year Awards (EHMYAs!) began. Each of the regions that ran Project HE:RO during 2011/2012 were awarded with a Rookie of the Year and Health Mentor of the Year. Congratulations to all those who won! The awards ceremony marked the end of the first day of the conference and I’m happy to report that everything went smoothly and all enjoyed the day.