October 1, 2015

One day we received an email from Kevin Fichensher that led with: "Thirty years ago we met one another and began a journey as Group 6 of the KNFP! Do you agree that our collective and individual journeys are worthy of celebration?" Enough said yes for an organizing group to form and create a plan for 48 hours—subject to change when the Fellows gathered.On September 24-27 KNFP 6 gathered together physically, and in spirit, in Park City, Utah. We laughed—a lot, shed some tears, gave lots of hugs and shared our hopes and concerns about retirement or the next stages of our life. We heard from our host Myles Rademan of Park City's journey from silver mining town to a booming resort town and met with some of the current and alums of the Park City Leadership program he founded 20+ years ago. We heard from Martha of the plans for KFLA.

There was another "real" presentation. David Baxter, senior vice president of Age Wave, Emeryille, California, worked hard to get through a planned presentation about Leadership and the Next Stage of Life with the Fellows commenting every step of the way. He did talk about the four powerful converging forces: 1) longevity evolution; 2) from baby boom to age wave (movement of baby boomers to age); 3) new beginnings; and 4) re-visioning retirement. One of us liked the Webster definition of retirement: "to disappear; to go away, to withdraw.” But mostly we re-connected. For some it had been almost 30 years, for others they had been in contact with at least one or two fellows over the years. Regardless of the time span, we were confident sharing our dreams and trials with the trust born out of the 3 years of active KNFP. There were lots of quotes shared; perhaps the one we liked best was meant for our children or young people we work with when we ask them a tech question…“Don’t laugh at me when I ask a tech question, I taught you to use a spoon.”

In true KNFP fashion, we ended our gathering with a ceremony. You could say it was spontaneous or unplanned but Lance Brunner had a gym bag filled with colorful hosiery that he had dyed. He led us through a dance to quiet rhythmic music that by the end bound us all together... until we meet again.

A short article I wrote some years ago, "It’s a Gift to be Simple – Lessons in Leadership,” will be included in a book by Virginia Organizing about their history. Here are the 10 practical lessons about leadership development from that article:

  1. Good leaders have followers.
  2. The most vocal people are not necessarily the best leaders.
  3. Good leaders share their knowledge, skills and teach others.
  4. Good leaders are team players.
  5. Good leaders know when they need to step aside.
  6. A good leader spends more time listening than talking.
  7. A good leader is not a “glory hog.”
  8. The best leaders lead by example.
  9. The best leaders are able to identify with other people’s experiences of oppression.
  10. The best leaders can dream and take risks.

Are you planning a class reunion? KFLA can help connect you with each other. Contact Martha Lee at 303-839-5352.


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