What participants thought
Nadia Clark - SEYFF Committee Treasurer & National Administrator
I came on this course because I was asked if I would like to participate and I thought, why not? It's a great opportunity for self development and will help me in my role for the SEYFF (Support and Education for our Youth, their Friends and Family) Committee.
I'm already applying the skills I have learnt during the SEED course. I have learnt how to have a positive focus – looking for solutions rather than dwelling on problems. It has helped me in my understanding of others, that different personalities mean people have different reactions to my own. For example, a pause in the conversation is not necessarily a bad thing!
I think it's important for people within the blindness community to increase their confidence, to stand up for themselves more, to be assertive and to help each other. I can use the tools I have learnt during the SEED course to help my friends in what they are doing, whether they are vision impaired or not. Leadership is not relative to being vision impaired. There are lots of qualities needed in good leaders – why shouldn't blind and partially sighted people have the chance to develop their leadership skills along with others?
Image: Nadia Clark
Sue Harris - ABC Committee Member
I came on this course because I wanted to know what it was all about. I also wanted to boost my confidence – I might sound like I’m a confident person, but I’m not always.
I’ve learnt how to be a bit more tactful and diplomatic when dealing with others. I’ve learnt to be a problem solver – to apply certain tools to help solve problems. I’ve learnt about positivity, the positivity of myself and others. I’ve learnt to listen to the input of others and how useful it is to be able to toss around ideas with others and recognise other people’s perspectives. I will be using the specific skills I have learnt here in coordinating meetings going forward, to get the best out of the meetings. I wish I’d had this training when I was chairing meetings before!
I think it’s important for people within the blindness community to enhance their leadership skills so we can help to teach others in the blind community and help sighted people to understand where we’re coming from. What sighted people can do, we can do just as well, but differently. This course proves that you don’t have to be sighted to get on in the world. This is something I can take back to the ABC (Association of Blind Citizens) committee – we can do things for ourselves, we don’t need sighted people around all the time to have conversations or to resolve conflicts.
I’ve really loved this course. The only criticism I have is that it’s not longer!
Image: Sue Harris
Brian Gubb - RNZFB Member
The course was recommended to me by one of the RNZFB counsellors – I was told it would be an opportunity to meet likeminded people with a pro active approach to life. I have only been totally blind for just over a year and I haven't really got involved with anything like this before. My experience of other blind and partially sighted people hasn't necessarily been a positive one to date but this has really opened my eyes to see that not everyone feels like all is lost when you suffer vision loss.
I enjoyed meeting other people...positive people who are much further along their journey than me. Listening to the wisdom/ advice of others in the same boat and picking up some great techniques to use in my everyday life.
I don't know that I would consider myself part of the blindness community, in fact it's something I have been keen to resist...I'm just trying to adapt and get on with my life the best I can. I think everyone should be encouraged to come on this course. Not necessarily to become a leader but to develop their life skills and have an opportunity to share their experiences. For me it's about improving yourself and becoming more effective in your everyday life as a blind person.
Image: Brian Gubb
Nuirangi Maihi - Caregiver (sighted participant)
I came on this course because I have a 12 year old deafblind daughter and wanted to take this opportunity to see things from her perspective for a while.
It was amazing to meet all the people here and listen first hand to their experiences of being a blind person in a sighted world. I have learned so much from them and found the whole thing a positive and uplifting experience.
I think blind people have so much to offer. It’s those of us who are sighted and have hearing that take things for granted and cannot truly see and hear things the way they should be. Blind, deaf, disabled people…every one of them has so much to offer and it is not their condition that holds them back but the rest of society and their lack of expectation that limits those like my Callie.
Image: Nuirangi Maihi
Toni Sharp - Chair of the RNZFB Taupo Community Committee
I came on this course to learn new skills and techniques in leadership, this will develop me personally and ultimately benefit the Taupo members. It will also help me in my role as Division Governor for the Waikato Toast Masters.
I enjoyed the opportunity to meet others from so many backgrounds and share stories. The personality test (Myers Briggs) was a real highlight for me and has already made me think differently about the way I communicate with people and the changes I can make to be better at it.
I think it's vital to provide the blindness community with the tools to help build self esteem and teach them how to cope in different and sometimes very challenging situations.
Image: Toni Sharp
Tracy Dorreen - Christchurch Vice Chair of deafblind group, Member of the Disability Advisory Group, Association of Blind Citizens committee member
I came on this course because it was recommended to me by Stephanie Lange, my employment consultant, at the RNZFB. I also thought it would be a good opportunity to learn new things and learn about myself.
I realised that I am a leader in whatever I do even if it as a mother to my three daughters. The other thing that will stay with me for a long time is the inspiration of the other people who were there. They had their own battles to deal with, yet they endeavoured to be with us on this course.
It is important for people within the deafblind community to enhance their leadership skills. This dual sensory impairment is somewhat disempowering to many of us who are expected to live in an increasingly sensory world. Leadership development will give deafblind people the confidence to realise that they can make a difference to people around them when they aspire to leadership roles. It also makes others aware of the fact that we are not as helpless as people would perceive us to be
Peter A Taylor - Ambassador for the Pin Drop Foundation, Spokesperson for the NZ cochlea implant consumer group and Inspirational speaker of the year 2012
I was invited on the SEED Leadership course by the RNZFB. I was excited by the opportunity of education.
The value and extent of the material presented has been invaluable in adding further tools to my leadership roles. The highlights for me included the articulate facilitation by Jayne Cobham from Grafton and the enormous contributions and interactions of the other participants.
Enhancement of skills is paramount to growth, connectiveness and efficiency of the deafblind community. This opportunity leaves no doubt in the value and investments of the participants for these objectives to have a best possible. outcome
Image: Christchurch deafblind SEED Leadership
Lorraine Nilsson - Vice President Deafblind NZ Inc.
I came on this course to get some experience and be able to achieve my goals as a leader. I found the course interesting and found there were lots of new words and skills to learn.
SEED helps us to develop leadership skills and helps young people come up and be leaders for the future.
I would recommend this course to other people, as it helps us to understand ourselves and realise some things we might not have known before. I really appreciated the personality test - learning about my personality had a great impact on me.
Image: Phil Thorne and Deafblind services coordinator Elinor Cuttiford at Christchurch deafblind SEED Leadership