By Deb Matsuura

Tiffany – “My Hawaiian Adventure”

I am so thankful for my time at Fukuji and Lum. This incredible experience is something I can never forget. As the weather in Boston begins to cool, I cannot help but reminisce about my time in Hawaii. The people in Hawaii, especially at Fukuji and Lum, are so friendly and loving. It is during these 6 months that I began to understand and even adopt the aloha spirit.

Our flight began in Boston, where I was wearing a hat and scarf. I was excited, but also nervous to begin a new co-op experience 5,000 miles away from home. Before Hawaii, I had never been so far from my family for more than a month, and now I was leaving for six months! From the moment I stepped into the clinic, I know I had absolutely no reason to be nervous.

[one_half] My first day at the Honolulu clinic I was greeted by Lynn at the front desk and I remember thinking how welcoming she was. I also met Art, Shaw, Mike, Mana and Michelle that day and they were all great and willing to teach me about the clinic. Everyone at Fukuji and Lum are great teachers with an inspirational passion for learning about physical therapy.[/one_half][one_half_last]IMG_9087 [/one_half_last]

Through the six months I was there, I got to meet more amazing people such as Taryn, Julie, Jenni, Blayse, Brittany and Chloe. There was so much for me to learn as I had never worked at an outpatient clinic before. The staff was excited to learn about new techniques and exercises that optimally helped our patients. It was so amazing to see the bond all the staff had with each patient. I began to understand the important role ohana has at Fukuji and Lum.

 As a co-op student I was able to develop my skills and knowledge relating to physical therapy. Working with different therapists and patients helped me grow as a student and future professional. I remember in one of our staff meetings at the beginning of this co-op, I was asked what I am most looking forward to during my experience. I said that I was excited to see my course work integrated into real practice; and that was exactly what I saw. This also works in reverse, because I can take what I learned from Fukuji and Lum and combine it with my future courses.

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On top of being able to work alongside these inspiring, hard-working people, I was able to explore the beautiful islands as well. I lived with two of the other co-ops, Jamie and Rose, and we were lucky enough to live just five minutes from the beach. Once we settled in, we began making a check list of hikes and beaches we needed to visit during our six month stay. With the other co-ops Tim and Dan, we got to visit beaches along the North shore, have some of the best fish tacos ever and hike breath-taking trails like the Kuli’ou’ou ridge.

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We were also lucky enough to visit some of the other islands! Getting to see the lava against a starry sky on the big island was magnificent. Completing the 11-mile Na Pali coast hike on Kauai is one of my greatest accomplishments. Each of the islands were so unique, and I am so happy I was able to experience a few of them!

This experience was enriching in so many ways. I gained a greater understanding of the physical therapy field and what kind of therapist I want to become. Through working at Fukuji and Lum I saw of the impact we can have on patients both through excellent and compassionate care. Thank you again to everyone at Fukuji and Lum and I know that I will always have ohana in Hawaii!

Mahalo and Aloha!

Tiffany

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By Mark Yanai

Being Present for the Future

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There are many moments in our lives that mark significant milestones of achievement. It is in these past few months that many of these milestones have presented themselves, leaving strong emotions and memories that will stay with me forever.

My blog posts have slowed in recent months. My life has become filled with travels and milestones like everyone else’s. It began in May when my entire family traveled to California to watch my nephew, Matthew, graduate from Chapman University. A fun week of graduation activities was sprinkled with visits to Disneyland and Universal Studios.

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The trip continued with a flight to Portland and drive to McMinnville where we celebrated my eldest son, Kaleo’s, graduation from Linfield College. After four years of multiple trips to Oregon, this last travel to McMinnville was the most enjoyable and memorable. Watching Kaleo walk up to the podium and receive his diploma was a definite proud father moment.

Being present at both graduations brought on a tremendous sense of pride. As my family sat in the stands and watched each moment, we all felt more connected and we all shared in the accomplishment. During the trip, my wife and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary while my mom celebrated her 80th birthday. It seemed surreal that all of these milestones would occur within a two-week period.

[one_half] Fast forward to this week when one of our employees, Ryan, completed his employment with F&L. Ryan was accepted to Western University in Pomona, California and began graduate school in August to attain his doctoral degree in physical therapy. Ryan was originally a patient with F&L while he was in high school. His experience with us led to a four-year period of volunteering in the summers while at Pacific University. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Exercise Science, Ryan accepted a job with us as a front office receptionist and PT technician, a role that he’s filled while building his resume for graduate school.

We celebrated Ryan’s last day at work with party and mini-golf tournament at Bay View Golf Course. With over 40 people in attendance, we all got to recognize his contributions to the organization and wish him well in his new adventure. As the F&L family gathered, I felt the same feelings of pride and connection to Ryan and the rest of the group. [/one_half]

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We often tell ourselves that there’s our work family and then there’s our real family. For F&L we strive to change that perception and our Higher Purpose is “to love and grow, as family.” By sharing common values, we want our employees and patients to feel safe and supported, that whatever accomplishment they work toward, it will be through collaboration and love. If we can create that in our small organization, we can share it with the rest of the world.

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By Deb Matsuura

NU Health Science Co-op Joins F&L

Let’s meet Stevie, F&L’s fifth and final NU Co-op for the fall semester. Her co-op with us is a very special one, because it is the first time we have taken a Health Science student. Stevie works as a front office receptionist at our WORC site and pool.

What school did you attend in high school and what’s your current college?
I went to Eastport South Manor Jr./Sr. High School in Manorville, NY. I currently attend college at Northeastern University in Boston, MA.

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What drew your interest to the Health Science field?
I was interested in Health Science after I heard about how well the major balances hard science and social policy courses. Since I was a kid I wanted to be a doctor so I became a health science major on the pre-med track after my freshman year of college. Health Science allows me to take all of my pre-med courses but everything I learn inside and outside my major ties in to what I’m interested in as a future health care professional. Health Science is the perfect niche for me. [/one_half]

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Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
I wanted my co-op to be in Hawaii because I wanted to live somewhere in a culture completely different than my own. I am used to a faster-paced lifestyle working in New York and I wanted to learn in a slowed down environment like in Hawaii. Also, I’ve never been to Hawaii so being so far away from home has made me more independent.

What has been your experience like so far?
My experience so far has been wonderful. I swear the nicest people ever are the ones that work at Fukuji and Lum Physical Therapy. Every day I am happy to come to work even with a 10 mile commute round-trip on my bike. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving?
I wouldn’t consider it strange but I had manapua. I’ve never had a dessert with meat in it before.

What is on your to do list while here?

I want to learn all of our patients names. I think it’s important to connect to every single person I can during my experience in Hawaii.

After majoring in Health Sciences, what kind of career would you like to pursue?
After I graduate with my B.S. in Health Science I want to go to medical school to get my MD. I don’t know what kind of doctor I want to be but I am mostly interested in obstetrics and gynecology.

Who is your greatest influence in your life?

My dad is by far my best friend and greatest influence in my life. I am where I am now because of him. I am going to be the best person I can be for him.

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By Deb Matsuura

We Welcome Liz to the Fukuji and Lum Ohana!

Fukuji & Lum welcomes our fourth Co-op this semester, Liz, to our Ohana. She will be working with our aquatic therapists in the pool and at our outpatient physical therapy clinic in Kaneohe.

Liz is our guest blogger this week and shares a little introduction about why she got into physical therapy and her experience so far in Hawaii.

What school did you attend in high school and what’s your current college? I went to Falmouth High School in Falmouth, Maine and I am now in the DPT program at Northeastern University in Boston.

What drew you to physical therapy? I grew up playing sports year-round so I was constantly focused on the way my body moved. I went to physical therapy for my own sports-related injuries in early high school and it opened my eyes to how amazing the human body is. I decided to do a job shadow with a couple of physical therapists in my area and that’s when I knew I wanted to be an expert on the way the body moved and pursue a career in physical therapy.

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Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii? The ocean and mountains of Hawaii are what initially grabbed my attention when I began my coop search. After I heard previous coop’s descriptions of the Fukuji and Lum culture, and saw the mission and values highlighted on the F&L website I knew I wanted to be a part of the fun, happy, and compassionate family I had heard about.

What has your experience been like so far? I’ve had an amazing experience so far. Rather than dreading going to work in the morning and counting the hours until the end of each work day, as I have found myself doing with previous jobs that I’ve had, I look forward to going to work and I find that the days fly by. I have learned a lot from my co-workers and patients, and I have become more excited for my future as a physical therapist.

What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving? Spam.

What is on your to-do list while here? I want to take advantage of the mountains and the ocean by hiking and swimming regularly and hopefully learning how to surf. I also hope to create lasting relationships with people that I meet, and learn as much as I can about PT from my co-workers and my experience.

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What kind of therapist do you hope to be? I hope to be a therapist who can help my patients understand how amazing their bodies are and show them how to manipulate the way they move so that they are confident in taking control of their own recoveries.

Who is your greatest influence in your life? As the youngest of five kids in my family, I have always had a lot of people to look up to. My parents, sisters, and brothers have showed me how to think critically, how to study, how to be considerate of others, how to appreciate all the amazing people in my life, and much much more. I continue to learn from each of them every day.

I have also met some pretty great people in my past two years at Northeastern. I constantly find myself describing my classmates and friends as some of the smartest, kindest and most hardworking people I know. I have met so many people worthy of raving about, and being around them has made me want to push myself harder in all aspects of my life.

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By Deb Matsuura

New Semester, New Co-ops!

Fukuji & Lum’s receives a handful of Northeastern University physical therapy students every semester. For spring semester 2017, we just said mahalo and good-bye to five awesome, enthusiastic and hard-working students who we know will make a great impact in the physical therapy world. We wish them the best!!

This July we welcomed five new students who will be with us till December. We look forward to teaching and nurturing them as well as sharing our island spirit and company culture, which they will be able to take back with them to Boston.

You’ve just met Matt in our previous blog, now here’s Kyle and Grace with a few words about themselves and why chose to study physical therapy.

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 Kyle’s Blog

What school did you attend in high school and what’s your current college?
I attended Andover High School in Massachusetts. I now go to Northeastern University in Boston.

What drew you to physical therapy? 
There have been a few things that have drawn me into the field of physical therapy. In high school I was a rower and our coach focused hundreds of hours on moving correctly and power application. This was the start of my fascination with the body, how it moves, and the quest to perfect movement in sport. From there, I would research different body parts and how to exercise them. Fast forward a few years to 2015 when I injured my shoulder, I researched what I thought was wrong and how to rehab it. The process of troubleshooting the injury and trying to rehab it was really exciting for me. As exciting as it was, it didn’t work so well, so after a few weeks I went to a real PT. When going myself, I enjoyed the atmosphere and the role of a PT in a patient’s recovery. It was a relaxed environment where everyone would chat and joke and I could see myself working in something similar.

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Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
I used to work with a youth development program called Andover Youth Services and it was a huge influence in my life. One of the most significant values we lived and encouraged in the young people was to get out of your comfort zone. When looking for co-ops I wanted to stay consistent with my values so I wanted to go somewhere that would challenge me and give me a new experience. I’ve found that forcing myself uncomfortable situations is when I learn the most.

What has been your experience like so far?
After 3 weeks on this beautiful island I’m confident coming here was the right decision. Working in Honolulu, I’m exposed to a demographic I wouldn’t otherwise be if I was working in Boston. The clientele is typically on the older side and many are of Asian descent. Occasionally I’m tasked with working with someone who speaks no English. This has been hard for me so far, but it is challenging me to improve my visual cues and other nonverbal communication.

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What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving?Being here for about a month I haven’t had a ton of time to really venture into strange cuisine. I’ve tried some local foods like poke and I’m a big fan of the Hawaiian marinade at Fresh Catch. Also our host family makes ahi and ono jerky which is a little unusual. Other than that I think I’ve eaten pretty similarly to back in Boston.

What is on your to do list while here?
I’m a little limited with having shoulder surgery a few months ago but I’d like to hike, surf, explore the islands, jump off some cliffs, and eat some more exotic food.

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?
Of course I want to be the best therapist there can be. I want to be a therapist who deeply understands each treatment and why it works. I want to be up to date with new technologies and methods of treatment to give my patients the most efficacious therapy they can get. I want to learn how to garner my patient’s imagination of who they can become and use it to motivate them to work towards their goals.

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[one_half_last]Who is your greatest influence in your life?
I’d be lying to say anyone influenced me more than my parents. Simply living with them for the greater part of 20 years I’ve learned an incredible amount. From my dad I’ve learned how to be industrious and how to learn. From my mom I learned how to listen and be empathetic. These traits among others have been super beneficial in my journey through life.[/one_half_last]

Grace’s Blog

What school did you attend in high school and what’s your current college?
I attended Trinity College School in Toronto, Canada. I am now a student at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.

What drew you to physical therapy? Ever since I was young I knew I was interested in a helping profession. I was interested in a variety of positions such as dentistry, chiropractic care, and Occupational Therapy. I had the opportunity to shadow a few physical therapists and fell in love with the profession. Each and every day I find myself loving it more and more.

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Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
There are many reasons why I was interested in doing my co-op in Hawaii. I have always enjoyed traveling and learning more about the world around me, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. During this last semester, we have also had many discussions on cultural differences and the impacts it can have on physical therapy and other forms of care. This co-op seemed unique in its ability to introduce me to this learning curve. Lastly, Fukuji & Lum has a focus on family culture. I am very close with my family back home, so I was naturally drawn to F&Ls values and overall mission and purpose.

What has been your experience like so far?
Traveling to a new place can sometimes be daunting and with it comes a lot of unknowns. From the get-go I felt nothing but kindness and support through the transition. It’s like a home away from home. I get along so well with the other co-op students and my new coworkers, and I am so excited to see what adventures this journey takes us all on.

What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving?
We haven’t really explored eating strange things yet. We have tried poke a few times now, and I have yet to be disappointed! Giovanni’s shrimp trunk was also delicious, highly recommend! I’m hoping to try lots of new foods, especially spam musubi, acai bowls, and poi. I’m also looking forward to finding the best shaved ice around!

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What is on your to do list while here?
I mainly want to explore the island. I want to go on lots of different hikes and learn about the history of the island and Hawaii as a whole. I am also excited to get to know more about Hawaiian culture by exploring things like a Luau, hula dancing and listening to Hawaiian music. I have been working on Hawaiian Pidgin and I am trying to learn a new word every day. I’m hoping I’ll be able to take some of it back and confuse my friends back home!

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?
Physical therapy can be a very rewarding job, because we have the opportunity to help patients reach their personal goals. I think the relationship between therapist and patient is what you choose to make it, and I hope to be a motivational and supporting factor in my patients’ lives. If I am able to positively impact a number of my patients during my time as a therapist I will feel rewarded.

Who is your greatest influence in your life?
My greatest influence in my life is my older brother Riley. He is my built in best friend and I look up to him in many ways. He pushed me to embrace this opportunity and for that I’m grateful. I can’t wait to continue to grow up and find our way in life together. [/one_half]

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By Deb Matsuura

Meeting Matt

Every six months, F&L gets a new crew of Co-Op students from Northeastern University. I get to interview each of the applicants three months ahead of time and typically do it through video conferencing. The application process is usually over a two-week period as we interview and consider at least ten to fifteen applicants.

I was fortunate to interview Matt as the first applicant. We immediately connected as we had several common interests and I knew before the end of the interview that he would be offered a position. One of the most important things we look for when choosing a Co-op, is someone who shares common values with our organization and whose personal purpose matches our Mission statement. I definitely saw these values in Matt and look forward to watching him grow and challenge himself in everything he does while here with us.

Get to know him as he guest blogs for us!

What high school did you attend and what’s your current college?
I went to Tabor Academy in Marion, MA for high school, and I am now at Northeastern University studying physical therapy.

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What drew you to physical therapy?
I pretty much stumbled upon it… As a high school basketball player, I had to go to PT for a few different injuries, but I never thought of pursuing it as a career. I ended up applying to nine schools for exercise science before I found Northeastern University and fell in love. The closest thing they had to exercise science was physical therapy, so I figured I would apply for that. It wasn’t until after I had applied that I started to reflect more on my experiences with physical therapy and realized the potential for an incredibly fun, impactful, and rewarding career. Since then, I’ve found more and more things that I love about it.

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Why did you want to do your co-op in Hawaii?
A little over a year ago, I was sitting in my advisor’s office and asked if there were any coop sites in California. My personality was beginning to shift a bit from high school. I was becoming more laid back, and the west coast lifestyle was something I wanted to experience. My advisor replied, “Unfortunately, we don’t have any in California, but we do have one in Hawaii”. I immediately knew where my heart was. I love experiencing and living in new cultures very different from my own, and Hawaii has one of the most beautiful, diverse cultures in the world. I knew that I would be able to experience the laid-back vibe that I was looking for in the west coast, and be able to immerse myself in the food, music, dancing, surfing, hiking, and beautiful people of this island at the same time. It was a pretty simple decision for me… [/one_half]

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What has been your experience like so far?
I am in love 🙂 I’ve only been here for just over two weeks and have experienced very little, but it’s easy to see how special this place is. Kayaking to work was just a catchphrase a few weeks ago, but is a beautiful reality now. Playing pickup basketball with co-workers on Monday nights and walking outside in between games to one of the more beautiful views I’ve ever experienced is surreal. Probably the most special part so far has been the people I’ve met: patients, staff at Fukuji and Lum, locals… The Aloha spirit has been more welcoming than I ever could have imagined.

What’s the strangest thing that you’ve eaten since arriving?
I would have to say poi. I had it with some Spicy Ahi poke and loved it. I know that is a pretty disappointing ‘strangest food’, but I’ll keep working on it 🙂

What is on your to do list while here?
Soooo much. I want to surf a lot, do as many hikes on Oahu as possible, learn Ukulele and Guitar, learn Hula, get a tan (this one is more wishful thinking), kayak into work most days, absorb lots of knowledge at work, not cut my hair, eat an excessive amount of poke and other delicious Hawaiian foods, learn some Hawaiian and Pidgin, and hopefully have a positive impact on many of the people I come into contact with. I’m excited!

What kind of therapist do you hope to be?
I want to become a master of eliminating pain and helping people live the lives that they dream of. Of course, I want to be able to make people feel better (which is why I also want to become massage certified), but I also want to educate and empower them to take charge of their own recovery and wellness. I want to be the type of therapist that takes a genuine interest in patient’s lives and goals and does their best to empathize and really understand what the their patients are going through, both physically and emotionally. And finally, I would love to incorporate my love of traveling and experiencing new cultures in there too, however possible.

Who is your greatest influence in your life?

I’ve had so many, but my greatest influence is hands down my family. I am blessed to have two parents from very different backgrounds and an incredible older sister that have loved and supported me through everything –even this ‘growing my hair out’ stage (although it is really tough for my dad!)… But on a serious note, they have taught me so much about accepting myself and the power of unconditional love, and anything I am able to accomplish in my life will stem off of the foundation that they’ve built for me.

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By Deb Matsuura

6th Annual F&L Car Wash

June 10th was Fukuji & Lum’s Annual Community Car Wash at the Kokokahi YWCA in Kaneohe. For the past 6 years, we have been hosting a FREE car wash to say “Thank You” to the Windward community for their love and support to our organization. Our patients definitely look forward to this special event every year, as they enjoy watching our therapists get wet and dirty while working hard to get their cars clean.
Despite the intermittent rain throughout the day, we hope that many of you in the community drove down to the YWCA to get your vehicles washed. Mahalo to those who came by to take advantage of this awesome FREEBIE! It only happens once a year…

 

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For those who missed it, we usually hold this event in June. Hope to see you all next year!

 

By Deb Matsuura

How was Hawaii?

Guest Blogger Leila K., former NU Co-op PT student writes about her time spent with our Ohana.

People are curious when you have been far away for a long time. “How was Hawaii?” they would ask me over and over again. I had a hard time answering them. How could I describe such an incredible experience without making them listen to me go on for hours? Amazing doesn’t even begin to cover it. My experience was positive in so many dimensions and I learned so much from it, if I was forced to distill my time in Hawaii at Fukuji and Lum into a considerately short series of phrases, I would say that I found a home there, a place that I hold in my heart, and that I dream of returning.

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One thing I tell people when they ask me about my experience is that I never once woke up dreading to go to work. Even though I had to wake up super early every morning (which is not easy for me I am not an early morning person at all), I looked forward to go to work. Everyone at Fukuji and Lum was so positive and fun to work with. There was never a dull moment! I learned something from every person I worked with.

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Working at the clinic, pool, and pool front office allowed me to experience so many different aspects of the physical therapy profession. It was amazing to watch people make improvements in the pool and then to watch them continue to improve on land. It was very rewarding. Working at the front desk showed me how complicated patient care can be. I learned a lot about the importance of interdisciplinary communication from working at the front desk. 

When I wrote my first blog post, I wrote down all the things I wanted to do before I left the island. I am glad to say that I did get to hike Stairway to Heaven and the Pill Boxes at sunrise and I ate an enormous amount of acai and pitaya bowls that I miss so dearly. I even got to learn how to hula dance! Unfortunately I never got to swim with dolphins but I did get to see both dolphins and whales from shore so I can settle with that!

[one_half] If I hadn’t co-oped in Hawaii, I may not have the three new sibling-friends that I have now. Ashley, Justin and Colby became my family and I don’t know what I would do without each of them in my life. From sliding down muddy mountains in the dark with Ashley, watching Colby almost die in the ocean multiple times, and watching Justin cook 10 pounds of chicken at a time, I have so many special memories with each of them.

When I completed my co-op I knew that I had learned so much from working at Fukuji and Lum. I had no idea how much I had absorbed until I was sitting in my spring and summer lecture halls and actually making connections from what I saw on co-op in my classes. It was really amazing to realize exactly how much I learned. I feel so much more confident in my skills in school because of what I learned at Fukuji and Lum. 

One of the best parts about my co-op experience was the Fukuji and Lum family. You all accepted us right away and I felt so welcome. You all made being so far from home much easier and I cannot thank you all enough for that. I think about Hawaii every day and I can’t wait until I can go back again.

Love and Aloha,
Leila
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By Mark Yanai

Conquering Fear Together

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Conquering Fear, My Ragnar Experience – By Joy Yanai, D.P.T.

It’s been on my bucket list for several years, even after I stopped running religiously. RUN A RAGNAR RELAY has yet to be crossed off. Then, in summer of 2016, the Ragnar Trail Oahu North Shore was announced online. I don’t even trail run, but a friend and I decided to do it and form a team.

We named our team “Gotta Be Crazy” and knew that finding six more crazy people would be easy. None of us were trail runners and we had varying degrees of running backgrounds. We didn’t know what to expect, but we were all willing to spend the night in a tent and take turns running 24 legs around Turtle Bay.

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On Friday, April 21st we showed up at Turtle Bay to set up camp and start our run. As we drove into the parking area, the heavens opened up and the rains came down. And so the next 24 hours began…

[one_half] Going into this relay, the 8 of us all had different fears:

Fear of running in the heat
Fear of running in the dark
Fear of not being prepared
Fear of getting injured
Fear of disappointing teammates
Fear of centipedes in sleeping bags
Fear of using porta potties that 700 other runners are using

What I realized to be true about FEAR is that it’s:

False
Evidence
Appearing
Real

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I didn’t feel as physically prepared as I wanted to be. I could’ve stressed about it, instead I decided to just enjoy each run. I stopped to take pictures; I took videos and sent them to my teammates. I listened to the sounds of the waves, the birds, and the crickets.

During training, I had avoided running a trail at night because I didn’t want to do it alone. When it was my turn to do it at the relay, I was sure that there would be plenty of people running at night to keep me company. NOPE! I did the longest route at night and only saw three people! I turned off my second light and splash through the mud, enjoying being somewhere I had never been before.
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We all rested briefly overnight (except for Talon, he’s a beast). A couple of members would accompany the next runner to the start and welcome the previous runner in. Next priority was making sure the runner who just came in got what they needed to recover.

All of my expectations of this run were smashed. I think our team’s expectations were smashed. The trail we thought would be the easiest was the hardest because of the mud. The beach run with dreaded sand dunes was the easiest because of minimal mud.[/one_half_last]

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We overcame fears. We complained about the rain, the porta potties, the mud. We all stepped up. Fellow co-workers who didn’t run with us loaned us cots and lanterns. One of them even made us all precut tape strips to support our leg muscles. Even patients got involved, painting T-shirts for us and loaning us hi-tech bug repellant.

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As I write this, it is hard to find the right words to describe my teammates. “Family” could replace “Team”. “Friends” could replace “co-workers”. That’s really what we were; friends and family for the weekend, a small part of the bigger F&L Ohana. I appreciate all of them for helping me cross something off of my list. And if you ask any of us if we regret doing it, I’m sure we’ll all say no. We are already planning on next year.

And now I ask you, what’s next to cross off your list? What fears can we conquer together?

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By Mark Yanai

Strategic Planning for 2017

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On April 6-7th, a two-day course was hosted at the Ko’olau Conference Center by Donna Ching, Ph.D. for Strategic Planning and Facilitation. Donna is the founder of the Pacific Center for Collaboration and has held workshops for the past few years after “retiring” from the faculty of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources at the University of Hawaii, Manoa.

I attended the course accompanied by Art Lum, co-owner of F&L, in hopes that we could learn new skills and a process in guiding our organization. There were 28 other attendees from different backgrounds including state, research and educational organizations. What we all had in common was a passion to provide for others so that we could create a work environment of safety and collaboration.

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The workshop was outstanding in all aspects. Donna’s passion of teaching collaboration techniques, Appreciative Inquiry, and her unique process model for planning made for an energetic workshop that encouraged participation and learning through experiences. I was often moved by the experiences shared by the other attendees and saw how the skill of sharing our lives through storytelling is a key component of her model. The world is changing and the process model that she teaches is necessary for the leadership of any organization hoping to thrive in it.

At the heart of her process model is Appreciative Inquiry (AI).  According to the Center for Appreciative Inquiry, “AI is a way of being and seeing. It is both a worldview and a process for facilitating positive change in human systems, e.g., organizations, groups, and communities. Its assumption is simple: Every human system has something that works right–things that give it life when it is vital, effective, and successful. AI begins by identifying this positive core and connecting to it in ways the heighten energy, sharpen vision, and inspire action for change.”

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This process of “facilitating positive change” is in alignment with F&L’s values-based organization and is what our company has implemented in creating our policies and procedures. We plan to use what we know about AI and what we’ve gained from the strategic planning course to guide us into becoming a world-class organization.

Besides the actual course presentation, I was very impressed by Ko’olau’s Ballroom and Conference Center. The room was located in Honey’s restaurant and the food was outstanding. The room was perfect for the size of the group and there was lots of free parking. The location is close to our Windward offices and is the perfect setting with the Ko’olau mountain range as a backdrop.

I look forward to taking more workshops from Donna and hope to take her Facilitation Skills class in the later part of the year. If you are a leader of your organization, I would highly recommend taking one of her workshops.[/one_half_last]