I had the honour of working with a fabulous group of teenage volunteers last week, as we pulled off a small World Environment Day event at school.
To others, us hitting the 'sustainability stars' of eating local produce, recycling and upcycling looked like a mismatched group of people standing around in the cold wind for half and hour trying to keep flying hair out of warm soup, while holding baskets of fruit and collecting second hand books.
What it felt like for us was actually a lot of fun.
We worked as a team to serve that soup; someone passed the cups, someone ladled the soup, someone supplied the spoons, someone handed out the serviettes, someone was ready with the list of ingredients and allergy warnings while some else collected the empty cups to recycle.
There was a PA system to set up, a playlist to put together and decorations to hang.
We needed to push and pull things, stop things from rolling and falling and dropping. So many small challenges to overcome.
Surprisingly, at one point, one team member had to be reallocated to strategically lean on a part of our table to ensure our tablecloth wouldn't fly away in the gale.
This team member was just as vital as the soup ladler and almost as important as the pot stirrer - nobody wants to eat burnt soup!
The day before the event, our amazing VET Kitchen Operations students had peeled, chopped, sautéed, simmered and stirred the soup into existence while they chatted, consulted together, laughed and cheerfully cleaned-up when it was cooked.
Working alongside young people full of energy and joy is an incredible pleasure.
Having the chance to work with a team when you are racing against the clock or surviving disconcerting weather conditions does seem to build a stronger bond and make for a memorable experience.
I think we may have been bathed in misty rain as we served 150 people with Curried Carrot and Lentil Soup and another 150 with fresh apples, oranges and pears.
I didn't really notice the damp or cold that much at the time as I was so distracted by my book donation collectors spruiking their raffle tickets and the winner of the prize completing his outrageous victory dance.
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