There are a great many benefits to becoming an ELP Fellow. Here is a short list of 7 reasons you might consider applying - with words straight from our ELP Fellows.
1. Clarify your Vision. We’ve all heard that “without vision, people perish.” But vision isn’t only an imagined ultimate outcome, - it’s also a way of looking at ourselves and the world. Often the way we see the problem is the problem. ELP offers you a space to formulate better questions, to bring your assumptions to light, to choose your perspective more intentionally - and then to align with that perspective.
"Each one of us possesses the strengths to do good in this world. I think ELP operates on this premise. If you are lucky enough to participate in this fellowship, you will experience the awesome experience of having these qualities revealed for you and before you in each of your fellows. You’ll also be given the tools and support to keep seeking out what is possible in yourself and others if you choose to continue this work.” - Aseel Rasheed, Delaware River Watershed Network 2019
2. Light your Fire. You’ve heard that working for positive social change is a marathon, not a sprint. But what we often don’t name is that marathons can leave us exhausted and burnt out, injured and sore. It can be tempting to give up - before even starting - or to decide never to try something so arduous again. ELP offers participants the opportunity to refuel for the long haul by reconnecting with the love, passion, and gifts that nourish your best work.
“ELP feels like exactly what I was looking for, and the thing I had no idea I needed all at once. I’m amazed at how refreshed and re-energized I feel, and I am excited to put a lot of what I learned into practice. I am also so grateful that I am walking away with this amazing support network in my POD & my cohort, that will both build me up and hold me accountable for accomplishing exactly what I need and want to accomplish.” - Sheyda Esnaashari, Great Lakes 2018
3. Challenge (and surprise) Yourself. Some of our deepest learning occurs when we step outside of our comfort zones. Even though there is uncertainty and trepidation when we step into the unknown, responsible risk-taking is an essential aspect of leadership, one that ELP invites you to practice!
“ELP is truly a unique and magnificent opportunity to immerse yourself in a diverse group of people from all aspects of the environmental field and connect, collaborate and grow together. You become part of a wonderful family - both with your cohort and the larger ELP network, and it is a great chance to push yourself and spend time focusing on your own development.” - Mike Mullaley, Eastern 2018
4. Laugh and Learn. Yes, we can learn a lot from challenge and struggle. But we also learn through play. Play is natural, it’s fun, it opens us to up to experimentation and surprise. It allows for divergent thinking and liberates our creativity. Play can open up space for some of our deepest (and most enjoyable) learning.
“I can’t think of another time when I laughed so hard and learned so much!” - Katie Bush, New England 2015
5. Find your People. Profound learning is a social process. ELP is a space in which we create a strong learning container that allows for transformational learning. Over the course of the Fellowship, participants connect with emerging leaders from a wide range of backgrounds. This allows you to explore a range of new perspectives, find allies, mentors, and forge friendships for the long haul.
"I was told before coming to this retreat that it would change my life, but nothing could have truly prepared me for what it would be like to spend 4 days with 19 of the most profoundly talented and beautiful people in the world and build a community of practice together." - Elizabeth Theriault, New England 2014
6. Weave your Network. For many of us “networking” is a cringe-worthy idea. Instead of teaching our participants how to "work a room", we help Fellows learn the mindset and skills of “networking weaving." This is an approach to building mutually beneficial relationships, recognizing and liberating the resources in the network, and increasing the capacity of people to share knowledge and connection while amplifying influence and impact.
"I feel recharged after several days of talking with ELP Fellows as they are not just colleagues but good friends who are genuinely supportive. I am empowered and not alone knowing that there are 900+ Fellows out there who I can reach out to a multitude of issues. - Mieko Ozeki, New England 2011
7. Make Change. Isn't this what environmental leadership is about? Although leadership can mean many different things - we feel that an essential part is helping others - a team, an organization, a community, a movement - common goals. Or, as Marshall Ganz puts it, "Leadership means taking responsibility for helping others achieve shared purpose in the face of uncertainty." One of the best reasons to apply for an ELP Fellowship is because it will help you with all aspects of that equation.
“The close friendships I was able to form through ELP with ~20 diverse people across the environmental field in the PNW have already dramatically broadened my perspective—both personally and professionally—and introduced many new opportunities for projects and collaborations. Beyond the direct networking benefit, the trainings on diversity, learning organizations, and strength-based leadership have been directly applicable to my own work and are already attracting interest as I bring these ideas back to my organization. I am so grateful for this opportunity, and am more excited than ever for the future." - David Diaz, Pacific Northwest 2014
Interested? Check out our upcoming Regional Programs and our National Fellowship. If you have questions, you might find the answers on our "Which program is right for me?" page. Otherwise, feel free to contact CorePrograms@elpnet.org for more information.