I had a busy few days in Houston last week -- a mix of meeting with teachers, leaders in the community, fellow dancers, and potential partners. Being physically present in the process of a new chapter is crucial. It can be hard to manage all the travel. I have to balance my time with my duties here in New York, our other teams across the US, and family. However, it is one of the parts I enjoy most. To connect with people on the ground and see the impact that can be made.
Being back in Houston was exciting. I went to the weekly Youth Advocates session at the St Luke’s United Methodist. It was refreshing to see how the church opened the space each week to make a positive environment for the freestyle dance community. Even though I wasn't dressed to dance (I had just come from my last set of meetings), the music was too good not to get in a few rounds. I met some incredibly talented people. Afterwards, I connected with members of Item#funk crew members at Alley Kat to hear some incredible house music and exchange ideas on and off the dance floor.
Outside of the dance community, I sat down with our newest partner, the Houston area Boys & Girls club. They are expanding rapidly in the Houston area to match the demand for youth programs. In Houston, they have programs within the local clubs as well as a few schools. We spent the hour planning: seeing what the areas of need were, looking at local schedules, and figuring out next steps. After an hour, we had a game plan to start programs in the spring semester with five of their locations with two classes a week.
With all the energy and excitement around this new venture, I have to remember to step back and review the process. I would have preferred to kick off programs at the start of the winter session in January. After thinking about the onboarding teachers, meeting local site contacts and getting the word out, it made more sense to use January to prep, February to host some intro community workshops to build excitement and March today officially launch.
In a cause driven emotion and passion, it's easy to lose sight of the process -- bypassing key steps to jump straight into the work. I've made that error in the past and made it a note to check-in with myself when emotions are high. Passion is a must. It is a sign that we are doing the right work, in the right area. However, getting in a practical mindset can help make sure we are doing it at the right time and in the right way.
And so I'm back with a deep sense of optimism for the Houston community. We plan to be there for the long haul so a couple of months delay in our start are relatively minor in the long term trajectory of our goals. Each step in this organization gives us a chance to iterate and improve on what we've done. 2018 looks like it'll be a great year.