Explore Class 3 Final Reflection & Graduation

July 8, 2024

VL’s Explore Class 3 has successfully completed its journey! In mid-June, the cohort gathered for a day of final reflections and a celebratory dinner. This special occasion offered an opportunity for participants to creatively reflect on their shared experiences and strengthen their connections.

Reflecting on the Explore experiences is a key part of the program. Bringing the participants together and guiding them through activities that will prompt discussions about what they took away from their experiences ensures that we have a clear direction for how to apply the lessons we’ve learned.

The Reflection day is spent shifting into a creative headspace through a zine (self-published mini magazines) making activity led by the folks at Wasted Ink Zine Distro in Downtown Phoenix. We took time to deep dive into how the three themes of the program showed up throughout our travels – Adaptability, Equity, and Interconnectedness. We asked the below questions in hopes of coalescing the vast information into one comprehensive overview of the personal impact made:

  • In what way has my worldview expanded and my perspective shifted?
  • In what ways has my awareness of inequities in Arizona changed?
  • How does the interconnectedness of Arizona impact my sense of shared responsibility as a leader?

We also took the time to reflect on how participants see a change within themselves after their Explore experience, and to consider how they might change how they operate in the future as a result of this shift. The group shared their personal insights and discussed the big impactful moments they had throughout the program.

The day concluded with the graduation dinner, where Valley Leadership staff, sponsors, program participants, and their loved ones came together to celebrate a successful program. As photos of their Explore journey scrolled in the background, participants shared stories and a sense of accomplishment. Dave Brown, VL’s CEO, Jennifer Gastelum, Explore Program Manager, and Natalka Zeleny, Explore Logistics Manager, each shared their appreciation and sentiments about the completion of the third program year. The evening wrapped up with each participant sharing a short speech around “Connection,” with an overwhelming message of genuine bonds built within the group and with leaders across the state. 

With the third Explore year behind us, we look forward to continuing to support alumni in their efforts as leaders, and to continue to foster relationships across the state to strengthen our efforts to better Arizona. 

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