It was a couple of weeks ago when I first saw the nurture1213 hashtag, a chance to list 12 highlights from 2012 and 13 hopes for 2013. I liked the sound of this, an opportunity to reflect, and time to plan, and it involved lists, not one but two, and I’m a big fan of lists.
So, here we go, my highlights from 2012…
1) Family and friend time
I love my job, I really do, but life is about the ones you love and I have been lucky enough to enjoy some happy times with the ones I love this year, date nights with Mr B, play time with the 5yo, weekends with the MK Bens, shoppings trips with my mum, nights out with mates, friends for dinner and a sleep over, visits to relatives, they have all been special, relaxing, easy, fun, and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
2) Starting school
In September my beautiful son started school. We handed him over for at least the next 11 years. In preschool we knew what he did on an daily basis (a positive of the EYFS), but now, we haven’t got a clue. We try. At the end of each day, when he’s home and tired, we say to him ‘tell me 3 things that happened at school today’. It ranges from what he had for lunch, who his mates are that day, to visits from God, who’s called Rob and lives in the village church.
3) Weekly Blog Club
I’d seen the tweets about weekly blog club at the beginning of the year, and thought it was such a good kick to get me doing something I’d been thinking of for a while. I have to say it is one of the best things I have been involved in during 2012. It offers so much, a sense of community, a support network, an ideas generator, information, friendship. It wouldn’t have made it to its one year anniversary without Janet Davis at the helm, so thank you Janet for all you do. I’m hoping to help out more in 2013.
4) Safeguarding Children
At work, I have a lot to do with early help intervention for families, to help prevent children and young people meeting the threshold for safeguarding and child protection. We support families while they are often willing to still engage, when they don’t feel threatened, and when there isn’t yet the need for specialist (read expensive) services. This year the work of my service and team has felt more recognised and is now integrated into the early help offer. This is good, it’s more cost effective but ultimately better for families and children.
I was lucky enough to be able to attend UKGovCamp in January. It was a two day unconference in fancy London Town exploring how digital, technology, design and change can impact on work with communities, with an emphasis on local government but not exclusive. I think at the time I was one of very few representing frontline services. I have a feeling (hope) it might be different this year. (I have had to returned my UKGovCamp13 ticket this year, I got my work life balance tipping in the wrong direction).
Another camp I was lucky enough to attend was LocalGovCamp in that fancy Birmingham Town. I had attended the year before, and basically not uttered a word, sat in awe for much of the day, and left a bit dazed and confused at the end. It’s year was different, I actually spoke, contributed, said hello to people, mingled, networked. Who knows, at this rate I might actually get round to pitching as session at 2013!
7) The Van
Myself and Mr B used to own old VW camper vans, we had a high top called Bella, and two soft tops, Wella and Sweet Pea. We travelled from coast to coast in them, travelled round France in them, took them to VW campervan shows, and had the best of times in them. We were absolutely disgusted with ourselves when we sold our vdubbers and brought… A caravan! To be fair, the campers didn’t really offer the space the 5yo demanded, and on wet holidays in Wales, there is only so much entertaining in a camper you can do before thinking, ‘sod it, let’s go home’. This year we took the van (can’t bring myself to say caravan too often), to a field in Wales near Aberdovey, and kept it there all season. Typically the year we buy a van, it is one of the wettest summers since the world began, but we still managed to have some fun times there.
8) The Beach
Despite it being one of the wettest summers (years) since they announced the hosepipe ban, we actually managed to spend many a sunny (blustery) weekend on the beach. Happy days of paddling, beach combing, barbecues, ice creams. Days like these are where memories are made.
From the opening ceremony, I was crying, and don’t think I stopped until the last gong was presented and the Paralympics closed a spectacular show of achievement. I watched in awe as people realised their lifetime dreams, and wanted to hug those who may have been disappointed but who should still be proud. We (not the royal we, i did nout) did well this summer, if only the positivity could be bottled, remembered, drawn on again when we go to take an easy pop at something.
10) Social media at work
An aspect of work I’ve really enjoyed this year is how we’ve been using social media. We’ve been a bit if a trailblazer for frontline services in our local gov for using social media. We’ve had some successes too, but I need to make sure I schedule in time for it, plan, review, keep generating ideas, surrounding myself we like minded people to keep me motivated. The pay off doesn’t come easy, it’s effort for outcomes.
In May I planned and ran my first social media campaign. It was a week long celebration for the service, we live tweeted, did a live Q&A on Facebook, launched on Google+ and launched a blog. It was an exhausting week, but so much fun. I’ve had my next campaign idea in the bag for months, but no time to plan or implement. This must change.
12) Den Building
The 5yos birthday this year was great (the year before he was in hospital, so anything was going to be better than that) He’d just started school. His year intake for the village school was only 7 children – actually it was 7 boys, no girls. So we planned a birthday party where the boys could make friends, be outside, build bens and run free. We took them all (and a few more) to the local national trust place for some den building fun. I packed up a picnic and of course some cake and off we headed. The boys loved it, climbing trees, building dens, gathering wood, looking at the deer and just running, having fun. Happy days.
These are just some of my highlights from 2012, there have certainly been some lows, but on the whole a very positive year. My hopes for 2013 will be in part 2.
31st December 2012