Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I've contracted a serious illness :/

RAWR! I just typed a whole post out when my laptop died, and took the entire post with it :/

But yes, I was typing about a serious illness that I've recently contracted - SMUS withdrawal symptoms.


Have you ever spent every waking hour thinking about something, and when it's finally over, an emptiness fills your heart and you're left wondering what is it that's so empty about your days?

That's what I've been feeling the past 2 days. SMUS has taken on such a huge role in my life over the past 3 months that now, with the camp over, a huge gaping hole has been left in its place.

To the wonderful SMUS participants - You guys rock! I loved your cheerfulness, your determination, your creativity and strength. You were the ones who made SMUS possible, who kept that energy and joy pulsing throughout the entire camp :) And you made every single second of organizing this event worthwhile. You inspired not only me, but all the helpers who followed you guys through the streets of Stockholm as well!

So what have they done to impress me this much? Well, let's take a quick peek at what each team did:

Team 1: Bambibjörnarnas
Now this team is a fantastic, talented, creative and absolutely wonderful team! Their idea was to sell customized bookmarks, in line with the spirit of Christmas. Throughout the night, they made preparations for the challenge, and set off early on Sunday morning with 11 bookmarks already sold on their online sales! When Jenny's sms came in telling me that they sold their first bookmark, I was so excited I couldn't sit still! (I was sadly unable to follow the teams on their challenges through the streets of Stockholm, and instead stayed in Blackebergs receiving all the juicy updates from our wonderful participants and helpers) Unfortunately, although their idea was fantastic, their street sales didn't flourish as well as hoped. But they didn't give up! Instead, the talented and creative team started selling Julmust and Pepperkakor to entice families to approach them and purchase their bookmarks, and sang and danced their way along the streets to attract all the passersby in Stockholm city center! In the midst of it all, the team bonded tremendously, and got to have lots of fun :) (at least, it seemed like you guys had fun - did you?)

Team 2: 2Cool
Oh yes, their idea really was too cool! They blew the judges away with their fantastic presentation skills, where Therese and Gustav ended up finishing each other's sentences 'like an old married couple' :P And their idea was so very simple - All they did was to sell ribbons which people could stick on their Christmas gifts to add a nice finishing touch to their presents. But these ribbons had a special meaning - all of the profits from the sales of the ribbons were donated to UNICEF. Yes, you heard me right there. All. The team didn't keep a cent - They took all they earned, and sent it straight to charity. I was touched, and very much impressed by this team. By the end of the challenge, the team had sold all 20 ribbons that Therese had painstakingly spent the night sewing for the challenge, and arrived back victorious. It was a pity that their last team mate, Malin Doyon (I have to mention the surname - there were 4 Malins at the camp!), fell sick and was unable to go out for the Challenge. But she camp right back during the evening, just to support her team and watch them at the final presentation! <3>

Team 3: Pental and Team 5: Little Masters
Both these teams came up with the same idea - They saw the snow (and there was a lot of it!), grabbed their shovels and said that they were going to shovel away for the entire challenge. And boy, did they shovel! Unfortunately, Pental lacked the luck (and girls!) that Little Masters had, and was unable to 'bring in the dough' after their days exhaustion. Little Masters, on the other hand, returned to Blackebergs Gymnasium shivering from the cold, but with their heads held high in triumph! After knocking on countless doors and trying different sales tactics, they finally emerged winners when they brought in a whopping 695kr after 5 hours of non-stop, back-breaking snow shoveling. The team initially started off requesting for a mere 50 kr for their services, but later went on to adjust their pricing strategies, and sold their hard work for as much as 175kr per customer. Kudos to both teams, for the hard work and raw energy that they poured into the Challenge! :D

Team 6: The Rockers
I love this team :) Not that I love any of the other teams less, mind you, but this team inspired me greatly with their hard work, determination and perseverance. And I loved their idea! The team came up with a nifty idea of being tour guides for tourists, specializing in the Gamla Stan region. But what was so special about their idea was the personal touch that they added to this tour - They wanted to give their customers a closer look behind the touristy glitz, and instead include their personal experiences and anecdotes of Stockholm as part of the tour! Personally, I'm someone who doesn't like to see the 'touristy sights', and would rather spend more time trying to absorb the culture of the place. So their idea really appealed to me. But their passion overwhelmed me. Close to midnight on the 4th Dec, I saw Felicia and Malin Friberg hard at work on the computer terminals - They were doing research and preparing brochures for their Challenge the next day. With all the professionalism that they could muster within the short timespan, they came up with a company logo, beautiful brochures, did their research and even had time for a quick Simpsons night before they went to bed! The next day, they marched the streets of Gamla Stan umpteen times, devised new strategies and sales techniques, and persevered all the way! Unfortunately, the weather made it difficult for them to sway customers to remain in the cold and participate in their tour - they ended up joining forces with Bambibjörnarnas and selling kanelbullars at the very end. But through it all, they impressed their facilitator and the judges, and were a great inspiration to all who heard about their efforts :) Don't give up guys! I still think your idea was fantastic, and you should try again during summer! :P

All too soon, though, the Challenge was over and the tired teams returned back to Blackebergs for their final presentation. To be honest, I didn't care that much about the amount of money they brought back - I cared about the learning journey that they had just been through. To my dear SMUS participants, I sincerely hope that all of you learnt a little bit more about entrepreneurship, made new friends, had new experiences and had fun during the 36 hours that we had together. Some of you have wonderful dreams and goals - Go out and make them reality, because I know you can! I hope that this camp has touched each and every one of you in a special way, and that all of you have built wonderful memories of the time we spent together. Keep in touch, and I'm looking forward to seeing you all again at the after party! :P

Through all of this, I have much to thank. Utbildningsförvarningen, for their constant support and wonderful partnership, Södra Latins Gymnasium and Blackebergs Gymnasium for their generous hospitality and kindness, as well as Swebus and Vitamin Well, for their generous support and for keeping the participants healthy! :P And of course, the facilitators, without whom the Challenge could not possibly have come to fruition!

But I also have one special group of people whom I want to thank - Thank you, SMUSies, for putting in so much work into organizing SMUS with me. It's been a joy working with all of you, and each of you have been vital in the success of SMUS. Thank you, for tolerating my high demands, my bad tempers, my crazy requests. I know I've not been the easiest person to work with, and I truly thank you for being there, for sharing this experience with me. Thank you, for supporting and uplifting this entire team. Thank you, for filling in for me when I could barely hold myself up anymore. All of you were wonderful and amazing, each so talented in your own special way. Love you guys much <3>

Although I've been an extreme critique of Christianity on this blog, I still have Him to thank for SMUS. Perhaps, if I were a better Christian, I would have been a better leader. Perhaps, if I was truly God's child, this event would have been a resounding success - far better than what I could ever imagine. But I still could not have done without His part in this event. Thank You, for putting wonderful people to surround, support and inspire me. All this was not mine to have or to give - I know that I'm worthless. But thank You, for making all this possible.

Pictures up when they are finally sorted! :P

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