Cohort Reflections


Drum Circles, Dogs, and Making Waves

Aaron Ferguson
Coordinator Of Distance Learning - Oxnard Union High School District

Three instant takeaways from my first session as a VCLA Cohort:

  1. I’m not great in a drum circle but you can definitely feel the love.
  2. My dog is not as well trained as the dogs at the Search Dog Foundation, but she does have the energy for the job.
  3. Cohort 29 is already making waves and building a solid foundation. We are gonna do big things!

It was a beautiful morning in Wheeler Canyon, just north of Santa Paula. We all drove up the winding road to a large campus nestled in between two ridges. The air was brisk and I have to admit there was a bit of nerves and anticipation about what the day held in store. As people began to trickle in I could tell that I was not the only one with a little bit of nerves but we were ready for the day. Leaders from around the county converged that morning to learn more about each other and how we could bring a positive impact to our communities.

We were able to ease into the day by talking about our Strength Finders with Dr. Tiffany Morse, Executive Director of the 805 Foundry. Right away our cohort started building relationships based on our common traits, strengths, and weaknesses. Our first test was quickly approaching.

The excitement started to build the moment we saw the large circle of drums. There were drums from around the world in various shapes, sizes, and colors. I settled in with one of the large bass drums. Here’s the thing, if you give a boy a mallet and drum, things are gonna happen. John Lacques, the founder of Drumtime, got us in a rhythm right away. As a group, we melted into unison and we were making some dang good music. Until John decided we should each individually lead the call and response. Oh, buddy! The jitters were back and each of us was on the spot! This is when Cohort 29 began to truly bond and shine. Everyone was so supportive of each other and we found out that we have some really talented drummers in the group.

After lunch, we continued the day with a variety of icebreaker activities until it was time to meet the dogs. Rhett Mauck, the Executive Director of the Search Dog Foundation, took us for a tour of the facility and we even got to see one of the dogs in action. The entire group came away with an appreciation for the great work being done by all at the Search Dog Foundation.

Now I have to admit, I would have liked to spend more time with the puppies but the true goal of VCLA Session #1 was to spend time with each other and to learn more about what brought us together. Without a doubt, Cohort 29 is a collection of go-getters, systems-changers, and make-it-happeners. Ventura County, get ready, because here we come.


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