At every weekly Local Matters staff meeting, time is set aside to focus on two foundational components of the organization’s culture: gratitude, and mission moments.
Gratitude is a time to acknowledge the kindness or contributions of another staff member, and it is shared aloud so that the individual can be recognized by the entire team. Not only is it heartwarming to be on the receiving end of this gratitude, but sharing it with the group and seeing a colleague smile is every bit as gratifying. It’s uplifting to be in an organization where kindness is so intentional, and where everyone pauses to stop and smell the roses together. These mere minutes spent per week on gratitude seem to really pay off, as everyone in the organization is unquestionably sincere and warm.
Mission moments are the grounding times that we are reminded why we put so much of ourselves into our challenging work. These are those precious moments where our impact can be felt, our voices feel heard, and we can see lives changing for the better. Hearing these moments being shared is so inspiring, especially since my time outside of the office is fairly limited in comparison to the majority of our staff. However, this past week I spent the Thursday and Friday as a “guest chef” at day camp cookoff challenges! We had three classes of approximately 25 kids, ranging from late elementary school to early high school. The kids were split into 4 groups and tasked with creating a taco-themed dish in only 15 minutes, with roasted sweet potatoes as the “secret” required ingredient of the dish.
As the challenge begins, any order is thrown out the window, and the best we can hope for is organized chaos. Food flies around the room, combinations of spices and sauces that are…unsavory (in my opinion) are thrown together, and creativity catches on like wildfire. One of my teams decided that red pepper flakes are the perfect garnish for pieces of fruit, and another nearly tried to douse a crunchy taco in red wine vinegar. With some strong suggestion from myself and other staff, one team made a sauce from Greek yogurt, which is a healthier alternative to sour cream. After the challenge is done, groups taste their creations, often trying new foods or new styles of cooking in the process. One of the girls on my team exclaimed to me that she loved the Greek yogurt sauce, and that she wanted the recipe to go home and make it with her family!! She had never tried this alternative, but by being a part of our programming, she gained knowledge that might benefit herself and her family in the future, even by just a little bit. Talk about a mission moment – I was beyond giddy when I handed her the hand-written recipe card.
Here’s the recipe to try at home – feel free to add or subtract ingredients, and play around with the proportions:
- Greek yogurt, plain
- Honey/agave/maple syrup, whichever you prefer
- Lime juice
- Minced garlic
- Pinch of salt
- if you’re feeling fancy: sauce from a can of a Chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce
Use this for tacos, burritos, or to dip your favorite veggies in. Enjoy!