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Friday, May 22, 2009

The Ninjas Are Coming!

I'm amused by people's quizzical looks when I tell them, "The Ninjas are coming!"

But so they are. In fact, I can't think of a better way to share Lifeplan's potential than via a cadre of highly trained, loyal, skillful, passionate, graceful, committed, insightful, artful - but I'll let John Hoskins tell you himself.

John is Lifeplan's Chief Learning Architect, honorable co-founder, resident knowledge and training genius, passionate defender of young people - and the person who brought the Ninjas to life:

"Young people usually know things that we greybeards don't. Like why the Lifeplan trainers are called Ninjas.

Ninja refers to the highest skill possible. A fluidity of movement and action. An unquestioned loyalty. A passion that's almost palpable. And, okay, something pretty awesome.

All of that is why Ninja is the perfect name for the people who've come together - using their own precious time and resources - been trained, and now comprise the tribe of master trainers spreading back to their home bases around the country. These Ninjas are taking the Lifeplan vision and process back with them. And more Ninjas are waiting in the wings.

Who ARE these people?

First, we had to find them. I began by asking myself which people - from every point in my life - I thought could become passionate and committed to Lifeplan. I reached out to 50+ friends and colleagues from having worked in the training industry for 30 years. I invited them to our first Lifeplan training session at Disneyland in Anaheim, CA. (Disneyland has been a longtime and generous supporter of Lifeplan's parent foundation.)

I was amazed when more than 50 people showed up, having spent their own resources to fly and drive from all over the country to Disneyland! These were training professionals, mentoring experts, colleagues, friends, spouses - people of all sizes and shapes from all kinds of disciplines. All passionate about helping kids. All willing to go the extra mile to get others engaged in the training aspect of Lifeplan.

Frankly, I was awe-struck. I thought, "When in your life do you invite people you know to an event and they ALL show up?" Even more importantly, there are another 30 people standing by, waiting for the next Ninja training to begin.

So then we had to train them. The group spent two days learning about Lifeplan - its content, flow, unique opportunities, thrilling technology, tips for users, tools for trainers and facilitators. Armed with this knowledge, the group became our first Black Belt master trainers. They now had the information and tools to take the Lifeplan message back to their area of the county, and work to spread Lifeplan to as many kids as possible.

This Spring, Ninjas have been training more than 1,000 young people in school settings, mentor programs, churches, sports groups, urban and suburban areas, big towns and small communities. Then they'll teach other trainers and facilitators.
There are Ninjas meeting today with chairmen of the board and also cops on the ghetto beat. Everywhere, across diverse America, Ninjas have a story to tell. Next, a second wave of Ninjas will earn their Black Belts and fan out across America.

Why does this matter? Well, we've mobilized an entire tribe of Lifeplan experts - Ninjas - who are highly trained, passionate about helping kids, and committed to the idea of making the world a better place through Lifeplan. Their passion, their quest, is to help kids not just survive, but thrive.

And just imagine: if every Ninja trains 100 facilitators, and so on and so on, we're going to reach 10 million kids in 10 years. That's our goal, what fuels our passion. It's the reason why the Lifeplan phenomenon is literally pulsing with momentum right now. And that's a pretty awesome feeling."

All the best,


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