It was an exciting opportunity for Angel.
Angel had been working as a DSW or disability support worker for just over 8 months. In her job she worked in a residence supporting 3 individuals, helping them get through their daily routine. This was Angel’s first full time job since completing a course as a nursing assistant from a local college.
The exciting opportunity for Angel was that 10 supported individuals from her agency, along with many of their support workers were going to a summer camp for 3 days. The agency had received special funding for this outing and everyone was excited.
The bus picked them all up and drove them to the summer camp. The camp was clean and safe, the staff were friendly, the food good and the whole place was just what it was advertised to be.
But things started to go downhill for Angel within a few hours of arriving.
After settling everyone in, the senior manager announced she was staying at a room in town, 15 minutes away and would be checking in from time to time. As soon as the senior manager left, many of her co-workers, started acting as if they were on holidays too, spending much of their time at the special “smoking table” set aside from the camp. The staff at the camp tried to fill the gap, which was very helpful, but they were not trained support workers and Angel found herself suddenly having to guide them while also helping her individuals. Angel did not at all like what she was seeing happen.
When the senior manager did show up to check on things she came with her own agenda. She immediately started issuing orders and criticising individuals for shortcomings in what she saw, including some serious critique of Angel, who felt she was doing her best and was already very frustrated.
Angel is now actively looking for a new job. She went from engaged and interested in what the agency stood for and interested in pursuing the field further to exactly the opposite.
When I asked Angel what the manager should have done differently her answers were simple:
Thanks for sharing Angel. Some of us will learn from this.
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Every time we acknowledge this truth, we have an invitation and an opportunity to reflect on the wrongs of the past, what we do in the present, and what we can do to continually honour the people whose lands and water we benefit from today.
This statement only acts as a first step in honouring the land we reside on and its peoples, and must be paired with education, understanding and informed action.