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“This isn’t normal”: A recap of Zeal hui

Spending the last few days at Zeal hui, sharing food, laughter, stories (and sometimes tears) with Zeal workers from around the country, I remember thinking to myself, “this isn’t normal.” 

In all my years of employment through office jobs and factory work, I’ve never encountered the feeling of family that permeates every part of the Zeal culture. In a sense, nothing we do is ‘normal’ – but in the best way.

Zeal hui is a major event on our calendar. Twice a year, staff from all around the country come together for a few days to share in the journey we call youth work. Workshops throughout the weekend focus on our core values and various projects on the burner, while the rest of the time is open to connect with one another.

“I believe Zeal’s greatest asset is its people,” says Matt Grey, Zeal’s resident overlord. “National Hui is a time for staff to get away, reflect and be refreshed while being inspired by all the mahi each person is doing around the country.”

Our main goal this hui was to cement our values – the key components that underpin everything we do. Through discussion, we identified key traits in one another and reflected on our approach to youth work and what we want to achieve.

“It was my first Hui,” says Christine, Live For Tomorrow‘s Digital Campaigner. “Having been at Zeal for only two months, I found it really welcoming and energising. I was hella nervous before going down (you know, fear of the unknown), but was pleasantly surprised with how easy the Zeal National team made all the sessions and ran the whole few days.”

“Everyone that works at Zeal is just so lovely, and I feel a personal connection and investment to them, their stories, and now their journeys moving forward. On the final night, I remember sitting around the room, everyone listening intently to their peers, and as these beautiful, genuine stories were coming out, seeing the room filled with Zeal hoodies made me so lucky to be where I am. I am so lucky to be part of what Zeal does.” 

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