My name is Christina Douglas, and in 2017 I was privileged to be a participant in the BUV’s social enterprise training program. It was really helpful for me to receive insights on how to be missional in my community, and at the same time, I learnt skills to develop a business with a Kingdom vision.
My project idea was to build an online community that teaches social enterprise skills to teenagers. As an experienced teacher, I am passionate about helping, supporting and encouraging teenagers discover and apply their unique talents, gifts or hobbies while making an impact in their local community, with other like-minded teenagers.
Our Little Caravan (OLC) has been on a journey. From a beginning in 2014, as a birthday party business set in a vintage caravan – into a community social enterprise in 2015-2017 set in a craft collective, brick and mortar store in the south eastern suburbs of Melbourne, and now into an online community designed to help develop social enterprise skills in teenagers.
One of the social enterprises we helped set up through our online Academy programme was called: Butterfly Effect. A group of Year 10 boys decided to sell journals, specifically designed with teenage boys in mind, to encourage them to write down their problems and look at them from a different perspective.
Kyle Patocks, Founder of Butterfly Effect said “We wanted to create a movement through our brand to remove the stigma surrounding mental health. There were a lot of challenges which we faced when making this business. One of these challenges was contacting Beyond Blue who was our Not-For-Profit (NFP) impact partner. As I am not a very confident person, writing and sending of an email to our NFP was a challenge – but with the support of OLC, I did it! And now we can support this wonderful organisation with our products.”
At OLC, we’ve kept the caravan, as it is a wonderful metaphor for life. The caravan moves along steadily with occasional detours. These detours represent the challenges and fears that we must overcome. For some, these challenges take longer to overcome, and for others challenges are opportunities. The caravan often stops to unload and reload, or pivot and change direction, just as we need to do in life. The caravan is full of opportunities from which we can learn.
If you’d like to learn more about how you can be involved with your teenager or youth-group, you can visit www.ourlittlecaravan.com.au