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Brooke Cagle

Contributor culture
Becoming a Story Catcher or Story Scout

Here at Wild Open, we’re all about creating a collaborative culture both within our organisation and out in the wider community. Wild Open is a collaborative network where anyone can join and participate in either creating content or helping to refine the work of others before it goes live on the Wild Open site.

What is a Story Catcher?

One of the roles that anyone can volunteer for is becoming a storycatcher. The role of a story catcher in any traditional culture is to always be available to listen to the stories of the children when they return from an adventure and to ask them questions in order to prompt them to towards deeper curiosity.

Some of our elders over at 8 Shields tell stories about the Kalahari Bushmen, the most nature connected people on earth according to many, and the fact that any given child in their commuity will have many many people they can go to at any time who will catch their stories, listen deeply and ask questions instead of giving advice. It’s a practice that leads to strong independent thinking in the storytellers and also leads the storycatcher towards mentorship and eventually eldership.

Digital Story Catching

As part of our internal culture here at Wild Open, we’ve decided to encourage peer mentorship in a number of ways in the hope that as we foster and re-awaken the skills of eldership, some day in this generation or one soon to come, we will see a return of true elders in our communities. This starts with everyone in the network being invited to log in to the collaborative area where we share our yet-to-be published articles and media, and participate in the creation of Wild Open by becoming a story catcher (or a story scout). You might also want to create content too, but to start with you can simply share ideas and give feedback.

Story Catchers Only Ask Questions

When you’re wearing your story catcher hat, your role is to be compassionate and respectful and go into deep listening. Then when you reply, you are encouraged to only ask questions in order to lead the person to a the deeper knowledge contained within themself.  Story catching is one of the fundamental skills that makes mentoring so different from teaching.  The idea is to encourage the story teller to improve their story without telling them what to do.  The result is that when the storyteller publishes their work they get the satisfaction of knowing that not a single idea came from outside themselves. It’s still completely their work.

There will be a place for collaborative storytelling too, however for now it’s great to just get started with the fact that anyone within the Wild Open network can volunteer their time as a story catcher, and if we’re ever have more paid positions for story editors we’ll be looking to our pool of story catchers before anyone else.

Becoming a story catcher is a great way to get involved and be a part of the production process, volunteer your time doing something enjoyable and meaningful for a worthy cause, preview Wild Open content before it is released, and hone your skills as a peer mentor to help you on your own path towards someday-eldership.

And you never know, some day you might feel like telling a story of your own.

What is a Story Scout?

Like story catchers, story scouts sign in to the back end of Wild Open where network members post their work, their ideas for future projects and collaborations and more. A scout is perhaps the easiest role and anyone can do it. If you think of an idea for an article, an interview, a video, a podcast or anything else, you can post it to the network so others can pick it up and create it as a piece of content. Sometimes the editorial team will even move a great idea to our list of articles that we are actively commissioning.

Story scout could also start the journey towards creating their own content by also playing the role of researcher. Providing several links to go with the story idea, to relevant information that will help the storyteller build it into something with depth is a great way to help get the story told without having to actually write it.

Credit where credit is due

If a storyteller picks up a scout’s idea, they write it receive peer mentoring from a story catcher in order to get it ready to submit to the editorial team, everyone who helped make it happen gets credited for their work.

Joining the Wild Open Network

Becoming a member of the Wild Open network and playing volunteer a role such as story catcher, researcher or story scouts is a great way to check it out and see if you’d like to be more deeply involved. It’s also a way to contribute to Wild Open and become more deeply involved in our growing community.

In the future as we gain sponsorship from ethical and sustainable businesses, we’ll always do what we can to organise discounts and freebies for our network members, so volunteering will definitely have its perks.

To join the Wild Open network simply sign up to take the next step.

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