Harvesting 2012


Harvesting is a process of event with as diverse connotations as there are social, cultural, religious, traditional and organisational set ups. One thing common to all circumstances of harvesting is the presupposition to have sown in the past. Bringing in the fruits of labour past gives deep happiness and reasons to rejoice. Suffix is to say that the very first attitude to harvesting is appreciation. 

In an organisational form like our SOS Children’s Villages, Harvesting is a storytelling frame for sharing and transferring of knowledge, experiences and good practices of what is working, what is energizing and enlivening. That is to say, through storytelling questionings of appreciative nature are asked thereby initiating change and action.

Harvesting 2012 in the Hermann Gmeiner Academy is another of such enriching moments of journey whereby the storytelling method of sharing, lubricated by the Appreciative Inquiry, is instrumentalised and experienced. This was the reality of life from the 11th to the 19th of November 2012 as 9 Females and 9 males, all SOS Co-Workers from various continents (Africa, Asia, Europe, South America) came to Innsbruck, in the Hermann Gmeiner Academy to enter a process of appreciative telling about situations when they individually, were at their very best in mutual endeavour with colleagues, SOS-partners and friends united in heart and brain in “One Movement” for the good of “our” SOS-Children and Youth.

These SOS Co-Workers came together, re-collected and gathered the fruits of almost 250 years of productive experiences which over the years have enriched and still continue to enhance further SOS-Children’s Villages activities towards giving each needy child a loving home. In very fascinating series of workshops, all the participants with the Hermann Gmeiner Academy harvesting team, journeyed into discovering, dreaming, designing and destining spheres of active imagining and action.

They passionately discovered, meticulously clustered and heartily shared their diverse treasures of working experiences from different SOS-World.

photo: Stefan Lechner Photography

Yes from all over the world, they came to Innsbruck, in the Hermann Gmeiner Academy, and in an atmosphere of lived SOS children’s values, they discovered, dreamed, destined and delivered. Similar to the opening up of our windows in the morning to let in fresh air and spirit of relish, the harvesting participants explored the roots of the origins of worldwide SOS Children’s Villages from the old city of Innsbruck to Imst. This experience, unique in itself for its particular meaning and significance, inspired them to open up their hearts and mind more and more to sharing, inspiring and igniting one another and others.

In a wonderful go round of a World CafĂ©, this spirit of sharing and igniting reached its apex with the honourable ex-president Helmut Kutin giving a hilarious round of approbation and motivation for more energy and dedication for the world SOS-Mission. Almost like an immediate fulfilling prophesy, the words and acclamations of Mr. Kutin found a rehearsal in an SOS-Multicultural cooking and dinning together of all harvesting participants with the members of the SOS Senior Management Team (SMT). Teams ihre Bestätigung.

Harvesting is wonderful. It works. It transforms. It ignites. We are happy to have been here, said all the participants unanimously. Here are some excerpts:

“It was a wonderful experience in life to be a participant of harvesting. I have a feeling that I received the greatest appreciation and reward of my work in my life. To meet so many great friends from different parts of the world is not common. I am highly influenced by the intimacy and trust which developed naturally among us within the nine days which I am sure will last forever. I remember all your faces, and your beautiful smiles, and the honesty, determination and commitment in your faces with great delight. This is just tremendous and I am overwhelmed. With great delight I shared my harvesting experience with all children, mothers and coworkers”.

For me, “Harvesting is all about storytelling recalling the great moments of flow in your life and spreading the fire of positive energy to make a loving home for every child”. The term ‘positive energy’ here refers to “see what is working well and relate it to create the future”. 

"Dear all, Although I'm already deeply in the job after returning home, I am still full of impressions and beautiful memories of the past 9 days of work and spending time with you. With joy I share my Harvesting experience with my colleagues at work. …” and "Once more, many thanks for this amazing seminar. I have been given a great gift, I am motivated, feel light and breezy, full of joy and back to my workplace with an open heart and brain-twisted. I miss you all and try to pass the 'flow' to my colleagues as much as possible". 

Information material

Read all about Harvesting Workshop 2012 and the inspiring stories of Harvesting participants:



For more information please contact:

Mag. Irene Gleirscher
+43 512 3316 5671