Week of Exhibition

Monday morning the heroes walked into, what they called,

“an absolute disaster.”

It was evident to the heroes that the week prior they didn’t hold themselves to a high standard when it came to studio maintenance. Every morning, before launch, the heroes are asked by the guide if they are in a world class studio. Like many mornings, the heroes acknowledged they needed to get to work to have a clean and workable space.

One hour later….

There were some arguments, hero bucks being taken and many heroes who felt down. Quickly, the morning launch turned into a reflection period.

The guide asked the heroes one question that opened up a can of worms,

“Why aren’t we holding ourselves to a high standard?”

The heroes felt like they need to have a system in place when it comes to taking care of studio supplies. They suggested a motivational game. They also wanted to implement a simplified system into studio maintenance that can keep them accountable and make their jobs more manageable.

The heroes took it hard, knowing they didn’t give their best. The guide reminded them that, there will be hard moments, it is how you bounce back that matters. The rest of Monday looked a whole lot cleaner, a whole lot kinder and a whole lot more intentional. It is always a great reminder that just because something starts off a little rocky, it doesn’t mean the entire day will be off balance too.

Seeing the Finish Line

Schedules, layouts, competitions… Exhibition was in the air!

The heroes had 2 1/2 more days until it was showtime. The stakes and emotions were running high.

Some heroes had to start over on their water wheels. Others realized theirs only turned a few times. On top of water wheel stress, they were in the midst of planning. Quickly and efficiently hands shot up to take control. The heroes who were finished with WW and Quest knew it had to be on them to take leadership roles.

They voted on duties, voted on competitions and set their sights on the prize. By 2:15 everyone gathered back around the rug to reflect. The heroes had finished the layout, schedule, MC script, Greeters roles and were almost done with the voting slips.

They were so proud about the work they put in and even exclaimed that they were going to put in hours at home to make sure they were prepared.

The heroes hold themselves to a high standard when it comes to presenting their projects. They have put many hours, sweat and occasional tears into wearing the hats of inventors and innovators. Those hats are not easy. As discussed in quest launch, some inventors spend their entire lives barely making traction. However, the time they do spend opens up a whole new area of study or expertise for the inventors who follow.

The most rewarding moment was to see the look of pride on their faces when they realized they were one step closer to exhibition readiness.


It was time for exhibition! The heroes spent the last four weeks feeling like true inventors and innovators. It was time to not only showcase their work, but their honesty.

They spent the afternoon prepping for the final moments. Small changes had to be made like Writer’s Workshop placement and voting slips. However, the heroes, in true hero fashion, powered through.

They opened up the doors and in walked their families and friends. The heroes wanted to set up exhibition in two parts. First they welcomed the families and then told them how to vote for each quest project. They toured their family and friends around, showing them their final projects. Some water wheels turned, some didn’t. Others could hold more weight and some were innovated with more than one wheel. Altogether, the heroes created 32 water wheels prior to exhibition.

Over the course of four weeks, they spent time learning, extensively from their failures and successes. Minutes before quest started, two water wheels met their demise. This hysterical moment was brought back together to reflect. The heroes were asked to take a few deep breaths and the question was pushed,

“What matters most? Everything you have learned on this journey, or these water wheels?”

After eyes dried, the heroes jumped back into action. Doing what they could to have something to show.

This is what it’s all about. Staring failure right in the face and challenging it, even in the final moments.

The second part of exhibition was Writer’s Workshop. The heroes had been working on their personal stories and it was an area of excitement. They relayed how much they enjoyed writing and how they were so proud of their progress. They excitedly walked people around and showcased their work. Throughout Writer’s Workshop the heroes heard personal accounts from writers. Their process, their fears and even their failures. They read some of the world’s most famous pieces and would exclaim,

“In five years I can write as good as that! Probably better.”

Writing is never easy, it can be an extremely difficult thing to do, especially if there is no purpose behind it. Since the heroes had a purpose, a reason to share their personal stories. They were able to light a fire.

Exhibition is a time of excitement, the cherry on top of all of the hard work. However, it could be best described as a reflection of their entire experience. Friday, the heroes were able to reflect and gain more insight into their past session.


The reflection of exhibition was kicked off bright and early. Heroes are always 100% honest and introspective during these moments of clarity.

Their highlights were as follows,

  1. Writer’s Workshop
  2. Showing their parents their hard work
  3. Planning
  4. Winning prizes
  5. Pulling off last minute projects when faced with adversity.

They were also excited to share what they would do differently. When it came to planning, they want to space it out so they have more time. They would also prefer to have bigger sections, so people are able to have more space.

Their biggest reflection was in terms of quest. They thought it would have made a greater impact if they would have kept all of their designs. They really wanted people to see how they had progressed. There was so much done before the final project that they wished they would have been able to showcase.

The heroes got to end their day receiving their session badges which they attain in core skills, Writer’s Workshop and Quest. The guides were able to share what they see in each hero that brings happiness and strength to the studio. They then called on another hero to get a character call out.

The family that the heroes have created in the studio is unable to be matched. They have a true bond only they can understand that is based on trust, friendship and support.

In the afternoon they ended with a movie and their personal favorite, character call outs. The heroes will now have a week to reset, spend time with their families and come back refreshed and recharged for session 3!


The past month was a whirlwind. The guides were constantly reminded that there is so much beauty in failure. Having front row seats to those moments were powerful. The heroes and guides were able to watch the ups and downs of working through group projects, failing water wheels and last minute hiccups. It is so challenging to be on a Hero’s Journey. They are facing real world problems and learning to navigate through every process. As guides and as adults, it is an instinct to want to step in and help. However, trusting the heroes to pick themselves back up, to go home and make their fifth water wheel. To write a new story because they lost their first one. To cheer each other on even when they have nothing to show. That is the Hero’s Journey and that is what they will take with them twenty years down the road.

Elementary blog for Heroes Academy, an innovative school in Boise, Idaho. We inspire children to find a calling and change the world → http://heroesacademy.org