Celebrate 2019 and look forward to 2020

by | Jan 2, 2020

It’s hard to believe that it’s a few days into 2020 already, and we are now in a new decade. Although the seed was planted in 2009, Firewalking International did not exist 10 years ago. A lot has changed at Firewalk HQ over the last 10 years and there is more change to come. In this blog post I want to celebrate 2019 and give thanks to all who made it what it is. I will also share some of the exciting plans and developments for 2020 – it’s going to be a great year.

The very beginning

Before we look at the last year, let’s have a quick look at how it all started.

Firewalking International was founded by Stephen Brown. Since 1996, Stephen had professionally worked with people helping them develop as individuals, teams and communities. His favourite way of doing this was utilising outdoor activities and the natural environment. He favoured experiential learning and deeply believed that people were more capable than they knew, and that the outdoors was a great place for realising their potential.

When Stephen was introduced to Firewalking he knew that this was another way of working with people outside the comfort zone. Firewalking, and the other High Impact Empowerment Activities that Stephen trained in, captured his imagination. He was convinced that if he could present these experiences to people in the right way, it would take his work and their development to a higher level.

He just didn’t realise how high that level would be. Nor did he realise how big an impact it would have on the lives, businesses and communities he would work with. 2019 is a testament to that!

You can read more about the Firewalking International story here – https://firewalkhq.com/firewalking-international-story

Now, let’s celebrate 2019 and look forward to 2020

“Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal.”
Earl Nightingale

Personal Development

Personal Development is at the core of our work. It comes part and parcel of every event we deliver, whether it’s a Team Development Day, High Performance and Leadership Program, or one of our public courses or experiences.

Our annual retreat to the Sahara Desert, back in March 2019, is one such experience. It was another opportunity for people to slow down and strengthen their connection with themselves and others. We also launched a one-day course called Catapult.

Looking forward to 2020, we are back in the Sahara in March. This time, the Rejuvenate Retreat is aimed at those who work in the helping professions and includes 46 CPD hours.

We are planning to deliver more Firewalking experiences that individuals can book on to and have scheduled another Catapult Day for February.

Team Development

We have been fortunate to work with many progressive and disruptive companies in 2019. This has seen us delivering events to Teams ranging from 8 people to 850 people. We have travelled extensively throughout Ireland and the UK and have had a few trips to the USA, Bali and Italy.

It must be said, delivering a Firewalk for 850 was a highlight. Behind the scenes, there was 6 months of preparation and with a Firewalk Team of 30 people, we delivered a world class event for a world class company.

We have also turned around events in Italy and the USA with 4 weeks’ notice or less. We loved the challenge and excitement of them.

Right now, we would like to thank every person and business that has put their trust in us. Delivering events for businesses is a lot of fun, requires lots of dedication and focus, and something we will be doing even more of in 2020.

Partnerships

Obviously, what we do and how we do it, is quite unique. So, it stands to reason that different training organisations want to work with us. We are proud of our ability to become part of their Team, and how we help them help their clients.

2019 has seen us developing new partnerships and strengthening older ones. We are proud to be working alongside some of the most prestigious universities in Ireland and the UK, as well some of the most dynamic and out of the box training organisations in the world.

Through these partnerships, we worked with International Sports Teams, MBA students, CEO’s of multibillion companies, SME’s and Mindful Leader programs.

Looking ahead, we aim to continue nurturing these relationships and establish new ones in the USA, India, and Indonesia.

Charity Firewalks

Charity Firewalks have been the back bone of Firewalking International, especially for Firewalking Ireland and Firewalking England. In 2019 we delivered events throughout the UK and Ireland with new and returning customers. These fundraising events raise thousands for the charities and touch the lives of the participants, their families and communities, as well as the beneficiaries of the charities.

In 2020, we are going to double up on our efforts to show charities that this is a great way to raise money, gain support and build communities. Our goal for 2020 is to help charities raise £100,000.

Firewalk Instructor Training

In partnership with Heartfields Singapore, we delivered the first ever Firewalk Instructor Training course in Bali. We had participants from Bali, Singapore, Jakarta, Nepal, India and the Philippines. This was an incredible experience for us and the participants. It was a pleasure and honour to work alongside Kuna and Sherly from Heartfields again, and we are looking forward to being back in June 2020.

The Firewalk Instructor Training course in Ireland continues to grow from strength to strength, drawing participants from around the world. To date, we have trained people from over 20 different countries and this looks to be increasing to 30 in 2020.

It’s the best professional and personal development that we offer and one that we enjoy delivering. There is a great sense of pride and achievement knowing that people will travel across the globe to train with us. It’s also very humbling and inspires us to keep making the course better.

In 2020, there will be two Firewalk Instructor Training courses in Ireland, one in Bali and one in India.

Sweat Lodges

Unlike previous years, we did not offer many Sweat Lodges in 2019. There were so many other events and courses happening it was quite difficult to find the time. We will be scheduling some in the coming weeks that will be spread throughout the year. Check out our events page to keep UpToDate or ask to be added to our mail list.

What we did do though was run a Sweat Lodge Keeper Training weekend. We had participants from four different countries. The next one will be in 2021 unless we have requests before then.

Setting Standards

Setting standards has always been important for us. So, in 2019, James worked diligently with the CPD Standards Office to get some of our courses accredited. Hard work pays off!

Firewalking International is now the only Firewalking company on the planet that can offer CPD (Continuous Professional Development) hours. The Rejuvenate Retreat will earn 46 hours for those who participate, and the Firewalk Instructor Training Course offers 45.5 hours.

This is fantastic for the participants, and we are proud to have completed this rigorous external assessment.

Thank you, James, for all you hard work.

There is more to come and 2020 will see us raising the bar!

Role Model

Being a role model for the people we train as Firewalk Instructors is just as important as setting standards. We hope that this is exampled during our training courses and continuous support.

It is a joy and honour to see how people incorporate our training into their personal and work lives.

Going into 2020, we have some plans afoot that will take this responsibility to a new level. These plans will support our work, the people we train, the wider Firewalk community and the planet.

Continuous Learning

We are big fans of life long learning. So, 2019 saw James starting his second year in a degree in Psychology. Stephen has been studying Compassionate Inquiry with Dr Gabor Mate and continues with his degree in counselling.

Lots of reading and writing for both, and some of their new knowledge has already integrated into their work at Firewalking International.

Gratitude

We would not be where we are today, and achieved all that we have, if it were not for the hard work of our team and associates. We are grateful for all of you and all that you have given to the people you have worked with.

Our families and friends also deserve mention for their ongoing support. It can’t be easy for our partners and families when we are away working for a week in other countries or on our long courses. Thank you for your continued support.

And of course, without you, our customers, there would be no Firewalking International. We hope that you gain value from using our services and joining our courses. However, we are grateful for the work and income that you provide. Thank you so much for everything so far.

Without wanting to sound too cliché… We are a small company with big ambitions, and we will always remain small. The ripple effect of our work is where we see the growth.

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