Mr. Les Schmidt was a guest for our elementary school’s annual Twilight Staff Retreat. The retreat is centered around giving 40 staff (Teachers, Custodians, Early Childhood Educators, Educational Assistants, Youth Worker, Special Education Teacher, Secretaries) an opportunity to rekindle those special reasons we need to remind ourselves of why we began working with young people, while at the same time remembering how important it is to support ourselves and each other in this amazing, but equally challenging vocation. For a few hours, we gathered to talk, pray, laugh and eat together while engaging in some real conversation of our needs, our strengths, our hopes and our fears. Mr. Schmidt was so very well received by our eclectic group, despite the few hours he spent with our staff that evening. We know this by the personal connections he made with several of them, even after the evening concluded. Staff feedback to our organizing team revealed he was honest, real, humorous, engaging, reflective and igniting of a renewed sense of hope and competence for all, in school AND in life. We appreciated how Les met with us weeks prior to the event – to understand our staff, know our challenges and learn what goals we were pursuing as a team. Les followed through on this authentic plan, balancing sharing his own personal life experiences as a son, a parent, and as a teacher in education, with individual/pair and group sharing; allowing people to make sense of and build connections with their own “lived” experience. Whether it was about taking care of our own mental health or how we can gain wisdom from all of our encounters with students - Les was optimistic, hopeful and emanated a sense of gratitude and belief in all people; in all of our awkwardness, brokenness and complexity. We laughed, we cried, we remembered to step back, breathe and go back in again! His sense of vulnerability rubbed off on our own staff and no doubt, gave us the very courage, affirmation and belief we needed from that evening to continue to ignite the light in others. Thank you Mr. Energy!"
- Rob Della Croce (Principal and "Lead Learner")
St. Paul Catholic Elementary School
"I have known Les Schmidt for over thirty years as a teacher ,coach and friend. I have discovered his sincere empathy to work with parents, students, and co-workers. As an inspirational presenter he speaks from life experience and his heart, he will touch yours. His positive energy on life is demonstrated through his love of teaching , love of people and his philosophy " Life is a Celebration " He encourages independence and inner strength combined with an inner and outer support group... Les tells a story of hope and success through adversity and encourages others to create a personal wellness action plan when dealing with mental health challenges."
- Will Lenssen