The Dan Eldon Place Of Tomorrow (The DEPOT) In his short life, Dan inspired and continues to inspire individuals and organizations around the world. One such organization is The DEPOT, The Dan Eldon Place Of Tomorrow, founded by Mike Eldon, Dan’s father.

The Dan Eldon Place Of Tomorrow (The DEPOT) In his short life, Dan inspired and continues to inspire individuals and organizations around the world. One such organization is The DEPOT, The Dan Eldon Place Of Tomorrow, founded by Mike Eldon, Dan’s father.

What’s The DEPOT? The DEPOT is a place of happiness, enjoyment and fulfillment. It’s a place of dreams, a place where people come drooping from life’s pressures and problems and leave knowing that everything good is possible.

It is a place where people test and stretch themselves, where they build self-reliance and self-confidence by taking part in outdoor teambuilding, leadership and creativity activities.

The DEPOT is a place that prepares people for the rigors of the survival-of-the-fittest 21st century. It’s a place of tomorrow. It’s Dan Eldon’s Place Of Tomorrow.

Who was Dan Eldon? Dan was a wonderful young man who was born to an American mother, Kathy, and an English father, Mike. He was brought up in Kenya, Africa, and traveled the world. He was an artist and a professional photographer, but greater still he was a person who loved helping and strengthening others. Dan was an expert at enjoying every minute of his life. In 1993, while on assignment in Somalia for the leading news agency, Reuters, he was killed at the age of 22.

How was The DEPOT started? After Dan died his father, who still lives in Kenya, wanted to set up a living memorial for his son. Dan spent much of his time developing young people. Mike Eldon, also greatly active in youth development, naturally was moved to continue the work that inspired them both. The project that took shape has from the beginning lived by its own motto, ‘Inspiring you to fulfill your potential’. And there could be no other motto for The DEPOT… it is Dan’s own inspiration that has shone over this blessed place since it was launched in 1994.

The DEPOT is a charitable trust, a project of the Rotary Club of Nairobi, where Mike is an active member.

What happens there? Groups typically come for two-day programs in the 90 acres of beautifully forested grounds owned by the Kenya Scouts. They camp by night and cook their own meals. They are challenged to get large barrels over untouchable ’snake pits’ and ‘minefields’; they do seemingly impossible things with ropes while blindfolded – they fumble and stumble, they succeed and celebrate, and all the while they are learning.

The groups learn about creative thinking, problem solving and planning; about communications. They learn about time management and quality control, about sharing tasks according to each person’s strengths and above all about trusting and respecting each other. In short, they learn how to become part of and how to lead high performance teams.

Who has experienced The DEPOT? Over 12,000 people have benefited from The DEPOT’s experiential learning programs in the 11 years of its existence. Many have been high school students, often groups of incoming class representatives…and what a difference it has made to their leadership performance. Their teachers have also found a new sense of empowerment by engaging in DEPOT activities, together with administrators and governors.

The DEPOT has hosted street children and groups of mentally challenged boys and girls (such young people did particularly well); church organizations, St John’s Ambulance volunteers; many university students and young professionals; the Kenya rugby team; and corporate and government groups.

How has it developed? One emphasis is on artistic creativity. Most people believe they are ‘not artists’. Well The DEPOT proves them wrong. Through planning and painting group murals, participants not only develop their skills at working in and leading teams they also see that we all have a creative streak lurking within us.

Then The DEPOT reaches all over Kenya and into Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda. This has been partly through Rotary sponsored events for Rotaract Clubs (affiliated to Rotary, for 18-30 year-olds), where The DEPOT has organized Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA) camps. It is also through the ongoing Ford Foundation backed annual 3-week Youth Leadership and Citizenship programs, that bring together young people from all over East Africa and sees them return to their communities as young ‘leaders of today’. (Not just of tomorrow!)

The DEPOT has also teamed up with Canada World Youth to provide extended volunteering and leadership development opportunities for young people from Kenya, Tanzania and Canada, as they partner and exchange in communities both in East Africa and in Canada.

DEPOT events have been used as part of evaluation techniques in recruiting lecturers in information technology, and in selecting candidates for a photojournalism program. High profile activities have included the training of over 300 senior ‘change champions’ in Kenya’s Ministry of Finance; 1300 staff in the Central Bank of Kenya, and numerous other teams of senior directors and managers in both the public and private sector.

New activities and new target groups are constantly being evolved at The DEPOT. The great team of facilitators, led by CEO Twalib Ebrahim, learns and develop themselves even as they strengthen others. Wouldn’t you expect that from a ‘place of tomorrow’ that ‘inspires you to fulfill your potential’?