Birthday Celebrations and the Gather-In: Moving towards a community-wide internal conference
Could we hold an event where all of us – organisations and individuals could come together to attend to the Community’s unfolding? Could the Community have a regular conference similar to the annual Foundation conference? The Gather-In is the first step in that direction.
The Emergence of the Gather-In
The Gather-In was conceived in the Autumn of 2014 by a group of NFA members discussion governance at the monthly Community Meeting in the CC. The idea was inspired by the Foundation’s conference and the need to bring the whole community together to attend to a range of issues present in the community at that time.
With diverse work/life schedules, it’s a challenge for community members to meet for a full week as Foundation Co-workers do in January. So it was suggested that we hold a 2-part conference using the natural seasons to inform us.
Part one would be around the birthday. At the time of the conference idea emerging the NFA had begun to organise birthday celebrations that included an opportunity for inner reflection through constellation work with the Deep Dive in 20?? and 20?? and in following years the Game of Transformation. These celebrations were very much about being, and inward focus working perfectly with the idea of the community conference.
We could add in a layer of reflecting on achievements, identify challenges and next steps before turning inward to dream upon these matters during longer, darker nights.
The second part would be in the Spring as the light begins to return more fully and nature begins to stir. This part of the conference would have a more outgoing focus, more about doing, the active part. A place to explore what projects and actions would we all get behind in the coming spring and summer, what would we want to harvest come next birthday?
A Community Conference? How to start?
Start small. Take the first step.
So we did. We started in March 2015 with a Spring Gather-In, a one-day event that consisted mainly of the Focus & Funding Awards where community members could propose projects to the NFA body. In the first year the funding for the awards came from the NFA and in 2016 and 2017 the Findhorn Windpark generously contributed their project fund.
In addition to the Awards each year we’ve included a range of other activities:
Twice we offered Open Space where individual members championed a topic for discussion – and the rest chose where they wanted to join in. These sessions lead to fruitful discussions.
In 2017 community organisations had the opportunity to share with us what they were prioritising with their work and also had a special focus on affordable housing – with various aspects presented by community members engaged in this area.
In the meantime the birthday celebrations have become even more established, taking place over several days with numerous contributions from community members and a big turn out for The Game.
What we need to do now is make the connection between the work we do together during the birthday celebrations and the event in early Spring – currently called the Gather-In.
As the world increasingly moves towards participatory democracy the conference is an essential part of the movement. Joining together twice a year gives us all the opportunity to participate as engaged, Community members in visioning and decision-making that shapes our collective future.
See you at the Spring Gather-In the year. See the poster in this week’s bridge for date and time.
If you’d like to assist in organising the Gather-In or have questions or ideas contact Ariane 691841 or Dürten 692223