|Re: community-wide retreats||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Craig Ragland (craigraglandgmail.com)|
|Date: Mon, 25 Aug 2008 17:00:40 -0700 (PDT)|
Hi Sally - I'll see you next week at Pleasant Hill Cohousing! On Mon, Aug 18, 2008 at 6:22 PM, Sally Wright <shwright [at] sbcglobal.net>wrote: > > To Existing Communities: > If you have held community-wide retreats, we'd like to hear from you! Songaia (38 people in 15 homes on 11 acres near Seattle) has held annual Community Retreats starting in about 1994 - 6 years before construction. We have skipped this retreat just once - the summer of 2001 - after our end-of-2000 move-in. We also have both Mens and Womens retreats. They have been quite different in character - at least it is rumored... (grin). > > Some questions: > - Did you go off-site? If you didn't go off-site, how did you create an > environment that feels special? We've done both... in fact, a couple of weekends ago was just the third time Songaia retreat that was done without sleeping somewhere else. I've most enjoyed them when we have traveled elsewhere, but staying home is sure a lot easier. For on-site retreats, I feel that both (1) going out into the local community and (2) getting some outside leadership are critical. When we travel elsewhere, this feels less important. This time, we spent one afternoon at a park on Lake Washington (with picnic lunch and dinner, games, water play, etc.) and did a contemplative walk at a local, board-walked wetlands area. The facilitated portion was done by staff and students in a Rites of Passage program. It was nature and story-oriented... For off-site locations, the challenge has been balancing cost and comfort concerns. We've found that we really need spaces that allow some people to camp - keeping costs as low as possible, and some to have rooms - with bathrooms, but this probably interacts with our funding model, which may warrant re-thinking. What has worked well for us (given this model) is to use private or public campgrounds with cabin or trailer rentals - with significant common space that we can more-or-less take-over. To date, we've not been willing to step up to the costs of using an actual retreat center - although the Songaia Women have several times for their annual Women's Retreat. > - Where did funds come from? Individual contributions? Community funding? A > combination? Its usually been a combination. This time, our only expenses were food - which just came out of our food program (which 13 out of 15 families participate in). We carpooled to local events, but "chipping in for gas" would feel silly given the short distances. For past events, individual families have paid for eating out, travel, lodging expenses... with food and common programming paid for out of our operating budget, which has budget for this type of programming for a variety of our events. > > - What specific topics have been most successful? (Note: we have no > specific > problems to focus on, but would like to deepen the community experience) We've done a very wide variety - this time, we had no special theme and just used the time for fun and sharing with minimal "programming" - I think I've enjoyed retreats that were more programmed, but this was nice as well. > > - What did you do to attract high attendance? First issue is scheduling - we have gone to great efforts to set a date that enables the largest number of participants. Setting that date MONTHS in advance makes it possible for people to schedule around it if they are so inclined. By keeping at least some of our activities on-site, it was very easy for some folks to plug-in on a part-time basis. In the past, we've had folks drive to the site and participate for just a few hours or a full day out of a long weekend event. > > - Did you use outside facilitators? Sometimes, but not usually - this time, a non-profit program that uses our land facilitated an hour-long program on our land. > Or if you used internal facilitators, > what are some suggestions? Most of our Retreat leadership has been delegated to different members. A small task force puts together a schedule and asks different people to lead particular segments. Simultaneous activities have generally not worked well - there are too few of us... only about 20-30 including kids. Some of our kids have just free ranged during adult-oriented programming, depending on the environs. > > - How did you incorporate kids in your program? By scheduling some activities that specifically target their interests, by ensuring that the food was attractive to them, by involving them in some of the leadership. For example, on this past Friday night our teen age girls did most of the Karaoke leadership, selecting songs, running it after set-up, etc. > > - Do you hold them annually? Yes - near the end of summer. > - What hasn't worked? > > Our seven-year-old community has never held an official retreat, although > we've had spectacular annual camping trips where typically half the members > attend. To build on these successes, we're considering offering a > community-wide retreat. We'd love to learn from others' experiences! > FYI: I'm on a task force to organize Songaia's 2010 retreat - 10 years since move-in. Other members and I are talking about a community exchange - where we trade use of properties with another cohousing community for simultaneous retreats. We imagine that some would stay behind as hosts, while most would move to the other cohousing community and make use of their homes and common spaces. So far, we've talked about issues and made lists of some other cohousing communities to consider approaching. We're both clear that this is going to be a very hard thing to pull off, but on the surface it seems both a really cool thing - and relatively inexpensive for both groups. > > Sally > Pleasant Hill Cohousing > Pleasant Hill, CA > We can talk more about this if we choose next week! > > shwright_at_sbcglobal.net > 925 288 1666 > > > _________________________________________________________________ > Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at: > http://www.cohousing.org/cohousing-L/ > > > -- Craig Ragland Coho/US executive director http://www.cohousing.org craig [at] cohousing.org Please try email first, include your phone number (w/time zone) - or give me a call: 425-487-3550 (Pacific)... communicate!
- community-wide retreats Sally Wright, August 19 2008
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