The Essence of Community: Connect!

Community: Connect! Is a combination of activities and attitudes that supports people in any kind of event to be more connected to each other so that they have maximum potential to build their network of community and mutual support.

Community: Connect! can:

  • stand alone as a three hour event. 
  • stand alone as a day-long or a weekend retreat
  • be integrated into an already existing conference or retreat.

The ways that people can express themselves in writing include the following:

  • A bulletin board organized in such a way that people can share a variety of things including "haves, wants and needs" and "Essence Blurbs"
  • Big pieces of paper posted around the venue where people can share various thoughts and feelings that in real time give feedbck to the event including topics like celebrate, next steps, ways to improve. 
  • Tables with such topics as "books to look at", "networking material"," and "Make an Essence Blurb"
  • A mural where people can use art to express a theme of gratitude or some other uplifting idea.

Activities can (but won't always) include:

  • A potluck or other kind of shared meal
  • Opportunities for people to share topics of conversation and skill sharing in break-out groups
  • A  Cafe' for people to relax, converse quietly, write, reflect, journal
  • Sharing of essence blurbs
  • Cooperative games and improv activities
  •  Meditation
  • Singing
  • Dancing
  • A list of attendees who want their information to be shared with others
  • A published list of notes taken by attendees that are sent out to attendees afterwards
  • Closing reflections about the event

The ideas for these activities have come from many sources, including Open Space Technology. I have simply put together the good ideas I have learned from others and experimented with in my 50 years of organizing events that connect people  in a way that has worked beautifully. I hope that you will feel nourished and uplifted by experiencing these things.