Written by Amy Spark
Recognizing this year has been a difficult and extremely changeable year for Alberta (including both provincial and federal elections, climate emergencies, and massive budget cuts from our provincial government), we wanted to connect as a community and recharge. We had two main objectives:
a) To foster and deepen connections to each other, and
b) To foster a deeper appreciation for the Work that Reconnects and understand how it can strengthen and empower our commitment for change.
We had 31 people register and 20 people attend (18 from Calgary and 2 from Edmonton). There were four facilitators: two that have trained with Joanna Macy, and two that have not. We asked people when they registered how familiar they were with the WTR. From the 31 that registered, 11 had attended a previous WTR workshop or event, 12 had not attended a WTR event but had done some reading, and 8 knew very little about the WTR.
We opened the session with a traditional Blessing, smudge, and Acknowledgment of Land by Tony Snow, one of the four facilitators. We shared a delicious potluck meal and went through various activities of the spiral, including the Talking with your Ancestors exercise and Opening Sentences. Ronnie Joy led us in two dances, to open and close the event. We also created a large version of the Three Dimensions of the work on the floor and asked participants to step into it. We gave 25 minutes for networking near the end where participants focused on their goals and how to take the Work with them.
We had a handout that participants could take with them, as well as two electronic momentos:
1. We made a spiral out of the words that participants shared as part of their closing (I have attached it here).
2. We created an online “network map” using a mapping software called Kumu and sent it to all the participants. People can interact and use the map to understand who was in the room, what organizations/initiatives they are involved in, and how to contact other participants.
We sent a follow-up survey, which 11 people completed. Highlights were the Blessing by Tony, potluck dinner, Ancestor activity, and the networking. All respondents said they would be interested in a follow-up workshop. Although there are no formal plans to convene at this point, but we may be running a follow-up Work that Reconnects 1-day session in March 2020.
This process reinforced for me how important it is to incorporate multiple ways of learning into an event. Eating, dancing, talking, listening, writing – we incorporated it all, and it strengthened our session. In the future I would leave a bit more time for networking, but overall I think our planning and schedule fit the needs of the group well.