Community: Connect! gatherings are a combination of networking, socializing, learning, cooperating, and making friends. Using Open Space Technology and sharing circles as foundational tools, this event is uniquely designed by me out of the need to figure out a way of quickly helping people to cooperate and connect.
An important aspect of Community Connect is the use of Open Space Technology (OST) which is a method for organizing and running a meeting or multi-day conference, where participants have been invited in order to focus on a specific, important task or purpose. OST is a participant-driven process whose agenda is created by people attending. Unconferences often use OST as their process.
History: Learn about the first Community: Connect! In 2008, I produced a about 12 consecutive Community Gatherings (the name that I started with) in Fayetteville Arkansas in 2008. I learned a lot!
Interactive, networking, creative activity stations: Especially for introverts who have a harder time being spontaneous, the stations are an important part of Community: Connect! They can be integrated seamlessly into any gathering. As we experiment and grow, we are adding even more possibilities. Learn more here:
Presenters: People can sign up in advance to facilitate a workshop, teach a class, or guide a conversation. Here is an email that facilitators can send to their friends in order to expand the word of mouth marketing.
Just about anyone who has a heart to help people and build community, can learn how to produce the Community: Connect!a by following the instructions on this blog.
These are some of the outcomes of the Community: Connect!
- build trust
- connect diverse people
- strengthen existing relationships
- learn and teach life-giving skills that help people create lives that matter
- create new connections
- build a foundation for lasting relationships
- help people look at one another with love, respect, and as people with unsurpassable worth
- support people in realizing their value
All of the above result in creating a sense of healthy community that can serve as a springboard for creating a foundation that supports:
- any organization or business
- neighborhood groups
- businesses that support positive solutions
- coalitions of leaders
- faith based groups
- teams that want to grow their members
- intentional communities
- activist groups
Here are some event pages of successful Community: Connect! events:
May 2016 Community: Connect! at Omni Commons
August 2016 A Place for Sustainable Living
September 2018: Animal Rights Center in Berkeley
Dec. 2018 Feeds Communities in Fayetteville
Testimonials about Patricia’s facilitating of groups
This is a letter of recommendation for Patricia Mikelson. She is an
amazing organizer, personal motivator and tireless worker for Ron Paul
and community. She has many abilities but I have seen her in the arena
of group organization. She is tireless and very high energy and
inspires others to action with her enthusiasm. She encourages groups to
self organize and follow their passion.
She is and has been a central force in the local Ron Paul group with
which I am familiar. Powerful, energetic, positive, kind, sweet and
thoughtful of others. An unusual combination for a leader. A great
My name is David Fryauf, and I am a freshman at the University of
Arkansas. I have recently become very involved in the local movement
to advocate Ron Paul’s presidential campaign. A few months ago when I
decided to check out my first Ron Paul meetup event making campaign
signs, I was immediately greeted by Patricia Mikkelson. My first
impression of Patricia was that of an energetic mother who decided to
come help organize and be a cheerleader for a more political cause
with some friends. Over the last few months which have come so
quickly, I’ve realized my estimate was half right; Patricia is one of
the most motivated, energized, and inspiring leaders I have ever met,
but shes not just a cheerleader looking for something to do. Patricia
is a well informed activist who does research and supports the causes
that she believes in. She has impressed me with her passionate desire
to help others organize and achieve their goals.
I am fortunate enough to work with Patricia quite often on a more
personal level with some of the activity organizing for Ron Paul.
Patricia has over 30 years of organizing experience under her belt,
and it shows in her interactions with other members of the Ron Paul
meetup group. Patricia knows when to delegate out some of the many
tasks she takes on, and she is also a wonderful resource to other
organizers who may need help accomplishing their tasks. Patricia and
I worked together to coordinate a Rock for Ron Paul concert at the U
of A campus that was sponsored by the local meetup group and the
Students for Ron Paul on campus. We are currently working to organize
an online video conference, which will hopefully be a national effort,
at the end of the semester to help connect Ron Paul supporters to try
and accomplish our ultimate goal: getting Ron Paul elected for
president of the country. She is an extremely effective communicator
and motivator, making her the ultimate tool for action at the
Seeing all the time and energy she dedicates to the Ron Paul
meetup group keeps us all motivated to do likewise and keep spreading
the message of freedom at every given opportunity. Whatever task it
is that Patricia decides to undertake, she will tackle it with
everything shes got, which is why I am confident that Patricia can
perform at any level of office to help organize and promote the Ron
Paul campaign. As a politically active student who is getting
involved in the political process for the first time, I have
thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated working with Patricia.
Vice President of the University of Arkansas Students for Ron Paul RSO
Patricia Mikkelson has done so much for the Ron Paul campaign and the freedom movement. She has led our Meetup group for the past couple of months and has done a wonderful job organizing and leading the charge to get Dr. Paul elected. She is enthusiastic, encouraging, supportive, and zealous about doing whatever it takes to win this election.
I have come to know Patricia Mikkelson during the course of the campaign for Ron Paul. I like her ideas, enthusiasm, and execution of plans for spreading the word about Ron Paul. I like her as an individual too.
Oscar Stilley, Attorney at Law
Patricia is, in my book, one of the most genuine & passionate person I have had the privilege to meet. In a world where people’s lives are devoted to petty, self-centered career interests, she clearly stands out to embrace her true values and fight for what she believes in while engaging those around her and energizing the ties of her community.
Owner, Foundation Farm (www.foundationfarm.com)
Founder, Berryville & Eureka Springs Farmers Markets
Member, Eureka Springs Farmers Market Board
Lecturer & Columnist
What people are saying about their experience with Community: Connect!
“I was a part of a Community Connect that was led by Patricia, and I found it to be a great format for sharing, honing your communication skills, and becoming more in tune with others that share your similar values. It is also a great way for a group to grow and develop and become rich in qualities like empathy, grace, and sincerity.”
Jake Wood, Nurse, and Anonymous for the Voiceless Organizer, NW Arkansas
I enjoyed attending Community Connect. It’s a great way to meet your neighbors and get individuals ideas on the table and rolling into reality. Patricia brings the passion, enthusiasm, and leadership that makes CC fun and successful.
Jeremy Merrill, Animal rights activist in NW Arkansas
Community: Connect! is for agents of change to harness the power of dialogue and commit each other to sustained action for equity and justice in our communities. Talk to one another about our collective visions for how to bering our networks from where we are today towards what is truly possible through people-powered projects.
C:C! is driven by compassion, dedication and conversation Face-to-face and heart-to-heart, we call forth the power of hope in order to turnout ideas into practical steps.
Tim Ng, member of Community Democracy Project
Imagine you lived in a small town where you knew your neighbors and you all got together to see how you could best help each other. That’s the feeling we bring together at a C:C! event, a place to be held and to offer your support and connection. To learn from and about each other. To share sustenance, To come to a place of deeper appreciation of ourselves, our unique talents, skills and connections, our extended community and the power of asking–and giving.
As we plan a C:C! gathering, we invite everyone to think about what they need and what they can teach. How they’re stuck and where to break out of the box. We look for people with something to share and start a schedule ahead of time, but there’s always lots of room to add more at the door and afterwards.
So come, share, enjoy–and prepare to be surprised. Be ready to listen and build awareness of one another. And find your way to ask for what you need. Together, we can find creative ways to get those needs met.
Recommendation by attorney Anita Schnee about Patricia’s efforts to uphold the brand new tree ordinance