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
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.