What topics/questions do YOU want us to discuss at #NatGat?

Our general theme for the Cafe's dialogue is "Co-Creating Transformational Community."  This is what Occupy Cafe stands for, and we plan to manifest an experience of that community weaving through all our conversations.  Dialogue about what matters most to each of us IS the process we offer for doing this. We believe it is possible that, by connecting via such conversations, we can grow communities that can transform the world.

Due to logistical and organizational challenges, we are not planning to offer a true "Open Space Technology" format where all participants are invited to declare topics on the spot.   Our process will be more like "Open Space meets World Cafe," where we pose questions to the entire group, with those questions emerging out of our prior conversations with one another, including this forum thread. We will discuss these questions together both here on the Forum, via our Cafe Calls, and in person at #NatGat (we are integrating all three of these together). 

We had a discussion on our Connect2012 Cafe Call on 6/26 where a number of topics were suggested by the participants. A summary will be posted in a reply below. OC Steward Ben Roberts has been talking with Philly organizers for input as well.

Please share your thoughts on what topics would be most compelling for you to discuss. 

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Kasha writes, "We don't just say whatever comes out of our loins..."

This may not resonate with you, Kasha, but some of us speak from our hearts and minds rather than from our loins.

At 72, I suppose I could be considered an elder (my avatar is a very old photo of me but the only one I have on my computer), however I personally know elders in their 80s and 90s whose style is even faster and louder than mine.

COMMUNITY WEAVING OUR WORLD   www.communityweaving.org

Community Weaving (CW) weaves the fabric of community to create a more caring, just and civil society to save our children's future.  We are a network of "Good Neighbors" which is unfettered by bureaucracy, politics, religious doctrine, racism, or socioeconomic status - just neighbors helping neighbors by fearlessly giving and fearlessly receiving deeds of love!

CW members proactively care for each other by freely giving and receiving in a reciprocal manner - emphasizing the loving relationships developed through mutual exchange.  Loving relationships have been proven to decrease fear, anger, alienation, and aggressive behavior; and reciprocal exchange honors both the giver and receiver equally.  As a result, ALL participants are empowered. CW embraces a whole-systems approach in which diverse elements and especially their relationships form the structure.  All participants are valued, everyone has gifts to give.

Community Weaving (CW) is an innovative social architecture that weaves the fabric of community within groups, social networks, organizations and movements. All participants pool and share human, tangible, and experiential resources. This innovative, participant-driven approach fosters reciprocal relationships between the grassroots and formal systems to break down silos and transform fragmented communities into interdependent functioning whole community systems.

CW provides a process to foster trusting relationships, and supports creative ideas to not only prevent, but to solve grassroots problems; utilizing existing strengths and resources of the people resulting in more resilient and adaptive communities.

The model, when fully implemented, impacts three distinct levels: the Individual, Interpersonal, and Community levels.

Individual Level.  CW does not implement a traditional social service delivery model.  Instead, it weaves a social safety-net that includes everyone who agrees to freely give and fearlessly receive deeds of love and abide by the CW Code of Conduct.  This is a grassroots effort, utilizing the power of the internet, www.goodneighbors.net telephones and direct person-to-person contact for its information and organizational infrastructure.  CW is an infrastructure wherein a wide variety of resources are pooled and shared (e.g., minor home repairs, child care, peer counseling, training) and easily accessed by all network members who need resources to help themselves or others. Resources (e.g., meeting rooms, educational materials) and referrals into CW are also garnered from local organizations (e.g., schools, hospitals, traditional human service agencies).

Interpersonal Level.  On a second level, CW functions explicitly to improve the quality of life and self-esteem of those individuals providing services to other individuals within the CW network.  In fact, the CW program is premised on the likelihood of positive life outcomes for all participants, both those who provide services and those who are receiving services.  In the CW framework, a volunteer’s sharing of their own experience, resources, and expertise with other community members-in-need creates a positive interpersonal connection.  This positive interpersonal connection enriches the volunteer’s own life as well as the lives of those who are receiving services.  From this perspective, CW is unique.  Traditional social service programs, especially those funded through traditional government funding, anticipate positive outcomes only for those receiving services, not for the service providers.

Community Level.  Finally, CW proves that with widespread implementation, CW creates a positive change in community-wide culture.  That is, CW fosters a robust and resilient grassroots network, building bridges between community members and between the community’s social capital and its individuals.  The result is a network of community members functioning interdependently, resulting in a stronger and more vibrant community system.

. CW lends itself to diverse applications, including the following proposals we have received over the years:

- downsizing U.S. Air Force

- enhancing growth of the Transition Movement

- weaving community in the Occupy Movement

-  integrating CW into the city of Chicago’s plans to prevent secondary disasters

Finally, CW’s success and unique design has garnered attention.  It was featured in the Change Handbook, 2nd Ed., published by Berrett Koehler in 2006, it was the center-piece of an article on successful transition tools by one of the TransitionUS.org trainers, and it was one of the top 10 finalists in the Change.org search for civic engagement initiatives following the Obama election. 

For those who want to connect into the network, we welcome you to register as a Good Neighbor at www.goodneigbhbors.net/gnr.html.  

Email Cheryl@communityweaving.org or call 206.240.2241 to learn more.

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Regular Calls are no longer being held.  Below is the schedule that was maintained from the Fall of 2011 through Jan 10, 2013.

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