The Organizing Kit for Starting a Resilience Circle or Small Group

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The Organizing Kit for Starting a Resilience Circle or Small Group
November, 2012
Across the nation, people have stepped forward to organize Resilience Circles and other small groups for their communities. We’re confident you can do it too, especially if you start small. Work on finding just one other person in your community who is also excited about this idea.
If you’re considering organizing a circle, let us at the Resilience Circle Network know. We may be able to connect you with others in your area. You can also check our list of “Profiled Resilience Circles” to see if there is activity in your area (http://localcircles.org/profiled-resilience-circles).
This document is designed to provide tips and how-to for forming a circle. On our website you can watch one of our Introductory Webinars for a discussion of these organizing tips, and sign up to take part in the next free discussion (http://localcircles.org/webinars).

In This Document


  • Ingredients for Starting a Circle

    • Finding Participants

    • Finding a Facilitator

  • Using the Introductory Session

  • Things to Consider: Organizer FAQ

  • Sample Publicity Materials

  • Introductory Session: Agenda and Handouts


Packaged Separately


  1. Tri-Fold Brochure (PDF)

  2. Optional Slides for the Introductory Session (PowerPoint)


Ingredients for Starting a Resilience Circle
We are calling this “ingredients” for starting a circle rather than “steps,” because there is not a set order in which to do things. (Tip of the hat to Transition US for this language idea!)

To start a circle, you’ll need to line up the following:



  • One or two facilitators

  • 15 – 25 initial participants

  • A space to meet

  • The dates and time of day you’ll meet1

Once this is lined up, you or another facilitator(s) can use the Seven-Session Curriculum to structure your sessions. The curriculum also contains tips for keeping your group together during the seven sessions and beyond. To obtain your free copy, please email us at info@localcircles.org.


Finding Participants
For most people, finding participants is the hardest part of organizing. But we are confident you can do this, especially if you start small. Try to find an Organizing Partner, one other person in your community who is also excited about this idea. Once you have a team of two, the rest of the organizing will be easier and more fun. Think about who might make a good partner.  You’ll want to find someone is also excited about this idea and will make the commitment to move things forward with you.
Communication
In all of your organizing, including your outreach to find an Organizing Partner, you will be called upon to communicate about Resilience Circles. Circles cover a lot of ground—they are a rich experience where relationships deepen and people re-learn the practice of mutual aid; they address both ecological and economic concerns; and they tap into a vision of a new, fair economy in harmony with the planet. This can be hard to get into a sound bite.
To get a handle on communicating, think about what attracted you to this idea. Why do you want to form a Resilience Circle or other small group? How do you think it will help your community, your family, or your own situation? What do you hope to gain?
Growing Your Group through Relationships and Conversations

The best way to form a Circle is by reaching out to people who you, or your Organizing Partner, already has some connection to. If you currently aren’t connected to many folks, you can try to expand your network through Base Communities and the Linking Method (see below).

Once you a part of a network of folks, you can build up your small group by discussing your ideas with others in “one-to-one” conversations. Labor and community organizers have been using this practice for generations. In a one-to-one, you authentically share your story with another person and listen to theirs. Based on your commonalities, you invite the person to work together; i.e., in this case, to join or form a Resilience Circle together.
You may be able to use this form of conversation spontaneously. Perhaps someone will off-handedly mention their frustrations (i.e., with potholes in the roads, fears about their kids’ student debt load, etc.). You can take the opportunity to ask more questions and make your call to action (“I’m forming a neighborhood group, you should join me” or “I’m forming a group to talk about our economic concerns”).

If you’re serious about forming a small group, however, you will probably need to be more deliberate. An easy way to get started is to invite someone you already know to meet with you for about a half hour at a neutral public site, like a coffee shop or a park. Our culture can be suspicious of open-ended agendas, and you don’t want people to think you’re starting an Amway business. So go ahead and be clear about what you want. For example, you could say, “I’m forming a small group for mutual support, and I’d like to have your input,” or “I’m concerned about [our schools] and want to hear your concerns too,” or “I think that a lot of people are struggling with economic stress alone, and I want to ask you what we might do to support each other.” If the person wants to talk then and there, be sure to set aside enough time for a focused conversation.


The important thing is to make a friendly, honest invitation that fits your own interests and values. Not everyone will say yes, but some will—and each new invitation builds your skills and confidence.
Structure of a One-to-One

One-on-ones often follow this four-step outline, but each conversation will be unique.

1. Tell your story. Think this over. Why are you committed to social change, building community or organizing a small group? How do you think it will help your community, your family, or your own situation? What do you hope to gain?
2. Listen. Turn to the other person and ask open-ended questions, such as “What brought you to this neighborhood? What are your struggles or concerns? What events in your life changed you and shaped your choices? Who helped you along the way? What do you think are the biggest problems this community is facing right now?”
3. Identify your common concerns. The good news is that you are likely to find some common ground with the person. After a few minutes of deep listening, you can say something like: “It seems we’re both concerned about [unemployment in our town, our schools, access to clean water, access to health care, making new friends, our kids’ futures, climate change, etc.]. Maybe we can work together, and find other people who share our values and concerns.”
4. Here is how we can work together: _____. At this point, you might say, “I want to form a group and we want to have a nucleus of good people who care. Are you open to an invitation to attend a first meeting?”
Experiencing Push-Back
One-to-ones can feel risky. People are likely to look at you a little funny when you issue an invitation to have a chat.

Furthermore, no one likes to experience rejection, and unfortunately you aren’t likely to hear an enthusiastic “Yes, I’ll join you!” at the end of every conversation. It’s best to prepare for a range of responses. No matter how skilled you are as an organizer, some people will say “No” to your call to action. Some will say “Maybe” (which generally means “No”). Some will say “Yes,” but won’t show up. Some will say “Yes,” show up, and then drop out. Some will say “No” today, and “Yes” later. And luckily, some will say “Yes” and become valuable contributors.

However, building relationships through conversations is the best way to build up a small group. It’s also imperative for building community and for social change generally. For more reflections on relationship building and social change, see http://localcircles.org/2012/10/04/for-real-change-have-conversations-the-art-of-the-one-to-one.
Growing Your Group through Networks and Publicity
In addition to one-to-one conversations, here are some tips for growing your group.
Tip 1: Use Existing Networks as “Base Communities.” Perhaps you or your Organizing Partner is already part of a congregation, neighborhood association, or other group that can serve as a “base community.” That’s great. Our experience suggests that it’s helpful to base your organizing in such a network, even though you will also reach beyond it for participants. But if at least some members of the circle know each other from the outset, this gives the group “glue” to help it stick together over a longer term. Another benefit is that a base community might be able to provide space for your meetings.
If you’re not part of a base network, you might consider reaching out to one, or even joining one. Some good possibilities are: congregations (churches, synagogues); community organizations like Neighborhood Development Corporations, housing counseling organizations, organizations for parents, or the YMCA or YWCA; neighborhood associations; local environmental action groups; unions; book clubs; Transition Initiatives; Time Banks; and social action campaigns.

Think about how a Resilience Circle might connect to the interests and goals of these communities. Before you reach out, prepare to explain the benefits of basing a Resilience Circle in their community, such as potentially attracting new members to the congregation or network. Resilience Circles are also a great way to deepen relationships among people who already know each other, since the circle will help folks share topics that are usually difficult to address.

Tip 2: Use the “Linking” Method. A complementary strategy is what we call the “linking” method. Here, you and your Organizing Partner identify one or two other people who are also excited about forming a Resilience Circle. In turn, each of you invites two or three more people to an Introductory Session. In this way, your team builds linked relationships among participants at your introductory event, so each person feels some connection to the group from the outset.
Tip 3: Think About What to Call Your Circle. A key question to consider is what you will call your group. Think about what will attract the most people to your group, and/or think about the audience you are trying to reach. We primarily use the name “Resilience Circles,” and we find this name works especially well for people who are concerned about the earth and ecological threats to our security. Many groups also use the name “Common Security Clubs,” which evokes the importance of creating shared economic and personal security together.  Other groups have used names such as Resource Sharing Groups, Neighbor Groups, Unemployed and Anxiously Employed Worker Groups, and Economic Security Circles.
Tip 4: Publicize. Base communities and the linking method are the best way to attract participants who will join your Resilience Circle. But don’t neglect basic publicity. Once you have scheduled an Introductory Session, put up flyers and post an announcement on online calendars in your community. Consider creating a Facebook or a MeetUp event. Use the sample materials below. And lastly, don’t forget to tell us at the Resilience Circle Network so we can publicize for you.

Be sure to visit our website (http://localcircles.org/2010/02/10/publicity-resources) to browse publicity materials developed by facilitators for specific audiences, such as leaders of Transition Initiatives,2 Unitarian Universalists, Roman Catholics, and others. If you develop something similar, please send it our way or post a link in the comments on the site.

Finding a Facilitator
To organize a circle, you don’t need to facilitate it. We do suggest that facilitators have some small group leadership experience before facilitating a Resilience Circle. If you have some experience but would like a refresher, visit http://localcircles.org/facilitate-a-circle.

With your partner, brainstorm places where you might find a facilitator to lead the circle's discussions.  Consider leaders from the communities listed above as potential base networks. In addition to appealing to your common values, you might suggest that you’d like to learn to facilitate by working with them. Many community leaders are highly motivated to share their skills with other people in this way.


Lastly, keep in mind that the Resilience Circle Network has developed a six-hour Facilitator Training Workshop. It is not necessary to attend a training to be a facilitator, but we promise you will enjoy the training if you can attend one. If you have some experience leading such workshops and would like to hold a training in your community, contact us and we’ll get you started. We can also discuss sending a trainer to your area.
Using the Introductory Session
The goal of your organizing may be to hold a 90-minute Introductory Session. This Session is designed to give people a taste of the benefits of being in a Resilience Circle without requiring any commitment from them. It’s participatory and gives people a chance to share the ways the economic downturn and ecological changes are touching them. After the session, many of the participants will hopefully sign up to attend or form a Resilience Circle. Alternatively, you may not need to hold an Intro Session, if 15 – 25 people commit to forming a circle without needing to.
See the section on the Introductory Session below for a detailed agenda.

If possible, identify your facilitator and line up the dates your circle will meet before holding the Session. Also, try to hold the Intro Session the same day of the week that your circle will meet, i.e., hold it on a Tuesday if you’ll be meeting Tuesday evenings.

It’s also okay to set up the circle’s meeting dates after the Introductory Session so that you can better asses the availability of your potential participants. Keep in mind, however, that a lag between the Intro Session and Session 1 may cause you to lose people. Keep things moving as quickly as possible.
Once you have scheduled an Intro Session, tell us about it at Resilience Circle Network! Please see Attachment 1 below, and submit the location, date and time of your session to us via the web, email, or snail mail. With your permission, we will post your event on our website and in our e-newsletter. This is a great way to reach folks in your area who have already expressed interest in joining a circle. In any case, please let us know about your session so we may have it in our records.
Things to Consider: Organizer FAQ
1. What is the ideal size of a Resilience Circle?
Start with 15 - 25 people, and expect a few to realize it’s not a good fit. Ending up with 8 – 15 is ideal.
2. What is the right frequency for meetings?
It’s important not to let too much time pass between meetings in order to foster group cohesion. Meeting every other week is a good routine for the first seven sessions. Once your group has completed the curriculum and has established some cohesion, you might drop down to meeting once per month.
3. Should we integrate food into our meetings?

The short answer: Yes! Session 2 specifically invites people to bring a dish and/or a recipe for an inexpensive, healthy meal. Many groups find this potluck experience really enjoyable and continue having one at every Session. (If you go this route, to keep sessions to two hours or slightly more, try eating while doing the “go-round.”)

A note of caution: be sure everyone understands that they are not required to bring food. Some people may not feel up to this and so decide not to attend a meeting. Do you best to assure folks they can come empty-handed and have a “lucky” potluck; i.e., a free dinner.
4. How wide of a geographic area should a circle draw from?
The smaller the better. This way, folks will be able to gather more spontaneously for circle meetings, social gatherings, and mutual aid projects. But if you can only attract a group of interested folks from a wider area, you might still try going through the curriculum together and see what develops.
5. What does this cost?
Nothing! All our materials are free and “open-source.” We hope you use and adapt them as you please.
6. How many groups continue to meet beyond the seven initial sessions?
If a group works through the entire curriculum together, at least some participants almost always decide to stick together beyond it.
Sample Publicity Materials
The following sample Publicity Flyer and sample Outreach Letter may be used in publicity and outreach, and a PDF Brochure is also included in the Organizing Kit. You’ll see highlighted areas that must be filled in to reflect your particular circumstances.

Resilience Circles: Strengthening Community

During Tough Times

Join the Boston

“Resilience Circle”
A Small Group to

…Get to Know Your Neighbors

…Help Each Other Through “Mutual Aid”

…Have Fun!


Learn more at an Introductory Session Sponsored By xxx
When: xxx

Where:  xxx

The “Great Recession” has reminded us of our vulnerabilities. We’re facing debt, foreclosure, unemployment, and isolation. In response, people are forming small “Resilience Circles” to explore a new kind of security – one based in mutual aid and community support.

http://localcircles.org | 617.477.8630 x307 | info@localcircles.org

Sample Outreach Letter
Dear xxx,
Thank you for the work you are doing at your organization/congregation, and for your commitment to ending poverty/environmental sustainability/addressing problems with the economy/etc. Because of your commitment to these important ideals, I am writing to you about “Resilience Circles,” which are small groups where 10 – 20 people gather to learn about the economy and the environment, engage in mutual aid, and take social action.
I suspect you will find the free resources provided by the Resilience Circle Network useful in helping members of your organization/congregation confront economic uncertainty, deepen their relationships, and feel empowered to challenge the status quo. Congregations/organizations which host Resilience Circles have also found that the experience may attract new members/congregants to the community.
As you know, unemployment is high and foreclosures are widespread. Almost every American has been touched by the Great Recession. Many are experiencing high levels of isolation and lack community support. Furthermore the impacts of global climate change are already upon us, and the future is extremely uncertain as we face “peak oil” and all the changes it implies for our food, transport, and other basic systems.

Communities, congregations and other groups are using the seven-session Resilience Circle Curriculum to reconnect and rebuild systems of mutual aid. Empowered, connected communities are much better equipped to deal with our current economic and environmental realities and the changes the future will bring. And, empowered communities will be the building blocks to create a new, sustainable economy that serves everyone in harmony with the planet.

I would love to discuss this approach with you further. Please let me know if there is an opportunity to get together or speak on the phone. I hope to hear from you soon.
Thank you,



Introductory Session: Agenda and Handouts



November, 2012
This Introductory Session is a designed to give people a sense of the benefits of being in a circle without requiring a commitment from them. We hope you find it fun and rewarding.
Please let the Resilience Circle Network know about your Introductory Session by filling out Attachment 1 below. We will list your event on our website unless you request that your meeting remain private. In any case, please inform us of your meeting for our records.
Objectives


  • Introduce the concept of a Resilience Circle and give a taste of the benefits of being part of one.

  • Give people an opportunity to connect with one another around the ways the economy and the environment are touching them.

  • Identify next steps toward forming a Resilience Circle.


Things You’ll Need


  • Poster paper or blank flipchart and easel and markers

  • Name tags

  • Copy of the opening and closing readings (Attachment 2)

  • Blank participant sign-in sheets (Attachments 3 and 4). Note that if you already know which days your Resilience Circle will meet, you won’t need 4 to assess people’s availability.
  • Optional – Introductory Session PowerPoint Slides to show during Activity 2, “Why a Resilience Circle?” (Available in the Organizing Kit or online at http://localcircles.org/organize-a-circle)



Handouts


  • Tri-Fold Brochure (Available in the Organizing Kit or online as a PDF at http://localcircles.org/organize-a-circle)

  • Progression and Overview of Sessions – Two Sides (Attachment 5)

  • Knowings, Questions, Gifts and Needs (Attachment 6)



SUMMARY AGENDA – Introductory Session
Opening (10 minutes)
Activity 1: What Brings Us Here Tonight? (15)
Activity 2: Signs of the Times (Slides 2 – 4) (5)
Activity 3: Knowings, Questions, Gifts, and Needs (30)


  • Paired Sharing

  • Full Group Sharing

Activity 4: What is a Resilience Circle? (15)


Activity 5: What’s Next? (15)
Closing (<5 minutes)

DETAILED AGENDA – Introductory Session
Opening (10)
Note that you can project Slide 1 as background during the Opening and Activity 1.
Welcome folks as they enter and ask them to sign in (Attachment 3). Give them each a copy of the Tri-Fold Brochure and “Progression and Overview of Sessions” (Attachment 5). When ready, welcome everyone formally, thank the host, and introduce yourself and your co-presenter(s). Offer a brief description of a Resilience Circle:
A Resilience Circle is a place to come together to increase our personal security in a rapidly changing world. Besides having fun and getting to know each other, circles have three purposes:

Learning Together: A way to learn about the root causes of our economic and ecological challenges.

Mutual Aid: A chance to build relationships that strengthen our security, and take concrete steps for mutual aid and shared action.
Social Action: An opportunity to be part of a larger effort to create a fair and healthy economy that works for everyone in harmony with the planet.
In the process, we find inspiration, have fun, and strengthen community.

Groups meet for seven sessions using the free Curriculum provided by the Resilience Circle Network. After that, most groups stick together and choose their own activities.
Today’s session is designed to give you a taste of the benefits of being part of a Resilience Circle. We will start off with a reading, as we do during the seven sessions.
Read the Suggested Opening Reading – “Turning to One Another” by Meg Wheatley (Attachment 2). For more reading options, see

http://localcircles.org/facilitators-corner/opening-and-closing-readings-for-clubs.

Activity 1: What Brings Us Here Tonight? (15)
Ask participants to go around the circle and state their name and where they live. Ask them to say a few words about why they came to the event tonight. Anyone can pass if they wish. Ask them to keep their comments to about 1 minute. (You might use the “wristwatch trick” to keep comments short. See http://localcircles.org/2010/01/24/facilitate-a-circle.)

Activity 2: Signs of the Times (5)

People often come to an Introductory Session with an awareness of the economic and ecological challenges we face. They may be seeking the chance to discuss and process this information in community. As such, this section only provides a brief overview of our economic and ecological challenges in order to move quickly into the discussion-based sections. However, if you wish to introduce more content about the economy or environment, see these slides developed by a Resilience Circle facilitator: http://localcircles.org/2012/03/07/introductory-session-power-point-presentation-by-resilience-circles-and-transition-albany-ca.

Note that it is not necessary to use slides at all. You might just want to talk through the following points in your own words.
Slide 2 – Economic and Environmental Challenges - Tough times still lie ahead. While we may see some positive economic changes, millions of jobs are not coming back. Many of us are facing continued economic insecurity in terms of jobs, precarious housing situations, and lack of adequate income. We know that the next ten years will not be like the past ten years. Two of the reasons are:
No more debt-fueled economic growth. Our economy has depended on huge levels of debt-fueled overconsumption. Individuals, companies, banks, and even nations have borrowed more than they can ever pay back. We have also borrowed from the future by polluting the air, water and land; changes which will last for generations. And we have borrowed from the past, pulling carbon out of the earth that has been building for millions of years and burning through it in a matter of a few centuries. We are in debt to everyone, and the bills are coming due.
Our economic model is not ecologically sustainable. An economic model based on endless growth will eventually run up against the limits of the earth’s resources. That has begun to happen, and our future economic security will require us to live within the earth’s capacity.
Slide 3 – Isolation – Americans are more isolated than ever, exacerbating our economic and environmental challenges. A Duke University study found that one in four Americans has no one to talk to about their troubles. People don’t know how to rely on each other for help during tough times.

Slide 4 – The Solution: Resilience – Tonight let’s talk about the solution, which is resilience. As we become more connected as communities, we will become more resilient - more able to weather adversity together. We will also become more powerful to change the rules which have created the economic and environmental messes we face.

Activity 3: “Knowings,” Questions, Gifts and Needs (30)
The next activity is designed to give participants a taste of the Resilience Circle experience. It also recognizes that many people are already quite aware of what is happening to our economy and our environment, and are looking for a place to share and process this information.
Paired Sharing
Distribute Attachment 6:


Two “Knowings” about our Economic Plight


Two Questions about our Economic Plight

Two “Knowings” about our Environmental Plight


Two Questions about our Environmental Plight

Two Wants/Needs


Two Offerings

Ask participants to pair up with another person they don’t know. Explain that the pair will take five minutes to discuss the topics in the first row of the handout, “Two “Knowings” about our Economic Plight” and “Two Questions about our Economic Plight.” Explain that they should interview each other and take notes about what their partner says, asking “What are two things you know about our economic plight? What are two questions you still have?” In this case, a “Knowing” might be something personal about the person’s own economic circumstances. Or, it might be something general, such as that Wall Street has not been effectively regulated, or that poverty is increasing.


Make sure that the pairs switch speakers after about 2 minutes.

After five minutes, people should find a new partner and repeat this exercise for the middle row. They should ask each other: “What are two things you know about our environment that concern you? What are two things you would like to know more about?”

Again, after five minutes, everyone should switch partners and address the topics in the final row. Explain that participants should name two things they need help with, for example: child care, finding a job, help with odd jobs around the house, learning to sew, etc. Then, they should list two thing they can offer other group participants, such as sewing or gardening skills, tools they can share, or a car they can lend. (This exercise mirrors the “Gifts and Needs” exchange in Session 5 of the curriculum.)
Full Group Sharing
After this exercise is complete, go around the circle and ask folks to name one of their “offerings.” This should be a quick chance to see what gifts are present in the circle.
Ask if anyone has any brief reflections on the exercise. Note that we already bring a wealth of knowledge and gifts to the circle. The purpose of forming a Resilience Circle is to share these gifts with each other for the benefit of everyone.

Activity 4: What is a Resilience Circle? (10)
Before showing Slide 5, ask the group:
What do you already know about Resilience Circles? What is a Circle?
Take notes on the flipchart. This is a “popcorn” style discussion, where folks call out short answers.
After you have gathered some responses, display Slide 5 and briefly mention anything that was not stated:


  • Circles help us:




      • Learn together about the economy & the environment

      • Build relationships, overcome isolation

      • Engage in mutual aid and shared action

      • Rediscover the abundance of what we have and recognize the possibility of a better future

      • See ourselves as part of larger effort to create a “new economy” that works for everyone in harmony with the planet


      • Get to know our neighbors, find inspiration, and have fun!

  • There are three components: Learning Together about the economy & the environment, Mutual Aid, & Social Action

Note that Attachment 5 shows how the Seven-Session curriculum moves through these topics.


Slide 6 – Examples of Projects and ActivitiesIf there is time and it seems relevant, you can discuss the kinds of activities Resilience Circles have engaged in. You might say a few words about the activities that seem most pertinent to your circumstances. Note that most groups focus on one or another of the three areas (learning, mutual aid, social action), and not all three. Many also align with larger networks, such as Transition Towns or social action campaigns.
Photo explanations, clockwise starting at top left:
Budgeting and Time Banking - Most circles constantly swap tips and ideas for saving money, such as inexpensive recipes, grocery saving tips, upcoming sales. Many also join “Time Banks” or start small ones in their groups to exchange their own time for services they need. At a circle in Boston, one member volunteered to share copies of her budget including income, major expenses, and debts. The group brainstormed ideas on how she could save money. At the end of the session, others in the circle asked if they too could have “budget makeovers.”
Re-skilling” - As you go through the curriculum, you will likely discover that people in your group know how to preserve food, sew, garden, or repair leaky faucets. Circles often meet to learn these skills from one another.

Social Action – This is a photo of Occupy Boston. Some groups have aligned with the Occupy movement in various ways or taken part in campaigns like Move to Amend and 350.org.

Stuff Swap – A group in Concord NH sponsored a stuff swap for “unique holiday shopping.”
Get Out of Debt Support Groups – Groups have strategized together about reducing and eliminating debt, and some make pacts to take debt-reduction steps together. In one circle, some members got together and called their credit card companies, asking for lower interest rates.
Weatherization Parties - In winter or fall, circle members help button-up each others’ homes for winter. Each “host” buys materials to caulk windows, seal doors, and put up plastic around leaky windows. With a team working a couple of hours on a weekend, each household saves potentially hundreds of dollars on heating costs.

Activity 5: Next Steps (15)
Ask participants: Where do we go from here? Who would like to form a Circle?
Here’s your chance to facilitate a conversation about what’s next. In addition to assessing who would like to participate, see who is especially enthusiastic and might want to take a leadership role in the group. Look for folks to make reminder calls, help facilitate, bring snacks, and/or nail down a location.
If you haven’t yet settled on dates for your meetings, you can use Attachment 4 to asses folks’ availability. At a minimum, make sure participants add their names and contact information to Attachment 3 so that you (or someone else) can follow up!
For those who will continue to Session 1, a recommended reading is the “Economic Meltdown Funnies.” Download the Funnies at http://tinyurl.com/meltdownfunnies, or contact the Resilience Circle Network for paper copies at Info@LocalCircles.org.

Closing (< 5)

Thank everyone for coming and bring the meeting to a close with a closing reading. Our suggestion is “A Great Time To Be Alive” by Martin Luther King (Attachment 1). For more reading options, see http://localcircles.org/facilitators-corner/opening-and-closing-readings-for-clubs.


Facilitator Note: Please let the Resilience Circle Network know how your session went and what your next steps are! Do you have any feedback about this agenda or the other organizing materials? Thank you!

Attachment 1

Resilience Circle Network

Introductory Session Form


Before you hold your Introductory Session, please take a moment to let us know about it at the Resilience Circle Network. Please submit the following information via the web, email or snail mail so we may have it for our records.
Web: http://localcircles.org/contact

Email: info@localcircles.org

Snail Mail: IPS, 30 Germania Street Building L, Jamaica Plain MA 02130
With your permission, we will publish this information on our website (see http://localcircles.org/find-a-circle/events). If you wish to omit certain information from the posting, please just make a note below.



Your Name: Email Address:
Phone:



Introductory Session Location:



Date and Time:

Host or Co-Sponsoring Organization(s) (if applicable):



Other Organizers (if applicable):
Names and contact info will not be listed on the website.

Description or Other Information:

Thank you!

Attachment 2

Suggested Opening Reading: “Turing to One Another” by Meg Wheatley

There is no power greater than a community discovering what it cares about.

Ask: “What’s possible?” not “What’s wrong?” Keep asking.


Notice what you care about.

Assume that many others share your dreams.


Be brave enough to start a conversation that matters.

Talk to people you know.

Talk to people you don’t know.

Talk to people you never talk to.


Be intrigued by the differences you hear. Expect to be surprised.

Treasure curiosity more than certainty.


Invite in everybody who cares to work on what’s possible.

Acknowledge that everyone is an expert about something.

Know that creative solutions come from new connections.


Remember, you don’t fear people whose story you know.

Real listening always brings people closer together.


Trust that meaningful conversations can change your world.


Rely on human goodness.

Stay together.


Suggested Closing Reading: “A Great Time to Be Alive” by Martin Luther King
…I have the personal faith that mankind will somehow rise up to the occasion and give new directions to an age drifting rapidly to its doom. In spite of the tensions and uncertainties of this period something profoundly meaningful is taking place. Old systems of exploitation and oppression are passing away, and out of the womb of a frail world new systems of justice and equality are being born. Doors of opportunity are gradually being opened to those at the bottom of society. The shirtless and barefoot people of the land are developing a new sense of “some-bodiness” and carving a tunnel of hope through the dark mountain of despair. “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light." Here and there an individual or group dares to love, and rises to the majestic heights of moral maturity. So in a real sense this is a great time to be alive.

Therefore, I am not yet discouraged about the future. Granted that the easygoing optimism of yesterday is impossible. Granted that those who pioneer in the struggle for peace and freedom will still face uncomfortable jail terms, painful threats of death; they will still be battered by the storms of persecution, leading them to the nagging feeling that they can no longer bear such a heavy burden, and the temptation of wanting to retreat to a more quiet and serene life. Granted that we face a world crisis which leaves us standing so often amid the surging murmur of life’s restless sea. But every crisis has both its dangers and its opportunities. It can spell either salvation or doom. In a dark confused world the kingdom of God may yet reign in the hearts of all.

Excerpt from Dr. King’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, 1964.

RESILIENCE CIRCLE SIGN UP SHEET




Name

Email

Phone

Address













































































































































RESILIENCE CIRCLE SIGN UP SHEET – SIGN YOUR NAME (LEGIBLY!) ON THE DAYS YOU ARE AVAILABLE



SUNDAY AFTERNOON

MONDAY EVENING

TUESDAY EVENING

WEDNESDAY EVE.

THURSDAY EVE.

SUNDAY EVENING













Resilience Circles: Progression of Sessions


Session 1:
Our Circle



(Strong Cultural ( Weak Cultural

Messages) Messages)









Sessions 2 & 3:
Change the Story

INDIVIDUAL

(Old Story)

TOGETHER
(New Story)





Sessions 4 & 5:
Strengthen Community

Session 6:
Change the Rules

Session 7:
What’s Next?

COMMUNITY

RESILIENCE/
REAL SECURITY


?

?


ISOLATION

POWERLESS

RECOVERY/
FALSE SECURITY


EMPOWERMENT

Resilience Circles: Overview of Sessions

Session 1 – Security and Insecurity

In this session, participants share their reasons for wanting to join a Resilience Circle and consider how dominant cultural messages keep us isolated and convince us to accept things as they are.



Session 2 - Changing the Story: A New Vision

The old economy created huge inequalities between the very wealthy and everyone else. Debt on both personal and societal levels has fueled unsustainable growth and overconsumption of the earth’s resources. In this session, we consider that our security depends not on a “recovery” to the old ways, but on imagining something different.



Session 3 - Changing the Story: Breaking Isolation

The old story about the economy tells us that we shouldn’t talk about our economic situation: it is either shamefully bad or embarrassingly good. This session creates a space for people to begin to break the habit of silence.



Session 4 - Strengthening Community: Real Wealth and Security

In Sessions 4 and 5 we consider the vital role our communities will play in building the new economy. In Session 4 we’ll consider new concepts of community wealth and security, and introduce the idea of mutual aid.


Session 5 - Strengthening Community: Mutual Aid

In this session, we will explore the proposition that ecological changes will deeply alter our economic lives – and that there is no going back to the economy of the past. This session also includes the exchanging of gifts and needs – a tangible experience that shows how much we can help each other.


Session 6 - Changing the Rules

In this session, we will explore the proposition that large corporations exert too much influence over the “rules” that govern our society. With a vision of a new economy (Sessions 2 and 3) and strengthened community ties (Sessions 4 and 5), we are equipped to engage in social action to rewrite these rules. We discuss what types of action the group is interested in.



Session 7 - What’s Next

Session 7 reviews what we have learned together and our vision for a new economy. We explore how we can build resilience together and what our next steps as a group will be.


Knowings, Questions, Gifts, and Needs


Two “Knowings” about our Economic Plight

Two Questions about our Economic Plight

Two “Knowings” about our Environmental Plight

Two Questions about our Environmental Plight

Two Wants/Needs


Two Offerings



1 Our experience suggests that it is a good idea to line up dates for all seven initial sessions in advance.

2 The Resilience Circle Network co-sponsored a webinar with Transtion US about how these two approaches are working together to increase resilience and security. See http://localcircles.org/?p=3486.

The Resilience Circle Network | http://localcircles.org | 617.477.8630 x307 | info@localcircles.org





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