A community facilitator is a person who uses time tested practices as well as their creativity, love and intuition to help people build thriving communities both geographically in their own neighborhood and socially with people with whom they can work with to create a better world.
After 35 years of research and experience about what helps communities, and thus people, thrive I have come up with this outline for training. This is still in process and I welcome your feedback. I feel grateful to Frankie Lee Slater , Forty Days for Life and my kids who started Fun, Fellowship and Service (find them on Facebook) for my most recent inspirations.
Proposal for Community Facilitator Training curriculum
Purpose: To offer intensive training to qualified people wh0 will work full time to help their region become a place where everyone who wants to can realize their fullest potential in ways that contribute to the highest good of all
The problem: People are overwhelmed. The majority of people want to make a difference but they don’t know what to do. Frankie Lee Slater of Circles Uniting helped me get to the gist of the problem. People are taking on things that are not their to do. And they are trying to do things by themselves. If we can empower people to realize their gifts, work with others to manifest those gifts in service and right livelyhood, and create an atmosphere of loving kindness where people feel a sense of belonging–things can change. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, people can feel peace, joy and love.
The solution: It is described below:
Big Picture: Three community facilitators from each region will be selected by churches, businesses, non-profit groups to be trained. These community facilitators will be funded by these groups so that they can devote full time service to this project. The umbrella organization will be the Kindness Alliance which will help connect all participants under an umbrella of service and kindness to all. The goal is that even those who do not have kindness and service as part of their value system will be so inspired by the actions of a critical mass of people that they will make positive changes.
Location of the training: A beautiful portion of the 27 acres of Wellspring Eco-village in formation is available right now to build a community and training center. A large complex with dining hall/gathering place, classrooms, and offices will be built. A cluster of homes and dormitories will be built along with micro-houses for those who need more privacy. A chapel and retreat center will be built. A separate cluster of homes and the birthing center for women and their families to live who have crises pregnancies.
Why a crises pregnancy center? We have chosen this area of service so that community facilitator trainees can have people to work with from a wide range of backgrounds. Because these women and their families can really use some help, we can be of mutual service. These women and their husbands (if involved) can also take the training and be ambassadors for the project. We hope that many other groups who serve other populations such as veterans, homeless, handicapped–will purchase the many available plots of land which are for sale near by so that we can become a model of what we are training.
Neighborhood outreach–Our trainees will practice in our own rural neighborhood and the towns of Kingston, Huntsville, Eureka Springs, and Fayetteville. WE will also demonstrate how we can have a regional network in Northwest Arkansas.
Trainers: They are still to be selected Frankie Lee Slater and I are looking into her being a trainer for a short period of time. We will have both on site teachers and people who come in for a short time.
Administration: Patricia Mikkelson will be director. Other staff still to be selected.
Components of the training
1. Nonviolent communication as taught by Marshall Rosenberg
2. The Gift in You This training by Dr. Carolyne Leaf helps people to get in touch with their unique giftsso that they can joyfully serve better.
3. Success teams Helping people to define their goals and carry them out
4. Circles uniting: From the description by Frankie Lee Slater: CIRCLES UNITING is a global connectivity project designed to direct consciousness to our essential Oneness, by empowering people everywhere to create their own circle projects and link them together as one continuous celebration of life. What we make of it will move us into our higher destiny as human beings, conscious co-creators with Creation itself, one family of the Earth. I am in communication with Frankie Lee who was my mentor a decade ago when I helped to spear head the Upholding the Tree Ordinance in Fayetteville, AR (which lead to the tree sit by Mary Lightheart) . I am excited that she is now mentoring me again.
5. Transition Town: This is a world wide movement that is growing. It is a community-led response to the pressures of climate change, fossil fuel depletion and increasingly, economic contraction.
6. Churches as Community Centers: This is a concept that I am developing based on many churches who are leaning in this direction. Students will learn how to connect with churches and inspire them to become a useful, integral part of their neighborhood motivated by the church members’ desires to both serve, and to pay the bills. I just found this model that I would like to look at more but it sounds like we are on the same wavelength http://www.dayspringinternational.org/mission
7. Staples Organic gardening: Although students will not need to learn every skill that it takes to build a strong community–they will have basic knowledge in the very simplest methods of raising the staple foods as well as encouraging wild edibles to grow naturally.
8. Open Space Technology Learning this process can help bring together diverse people with a common goal of creating a healthy community where everyone can thrive and everyone’s needs are met to create a strategic plan where all can use their gifts and passions to work together to implement the plan.
9. Right livelihood teams: Helping people to be part of a team that can monetize their dream for a better world. Matching up people with complementary talents and resources who share similar values and goals. I still need to research the best way to do this.
10. Pro-life group coalition building: Students will learn how to reach out to and create alliances within the pro-life groups such as Right To Life, 40 Days for Life, and crises pregnancy centers. By helping these groups to work together, they can be in more of a position to reach out to those with differing view points in bridge building and dialogue. This is the most divisive topic (according to polls). Because pro-life people are very passionate about their views and they have a lot of compassion about all aspects of life, they will be an important part of the forward momentum of the community building.
11. Bridge building skills Students will learn how to facilitate dialogue sessions between people of opposite view points to help build connection and cooperation. This will be essential in helping to harness the untapped energy of so many people who are divided and conquered because of their differing views.