by Mary Lowers

Nearly hundred community members concerned about how our residents will plan to thrive and survive in the tenuous times we face attended a weekend conference March 24-26. After months of careful planning, Colorado College at the Baca Grande hosted the Resiliency Conference, which took the participants through the Search Conference model to action groups creating plans for community sustainability.

The Search Conference model was developed in England in 1959 to find common ground between two corporations who were merging. The model using a “funnel” process to find common ground and themes for change is very successful. A Search Conference held in the Crestone/Baca community in 1995 set many goals in motion and into creation, including the Crestone Charter School.

Among the professional staff brought in from Denver to facilitate this gathering was Elaine Granata, who facilitated the 1995 conference. Comparing the 2017 process to the 1995 conference she said, “The two conferences are very comparable in terms of energy and engagement. People who attended the 1995 conference report it was critical to accomplishing desired changes.”

Beginning with large group participation, goals were identified. Breaking into smaller groups, ideas and concerns were established and fleshed out. Starting from planetary concerns to the small concerns of our community issues, situations were discussed and action plans formulated over the twenty-some hour event. The process was intense. Denye Scott, half-way through the event, told me, “This community is on fire to create a sustainable conscious living model for the possibility, not the probability.”

The process seemed to work, and participation was enthusiastic. Working on concerns and plans that were gleaned from the entire group on “common ground” allowed for a group consensus around issues to address in smaller circles. “My favorite piece of the conference was gathering in circles. In indigenous traditions circles neutralize negativity. Energetically there are no sides,” Malathy said.

On Saturday evening San Luis Valley troubadour Don Richmond performed for attendees. Kathryn Lorenz was inspired by “Don Richmond’s powerful vision of the valley, reminding us of the beauty we have.”

Core concepts emerged on Sunday and action groups were formed. These groups formed around specific issues are committed to bring the core concepts into reality for the common good. Participant Paul Jackson said, “Amazing commitment and participation. I wish the whole community could participate.” It turns out the whole community can be part of this creative process.  Action groups are looking for people eager to prepare and execute their plans. Listed below are the action groups with contact information so you too can help facilitate necessary change.

The event was inspiring. Doug Beechwood and his company Terra Media donated $5,800 worth of equipment rental and labor to facilitate technology for the weekends conference.

Action groups will show the community how they can plug in to this exciting process. Vivia Lawson described the Resiliency Conference as “a wonderful and powerful experience of community.”

How you can join in Resiliency

The following action groups were formed at the conference. If you are interested in participating in one of these areas, please call the liaison person listed.

Community Center—Goal: multi-purpose, multi-generational community center in two to three years. Liaison: Lars Skogen 719-256-5845

Community Development—Goal: form a corporation or coop to facilitate development to agreed-upon capacity. Fundraising for all action groups. Liaison: Carolanne Robinson: 719-256-4119

Energy—Goal: self sufficiency in ten years. Liaison: Janet Woodman 719-256-4956

Food—Goal: In three to five years community food self sufficiency. Liaison: Sharon Langstom: 719-937-7755

Governance—Goal: to explore options for unity in the community to implement change. Liaison: William Howell 719-588-5498

Housing—Goal: Affordable housing for Crestone and the Baca. Liaison: Adam Fries 970-426-9446

Paradigm Shift—Goal: work with awareness and support action groups. Liaisons: Sandy Skibinski 207-837-7146 & Alexander Koffi 719-221-0867

Water—Goal: safe and sufficient water for the Crestone/Baca area. Liaison: Jane Thomas 719-256-5910