On a sunny winter’s day at the end of August, around 50 people gathered for conversations at the Fairhaven Surf Life Saving Club.
People from community groups and government agencies who are passionate about our coastal environment spent the day sharing stories and their ideas for the future. I was privileged to help the Coast Action – Coast Care team at DSE design and facilitate the event. Matt, the state manager of the program, does a great job at nailing the purpose of the forum.
My friend and colleague Chris Corrigan has re shaped my approach to the design of these events. Chris says “Don’t just design a workshop … design a harvest”. By harvest he means …
“There is no point in doing work in the world unless we plan to harvest the fruits of our labours. Harvesting includes making meaning of our work, telling the story and feeding forward our results so that they have the desired impacts in the world.” Source – Chaordic Stepping Stones from the Art of Hosting website and more recently …
“Just as important as designing the process for participatory engagement is the imperative to be clear what you are harvesting from the effort. Harvesting refers to taking what has value from the process.” Source – Recent thinking on Participatory Engagement
And so for this Volunteer Forum, I encouraged the hosting group (Jess at DSE, Gail at GORCC) to plan for a Harvest so that we could continue the conversation with the workshop group and people beyond. Here is one example of something we created to share and carry forward …
Another way of sharing (and better understanding) the fruits of our labour was to ‘blog about it’. Rather than create a boring pdf report that no one would ever read, we committed to writing a series of blog posts that summarised what emerged from conversations and group activities. Here are the links to various posts written on the GORCC Blog … (and great work here by Gail Chrisfield of GORCC and Jessica Brown of DSE to bring this to life!) … these are mostly a collection of stories that were shared and explored by group members and now open for anyone to read and comment on.
Playful Whale heralds and great day for Forum goers – an overview of the day
And these blog posts came from a process (at the end of the video clip) we used called Jumpstart Stories – where participants share stories with each other and select the most compelling to communicate forward …
Taking the Initiative – by Andy Grey at Ecologic
Creating Interest in old and young alike – by Cate Barham who started the Ocean Group Coast Action group
Sending a Message – by Kristy Theissling of the Surfrider Foundation
Boxthron no match for community enterprise – by Judy Spafford of the Princetown Landcare Group