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August 13-17, 2013
Social Permaculture: Nurturing Effective and Creative Groups

O.U.R. Ecovillage in British Columbia
taught by Starhawk and Charles Williams

In this course, our primary focus is on the principles and tools for social permaculture and healthy group interactions. We teach interactively, through many exercises, group discussions, experiences and reflections. Each day in the afternoon we'll have hands-on permaculture projects that provide us with opportunities to use our social tools while learning some permaculture techniques and skills ("stacking functions"). Physical work is geared to individuals' capacities and people of all levels of ability will be able to participate.

The Course
When we come together to co-create, to empower one another or to challenge the structures of unjust power, we face unique challenges. All groups struggle with issues of power, conflicts, and the need to make decisions. Collaborative groups may be healing, nurturing, and inspirational—or they may founder on the rocks of conflict and poor communication.

In this five-day intensive, we'll explore how to structure our groups for maximum group health, how to share power fairly, improve our communication skills, mediate conflicts and facilitate group processes. And we'll share tools for decision making and constructive critique. Starhawk's latest book, The Empowerment Manual: A Guide for Collaborative Groups, will be our foundation.

We'll balance the process work with time outdoors in nature, including hands-on work on the land, as well as walks, bird sits and wilderness awareness. Insights from both permaculture and magic will help us learn to be more effective and joyful as we work together to regenerate our world.

The Social Permaculture Course is for you, if...

• you work with a community group, collective, coven, circle, affiliate, or any aggregate of folks who are making decisions and creating collective processes;
• you are a Transition Town initiative anywhere in the world;
• you are a member of an NGO that is committed to nonprofit activities;
• you are a shareholder in a cooperative of any type;
• and let's face it… if you belong to a family, live around other humans, or generally have social relations: this course is for all of us!

Early bird special through June 15: $699 CND; after June 15: $799 CND.
Includes camping, chef-cooked yummy (mostly organic) meals, and all materials.
A limited number of partial work-trade options are available for this course. Please contact O.U.R. Ecovillage to apply for work trade.

To Register:

About the Place
O.U.R. Ecovillage is a permaculture-based intentional community and sustainable education demonstration site. It is located on 25 acres atop Baldy Mountain in a small community called Shawnigan Lake, on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. For more information about O.U.R. Ecovillage, to take a photo tour, and ask questions about accommodations and food, please visit ourecovillage.org/.


Star and Charles at O.U.R. in 2012

OUR mountain top
sitting on top of the world—on Baldy Mountain,BC

OUR dancers
shake up your next meeting

Recommended reading:
Starhawk. The Empowerment Manual: A Guide for Collaborative Groups
Starhawk. And "The Five-Fold Path of Productive Meetings" (download free at starhawk.org/).

What's the plan?
Here's our daily agenda—we are also flexible and responsive to the group's needs and willing to follow the energy where it takes us!
Daily Schedule
Breakfast: 7-8:30 AM
Morning circle: 9 AM
Morning session: 9:30 AM
Lunch: 12:30 PM
Afternoon session: 2:30-5 PM
Break: 5-6 PM
Dinner: 6-7 PM
Evening session: 7:30-9:30 PM

Daily Agenda
Morning: Arrival and registration.
Afternoon: Build altar, set up.
Evening: Introductions to one another, introduction to the course. Ritual—create biobrew/set intentions. Intention meditation. Form affinity groups.
Morning Circle: Opening ritual. Observing and storytelling.
Morning: The game of "yes." The mandala of healthy groups. Affinity group stories: the group cultures we come from. Power and responsibility. Many types of power. Power and privilege. (Meditation).
Afternoon: Consensus session. Walking meditation: What type of power do you have? What responsibility do you carry? Building an herb spiral in ritual. Reflection on roles, how we exercise power.
Evening: Facilitating group decision-making: "The Five-Fold Path of Productive Meetings."
Morning circle: Elemental sculptures.
Morning: Communication/Trust. Feedback and constructive critique. Energetic support—hassle lines. Apology practice. Nonviolent Communication—request versus demand.
Afternoon: Gardening projects and leadership roles. Positive and shadow sides of leadership. Reflection.
Evening: Trust-building. Ritual co-creation. Saturday:
Morning circle: Anchoring to core self.
Morning: Conflict transformation. Difference between misunderstanding and wrongdoing. Backing down the ladder of assumptions—demonstration and practice. Difficult people—brainstorm, role plays. Afternoon: Short hands-on—mulching blitz. Group problem-solving brainstorms, role-plays.
Evening: Fire ritual. Make biochar. Song circle or story circle—everyone gets a chance to shine.
Morning circle: Cheering on.
Morning: Facilitation, part two. Creating agendas. Dealing with problems.
Afternoon: Closing ritual: Claiming our power.
Clean up

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