Communities Conference Success – beyond organizer myopia

It has been at least 10 years since we have had so many participants at the communities conference, and because of indoor overnight accommodations (which were not available in the past) it looks like we will make more money than we have in a long time.

But neither of these metrics are as important as a number of others.  There was a long line of exotic and interesting communities which are forming and looking for new members.  There were a significant number of spiritual communities represented in the meet the communities presentation this year and that is relatively new.    We still are a dominantly white middle class group, but there are certainly some people of color and economic diversity represented.

And what makes the event magical is the perception that many of these dreams might actually manifest, that progressive and radical participants are finding communities and are find new folks to live with.  One participant joked to me “Stop it already with these helpful and friendly people, i have to go back to the real world where it is nothing like that.”  And it is a very pleasant crowd and the content from reviewing the transformational components of the occupy movement to what secular communities can learn from spiritual ones, to join or start a new community, were well received.

I explained to Janel the idea of organizer myopia.  She was worried that the water was only intermittently available because our well was damaged in the earthquake and adding 160 outsiders for the conference is a significant demand.  We had to make a number of quick housing changes to accommodate for mistakes i had made in room assigning.  The food lines were long and she was concerned the event might be flopping.

One year at Ecotopia France there were a host of problems.  The water line up the mountain broke and there was no water for 200 people.  A polish bus had gotten stopped at the French boarder and they were keep a dozen participants from arriving.  So of the food which was suppose to come from town had gotten lost and the toilets were not being cleaned and the fax machine had died.  A hut of half a dozen organizers were in small building freaking out at various levels and there was an overall feeling of gloom.  Then an organizer came in and as people tried to heap their woes on her she batted them off.

“Look i was just outside, there are dozen workshops going on and people are engaged.  There are 3 different language trainings that are on going.  The coffeehouse last night had talent thru the roof and people were loving their experience here.  The fact that what you see is the logistical problems which abound does not mean people are not having a great time.”

Organizer myopia is when you see all the problems with an event and you assume the participants are having the same critical evaluation of it that you are, when often they are not.

Pictures at 11





Tags: , ,

About paxus

a funologist, memeticist and revolutionary. Can be found in the vanity bin of Wikipedia and in locations of imminent calamity. buckle up, there is going to be some rough sledding.

7 responses to “Communities Conference Success – beyond organizer myopia”

  1. Keenan Dakota says :


    • jim adams says :

      vis-a-vis “organizer myopia” — my questions would be: was the food good? Did kitchen provide enough for all? If your answer to this is “yes”, then my past experiences still rule:

      I managed the conference kitchen at TO for at least 14 conferences– 5 or 6 men’s gathers and 8 or 9 community gathers. I would start my Opening Circle introduction with: “Welcome to the Center of the Universe. I call the conference kitchen ‘Center of the Universe” because, if the food is good, then everything goes well, even when it doesn’t. And if the food is NOT good, then nothing goes well, even when it does”. And always, several people would shake their heads and tell me i was dreaming, or mistaken, or didn’t know what i was talking about.

      And most of them would come back at the end of the conference and apologize. We always had good food and lots of it, and participants raved about the conferences, even when drenching downpours and high winds collapsed tents, soaked sleeping bags, and made kitchen serving difficult. I found out that people eat about a third more in camp than they do back at Zk or at their homes. So we always had lots of food.

      To me, this is a large part of what is behind Pax’s “organizer myopia”. But we ARE saying the same thing. Really.

  2. germanbini says :

    I thought the whole thing was awesome, and I didn’t hear any complaints except we wished it was longer, and that there was more time to go to more workshops!

    • paxus says :

      Thanks Sabrina: it was great to have a EW rep there, who gave such a thorough FEC prinicpals review that the rest of us presenters could just refer to what you said.

  3. anissa says :

    its a good a reminder to us organisers…sometimes the events success (it took waaay long for me to work that one out keenan) takes others forms than what was on the organisers wishlists too. I recently heard some awesome stories of eco and social justice projects that were stimulated by conversations i had with folks in croatia years ago during the war. I had walked away feeling like i hadn’t done what i set out too but meanwhile the magic had been bubbling away….

  4. moonraven222 says :

    It was a fantastic conference–thank you to you and Janel and Valerie and Irena and Ira and everyone who had a hand in making it happen.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: