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Farewell NVC Summerfest 2018

Yesterday we had our final debriefing with the Summerfest core team. We had a chance to review feedback from everybody who came, including ourselves. As a team, we were very happy with how the Summerfest went this year — the sun shone, the venue was beautiful, the food was great, there was plenty of fun, a strong sense of community, and deep learning!

We weren’t aiming for perfection — not that this is achievable. We explored how to live together in our temporary camp community, and how to bring the spirit of Nonviolent Communication into our actions and institutions. We were seven certified trainers, one other core team member, nine volunteers, 30 children, plus another 39 adults. That’s 85 in total, twice as many as last year! We ranged from 10 months to the mid-seventies.

Here are some photos to give you a taste of our time together (there are more photos on the Summerfest homepage):

Summerfest 2018: hammocks

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Hammock Village — where the kids hung out. Photo courtesy www.sonalle.com

In the morning after breakfast the community came together for connection time and planning the day, which was done with an adapted Open Space format. With 85 voices, sometimes the meeting went on longer than we intended! However, the day got planned, including NVC sessions and fun. Activities were open to all ages, unless specified otherwise. This helped to integrate the different age groups present in the community.

Fun included swimming in the lake, slipping down the Slip ’n’ Slide, sweating in the sauna, swinging in the Hammock Village, singing by the fire, scaring each other during Werewolf (a role play game), plus pottery, artwork, and an all-singing, all-dancing No Need for Talent Show in the last evening!

Families, couples, and singles learned new ways of working with conflict, which they took home with them to try out in daily life. In our empathy home groups, there was space for each person to be heard deeply. A team of people were available to support others when tensions arose, before it got to conflict.

We’re grateful for everybody’s efforts to make the Summerfest a beautiful experience! We’re also learning how to do things differently. Next year we want to give more attention to people who come to the Summerfest on their own, to help them feel included. We will also review how we structure the morning circle, to care for everybody’s time and energy!

We’re planning for the same dates next year: Tuesday 30 July – Sunday 4 August 2019. Could you mark the dates in your diary? We will send out further information nearer the time. See you there!

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