I attended the regional gathering, actually not the entire thing, but was there for a couple go rounds of open space, and catching one that was in progress when I arrived. I cut and will paste a note I wrote to my initiating group in Montague, MA about it:
These are things that stood out for me from the regional gathering on sunday.
In Tot Ness they have a three hour meeting once a month. They send in agenda items ahead of time to make the agenda from everyone's requested items.
I suggest we do the same.
In Cummington they have transition community spaces for sewing together and for a library - I have several sewing machines and lots of books I would put out for public use, should we ever get to this level, and I would be happy to show up for sewing nights and guide people in whatever they are interested in - in Cummington the are "bag free" they said (as in plastic bag free) -- i would like to get more details, and they do clothing repair together. ANother kind of no-brainer is to share items - have a public space to keep things we are willing for other people to borrow or take - like a free store.
Another standout during "food" openspace discussion: someone from cummiongton said she lets her neighbor keep bees next to their bees because they have a bear proof fence and her neighbor lets her keep pigs with his pigs, and across the street they keep chickens with their neighbor's - amazing
Also, back to this current post I'm writing, when I first arrived at the regional gathering, mid conversation, the female trainer from the UK was talking about the issue of wealth vs not wealth and how transition doesn't address it directly, but that really in transition it will come down to those with more resources sharing with those with less, in order for everyone to get together and take care of everyone - I guess in a way this goes without saying, but is very hard to talk about and also is probably such a huge shift in reality in the USA, that will take some time, leadership , etc to come to terms with for people (especially ones in position to share). SHe said she was interested in adding some language into the transition model with Rob when she got back that would address that issue.
I just joined this group and forum, so this was my first exposure to the request - I will try to think back: I admired the way the transition trainer from the UK managed the facilitation of one of the openspace conversations - I feel we have a lot to learn about how to make meetings and conversations flow - he made it look simple. He asked for a topic within the agreed larger topic, then asked for responses and just followed that thread until there were no more responses, then asked the group what other topic they wanted to discus, and followed that thread till it was done. When someone tried to change the topic, he directed it back, till the original topic was finished, and then would pick up the other subject. Open space is great - helps to have an experienced facilitator.
There was one person speaking a lot, in the first conversation, who was from the city - it seems a bit easier to rally the troops of an area when you have large groups of people who aren't usually asked to participate in something important and be in a grass roots movement - he seemed to be able to put work groups together and eventually appoint someone from the group to be in charge, once he saw who had some natural leadership skills, then step aside and have those people embrace it as "their project", instead of directing them. This was work on improving things and making gardens in the low income inner city (I forget where - not MA) I am wondering if every town has groups of people who aren't usually political or even progressive thinkers at all, who would be a similar population - who maybe could get things done more easily that all these "knowledgeable people" who sometimes are way too busy or there are ego issues, etc. Housewives and get-it-done-salt of the earth people - more the "hands" aspect I suppose - creating movement and progress by the experience of creating something tangible together in work groups - I'm really looking forward to this part of transition.
I would love to discuss further if people have the desire, but not sure how this site works yet.
Montague Center, Western mass, pioneer valley
Thanks for responding to this thread, Shauna. I attended the gathering (as David knows), and have been waiting for people from the western part of the state, who constituted by far the bulk of the roughly 75 attendees, to share their impressions. I fear the lack of responses before today merely reflects that many members of this site do not pay attention to the Forum (and also that many who attended the gathering do not yet belong to this site). Now that we in Massachusetts have paid for and control this site, I will make a concerted effort to encourage more people to be engaged and use it. Ultimately it will also depend on the enthusiasm of members like Shauna to promote involvement by others in their local communities. As David writes in his first reply, this site makes it "so easy to share with a larger circle," and that sharing is fundamental to the spirit of Transition.
I can confirm Shauna's impression that Naresh Giangrande and Sophie Banks from Totnes are both terrific facilitators - they have clearly had a lot of valuable experience managing discussion groups. As Shauna says, they had an effortless style that made it look simple.
Shauna describes an organizer "from the city" who "seemed... able to put work groups together" -- I am confident she is referring to Fred Brown from Pittsburgh, who, according to Tina Clarke, is becoming a Transition Trainer.