Workshop to reach 'Across the (Political) Divide'

— This free session will help participants move past political discord and navigate their ways toward stronger relationships —

The Nugget Newspaper, Oct. 10, 2018
By Sue Stafford

In the spirit of election season, Citizens4Community is sponsoring an "Across the Divide" workshop 4-8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 30 at City Hall. They are currently recruiting 12-15 people who identify politically as Red (conservative) and 12-15 who identify as Blue (liberal).

The workshop is designed to help people on either side of the divide understand and value their differences, while co-existing alongside one another, resulting in development of empathy for each other and mutual conversation.

Workshop presenter Heidi Venture, of Heidi Venture Consulting LLC in Hood River, received her master's degree in organizational leadership from Gonzaga University. She has long been concerned about the lack of civility between political parties. She is taking on the challenge of helping people learn to have civil discussions and relationships across the political divide.

Venture will educate the participants around common values, the problems of dehumanization, and communication skills that don't strive to change people's minds but build bridges to greater understanding of differences.

The communication skills include reflective compassionate listening, listening for values, using "I" messages, and forming questions to deepen understanding. These skills make it possible to discuss political issues—and keep talking.

Venture's main goal is to have workshop participants from either side of the aisle end the evening with a hug and perhaps going out for pizza together.

This is an experiential workshop just for participants with no audience. There will be a light meal provided. It is offered free of charge thanks to financial support from the Ford Family Foundation.

— Click HERE for more information and to learn how you can reserve your free seat for this valuable workshop. —

C4C seeks to help ease political divisiveness

Have you found yourself concerned about the political divide in our country? Are you interested in finding ways to work together to create solutions—like our Founding Fathers did—based on ideals this country was established on?

Do you want to be open to understanding the other side and valuing what they contribute to our democracy?…Or think a solution may be found in relationships and communication skills?

To address these issues, Citizens4Community (C4C) will host the non-partisan “Across the Divide” workshop on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2018. The 4-8:30 p.m. session will include a catered meal for participants. The event will take place at Sisters City Hall, 520 E. Cascade Ave.  

Consultant Heidi Venture developed the workshop based on principles introduced by Jonathan Haidt in The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion. Venture will help workshop participants engage in an interactive, non-confrontational discussion to explore ideas and practice communication skills aimed at resolving conflicts and bridging differences.

“Many people are hungry for ways to impact the painful divide that has developed between ‘Reds’ and ‘Blues’,” says Venture.  “While most of us are unlikely to have the opportunity or power to make an impact at a national or state level, we can all work on improving the way we relate to each other as individuals in our own communities.”

The “Across the Divide” workshop is designed for equal numbers of self-described conservatives (“Reds”) and liberals (“Blues”) and is limited to the first 30 participants who sign up (15 in each category).

Those interested in participating in this free workshop are invited to register using THIS FORM (click). Deadline for registration is Oct. 24.

Are You Ready to Get Rhythmic?

Rhythm & Song In the Park is fast approaching. And we're wanting to offer a shout out to our great partners in this event, including Earthtones NW, SPRD, the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District, Melvin's by Newport Avenue Market, Ford Family Foundation, and community musicians including Maggie Johnson, on flute; Cameron and Tree, on gongs and singing bowls; Kirk Olsen on African guitar; Shannon Mokuahi Rackowski, with traditional Hawaiian instruments and dance;  Katie Cavanaugh on Native American flute; and Annemarie Crosier, with African drum, song and dance.

Join us at the information table to learn about C4C's other upcoming events this summer and to hear the latest about Sisters' visioning effort—Sisters Country Horizons.

Also, thank you to the staff at the Nugget Newspaper for their wonderful support. To read the Nugget's article on C4C's trio of summertime events, click HERE.

For more details, see our Events page listing.

 

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Quilt and Quilt Web Page Debut

The 2018 SISTERS COUNTRY QUILT made its debut today (July 14) at the SISTERS OUTDOOR QUILT SHOW. If you weren't able to see the quilt in person, you can visit it at the DESCHUTES COUNTY FAIR or one of  C4C'S UPCOMING COMMUNITY-WIDE EVENTS. Also, check out our webpage dedicated to the quilt, HERE. The page highlights the quilt's story and features the 180-plus sentiments written on the quilt.  

Help Us Design Two New 'Play' Date Events

C4C welcomes your ideas and input as we develop two new local events intended to build community and connection through rhythm, song and dance. Please join us at 5:30 p.m. May 24 for a dynamic planning meeting at Sisters City Hall. Your knowledge and support will help shape the vision for these new summertime events and bring them to life. 

A Little Background

You’re probably aware of Sisters Country “Horizons”—the area’s ongoing visioning effort. C4C is excited to be a partner in that effort. Not surprisingly, Horizons feedback is indicating a strong desire to preserve and promote connections to arts and our natural environment. Likewise, input is showing a strong desire to preserve community connections—to protect our neighborly, “small-town” feel, even as Sisters grows.  

Preserving that sense of fellowship is an ongoing challenge for many communities, especially when tough or divisive issues arise. But, with your help, we can meet that challenge.

THe Vision: Two Summertime 'Play' Dates

As you know, summer is a special time in Sisters: warm evenings; family togetherness; friends and neighbors; good music and food; parks and time to play. The more we engage with one another, the more we understand our common heartbeat—those shared values that bridge our differences.

So, both of these new events seek to unite our community through "play" and active group music-making (rhythm, song and dance). Both gatherings will be accessible, all-inclusive and welcoming to people of all ages and abilities.

The first Sisters Community "Play Date" event will take place July 19th in Village Green Park. Jodi Winnwalker and friends will facilitate a Community Rhythm and Song Circle. Sisters residents of all ages will be invited to participate in this fun event. They can beat a drum, shake a shaker or simply share a picnic on the lawn with friends. The instruments (drums, rattles and more) will be provided. And attendees also are welcome to bring their own instruments. No musical experience is required.

The second "Play Date” event will turn the Fire Hall Community Room into a family dance night, offering music and good times with old and new-found friends. Jane Paxson and friends will lead the group in fun, easy-to-learn community dances designed for all ages and abilities. Again, no experience is required.

The May 24 Planning Meeting—What to Expect:

On May 24th, we'll be looking for your help to plan how we can best reveal the heartbeat of our community through these rhythm, song and dance events. The meeting will be co-facilitated by Robyn Holdman, Jodi Winnwalker and Jane Paxson. The May 24 agenda will include the following: 

• Brief Introductions

• Overview of the C4C mission, plus presentation of the current vision for the July and August community events and how they would contribute to a “bridging the divide” statewide initiative that has been launched by Ford Family Foundation

• An invitation to engage in a rhythm and song demonstration

• A brainstorm session to explore:

1) events and activities that might be similar to what we are proposing.

2) how we can structure both summer events to be most successful.

3) what additional variables we need to consider in our planning.

4) ways you might help to get the word out to our diverse community.

5) ways to measure success of this program.

6) ideas for funding now and in the future.

We are excited to share ideas and hear your input.

If you can, please RSVP by May 22nd (see the form below) to let us know you'll be attending the May 24th planning meeting. If you are unable to join us on the 24th, we still would like to hear from you. Please send us an email sharing your thoughts for how these and other events can help us establish and strengthen relationships as we identify and address the issues that divide us.

Sincerely, The Citizens4Community Team

Program Committee volunteers: Jane Paxson, Jodi Winnwalker, Wendy Birnbaum & Amy Burgstahler

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Community Gatherings Will Help Shape Sisters Country

Civic engagement is a C4C cornerstone. So we’ve been partnering with Sisters Country Horizons to help promote broad participation in the visioning project. …

This week, Horizons is launching a series of public meetings. We urge you to attend one or more of these events and to invite your friends and neighbors along, too. Your input will help shape what Sisters Country will look and feel like for years to come. It’s the perfect time to engage…

The Sisters Country Horizons series of Community Meetings begins Thursday evening, April 12, and runs through mid-May.

The meetings are a continuation of public engagement activities, which included a series of C4C information and activity booths and the launch of an online community survey in March. The survey runs through the end of April.

About a dozen meetings will be conducted in and around the city of Sisters as well as more rural areas of Sisters Country. Meetings are free and open to the public. Below is a schedule of meeting dates, times and venues. Please email info@sistershorizons.org if you have questions about specific meeting dates, venues or times.

  • Thursday, April 12, 6:30-8 p.m., Sisters Camp Sherman Fire District
  • Tuesday, April 17, 9:30-11 a.m., Sisters Library, Library Meeting Room
  • Tuesday, April 24, 2:30-4 p.m., Sisters Library, Library Meeting Room
  • Thursday, April 26, 5:30-7 p.m., Sisters Park & Recreation District
  • Wednesday, May 2, 6:30-8 p.m., Sisters City Hall, Council Chambers
  • Wednesday, May 2, 6:30-8 p.m., Plainview, Sisters Church of the Nazarene
  • Thursday, May 3, 3-4:30 p.m., Aspen Lakes, Brand 33 Lodge
  • Wednesday, May 8, 6:30-8 p.m., Tollgate

Several additional meetings, including a meeting with members of Sisters’ Latino
community are in the process of being scheduled. People can check Sisters Country Horizons’ Facebook page for updates.

As Sisters Country spends the next several months forming a vision together, these kinds of discussions will help lay the groundwork for people to then take action to make that vision happen.”
— Sarah Giles, Oregon's Kitchen Table

Every community meeting will last approximately 90 minutes and engage participants in a series of questions similar to those used in the online survey. Due to the large number of venues, the meetings should be smaller in their attendance numbers with more opportunity for comment.

Oregon’s Kitchen Table, a project of the National Policy Consensus Center at Portland State University, is helping to plan the Community Meetings. Volunteer facilitators drawn from City of Sisters and Deschutes County staff and the community will help run the meetings.

“Community meetings and conversations with friends, family members, neighbors, and co-workers allow people to learn from each other and try to identify areas where they have shared values and hopes for the future of Sisters,” said Sarah Giles, Project Manager at Oregon’s Kitchen Table. “As Sisters Country spends the next several months forming a vision together, these kinds of discussions will help lay the groundwork for people to then take action to make that vision happen.”

'DIY' Kitchen Table Conversations Also An Option

For those who are interested, there is also a "DIY" option for residents to host their own meetings with neighbors and friends. Called "Kitchen Table Conversations," residents can download a meeting packet with instructions and then turn the results of their conversations into Sisters City Hall. (See the Sisters Country Horizons website for more information.)

Information gathered at all Community Meetings and Kitchen Table Conversations sessions will become part of the database of citizen comments and ideas for the future of Sisters Country. Results will be recorded anonymously.

Sisters Country Horizons is a project of the City of Sisters in partnership with Deschutes County and Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council (COIC). The project is funded by all three groups and will run for the rest of 2018.

Outcomes Include Action Plan

The final outcome of the project will be a vision statement and action plan. The plan will update and replace the original Sisters Country vision plan developed in 2007. The plan will be owned by the City of Sisters, but the County, COIC, other public agencies, community organizations and private businesses are expected to be partners in plan implementation.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for residents of the City and unincorporated areas of the County to come together and craft a joint vision for our community," said Patrick Davenport, the City's Director of Community Development. "We welcome and encourage everyone to contribute to the process to make this effort a success."

C4C's 'Community Through Arts' Quilt Project Comes Together

(NOTE: THE 2018 SISTERS COUNTRY QUILT IS MAKING ITS DEBUT JULY 14 AT THE SISTERS OUTDOOR QUILT SHOW. IF YOU AREN'T ABLE TO SEE THE QUILT IN PERSON AT THE SHOW, YOU CAN LEARN MORE ABOUT THE QUILT AND READ ITS COMMENTS ON OUR SPECIAL PAGE DEDICATED TO THE QUILT, HERE.)

  The Sisters Country—Our Values, Our Vision—signature quilt that many of you helped create has moved into the quilting stage. During the past couple weeks, the quilt—which features more than 180 local sentiments—was sewn together. Seeing the squares brought together, each square with its own unique feel and message, has been very rewarding and exciting. The quilt offers such a nice metaphor for community. Thank you again to everyone who inked their values and visions—and even their sketches—onto the quilt. Special thanks to East of the Cascades Quilters and to generous materials suppliers, like Stichin' Post and Kathy Deggendorfer Designs. You all made this C4C “Community Through Arts” project possible. Stay tuned for updates, including an overview of themes that emerged as are residents contributed to this legacy textile art piece. And remember to look for the community quilt during the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show—Saturday, July 14.

Click image above to enlarge.

Check Out Your New ‘Horizons'—the Visioning Project Website, Survey

Thank you, Sisters Country! 

You helped make Citizens4Community's recent visioning and quilt-signing booths a success. Special thanks to our volunteers and to Ray’s, Sisters Library and Suttle Tea for hosting these four events. Stay tuned for updates as the Community Values & Visioning Quilt comes colorfully alive and as C4C helps present a visioning event focusing on senior issues next month (April 25).

In the meantime...

C4C is continuing to partner with the visioning project (i.e., Sisters Country Horizons). And here are the most recent developments... 

Horizons just rolled out some great new tools for you...AN OFFICIAL WEBSITE (www.sistershorizons.org) and an ONLINE SURVEY. The website features event calendars and a wealth of background information.

We encourage you to take the survey, get involved, and nudge friends and neighbors to do the same. Your input today will help determine what our community looks and feels like in the years to come. Will Sisters Country still have those things you love? Will it be a good place to: work, play, raise a family, and retire? 

As a bonus, when you complete the survey, you'll be entered in a drawing for a pair of $25 Chamber Bucks Certificates donated by the Sisters Country Chamber of Commerce. 

Thank you, and good luck on winning the Chamber Bucks!     —The C4C Team

C4C supports Sisters Country Horizons planning, outreach

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Citizens4Community is pleased to be helping with outreach efforts for the local visioning initiative—Sisters Country Horizons. This is an exciting time for our community. And it's a great time to engage, because conversations held during the next several months will impact local planning for years to come. We encourage you to participate in upcoming Horizons events; and we'll link to the project website when it goes live in a couple weeks. The following article offers details about the project.

Sisters Country initiative to capture the community voice, plan for the future

A group of agencies and nonprofits, led by the City of Sisters, is embarking on a visioning and planning initiative to help determine what kind of community residents want Sisters Country to be in 5, 10 and 20 years.

The Sisters Country Horizons initiative will officially launch with a regional survey of residents in mid-March. Following several months of community outreach, visioning and planning work, a Vision Action Plan is expected to be released in late 2018 or early 2019.

A logo has been designed for the effort, and a website (sistershorizons.org) will go live in mid-March, along with a Facebook page.

The last, similar visioning project for Sisters was completed in 2007. The city and the surrounding unincorporated community has grown significantly since then.

“We want to look at where we currently are as a community, what we value, and where we would like to go,” said Patrick Davenport, City of Sisters Community Development Director. “This is a great opportunity for residents and community leaders to shape our future together — and for the benefit of all.”

Nick Lelack, Deschutes County Community Development Director, agreed. “This is an extraordinary opportunity for city and county residents to collaborate on a collective vision for the future of this region,” he said.

NXT Consulting Group of Portland and Bend will oversee the project’s scope of work. As project sponsor, the City of Sisters will provide funding and staff support, as will Deschutes County and the Central Oregon Intergovernmental Council (COIC).

"COIC is excited to be supporting the City of Sisters and Deschutes County in their work to develop the Vision,” said Scott Aycock, COIC Community and Economic Development Manager. “Such work is essential in translating citizen values and goals into action."

Portland State University’s "Oregon's Kitchen Table", a program at PSU's College of Urban and Public Affairs, will help with community outreach work. This will include a series of community meetings facilitated by trained volunteers as well as DIY "kitchen table" sessions led by residents themselves in April and May, and four major community forums, each on a different focus area, in May and June.

Sisters' Citizens4Community also will help with outreach during its Values & Visioning events on March 9-10 and March 16-17. Visitors to the Values & Visioning booths can fill out a short Sisters Country Horizons questionnaire and engage in other activities. The booths will be staffed from 2:30 to 6 p.m., March 9, at Ray’s Food Place; from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., March 10, at Ray’s Food Place; from 2 to 5:30 p.m., March 16, at the Sisters Library; and from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., March 17, at Suttle Tea.

Along with the survey of residents and interviews of opinion leaders throughout the Sisters Country area, input from the public meetings will help shape the community profile, vision and plan.

The visioning and planning work will follow a values-based collaborative approach, known as the Oregon Model of Visioning, developed by NXT Consulting planner Steven Ames and utilized by some 25 cities in Oregon. By analyzing what residents value about their community, and where they want it to head in coming years, a community can set realistic strategies and actions to reach those goals and be confident that people who live there are supportive of these directions.

This model also plans for all aspects of a community. For Sisters, the four focus areas are currently planned to include "Livable Sisters" (housing, transportation, growth and planning, parks and recreation, environment); "Prosperous Sisters" (small business, economic development, jobs and employment, tourism and events, arts and culture); "Resilient Sisters" (public safety, disaster preparedness, health and wellness, social services, affordability); and "Connected Sisters" (governance and leadership, education and learning, civic engagement, civil dialogue, volunteerism).

A community summit, in which residents will learn the findings from the survey and meetings and begin prioritizing strategies and identifying actions, is scheduled for September.

Once completed, the Vision Action Plan will help guide government agencies, nonprofit groups and the private sector in planning and projects.

A Sisters Country Horizons project management team began meeting in January and will continue to meet through the release of the Vision Action Plan. Team members include Davenport; Ames; Lelack; Aycock; and Amy Burgstahler, former Sisters City councilor and citizen representative.

A Vision Action Team, made up of a broad cross section of the wider community, will assist in implementation of the Vision Action Plan. That group has yet to be appointed.