Next Quarterly Session Eyes Strategies for "Being Agreeable" in Confrontational Situations

Session kicks off with Inaugural "Soup & Civility" event

C4C's next quarterly community-wide event—Soaring Toward Common Ground—is set for Wednesday, Jan. 25. The evening will explore the concept of what it means to "Be Agreeable" (even when you disagree)—one of the 9 basic principles of the Sisters Country Civility Project and Speak Your Peace.

The free educational event will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a "Soup & Civility" community-building and networking meal at the Sisters Fire Station Community Hall, 301 S. Elm St., in Sisters. Special thanks go to Melvin's Fir Street Market in Sisters for being a lead sponsor for the event. Immediately following the light meal, Professor Gregg Walker will lead an informative workshop; attendees will gain skills in constructive confrontation. In addition, a bonus follow-up skill-building session is planned for Thursday morning.

When someone's actions or attitudes concern or frustrate us, we're not always sure how to respond, notes Walker, a professor of Communication at Oregon State University. His 90-minute Wednesday evening workshop will offer constructive confrontation techniques—effective strategies to safely and respectfully communicate and respond to disagreement and even constructively negotiate with others for changes in behavior.

In addition to being a professor of Communication, Walker is an adjunct professor in the environmental sciences, forestry, geosciences, and public policy programs at OSU. On campus, Professor Walker teaches courses in conflict management, negotiation, mediation, international negotiation, environmental conflict resolution, science communication, sustainable development and argumentation. 

Off campus, he conducts training programs on conflict management, designs collaborative public participation processes, facilitates collaborative learning community workshops about natural resource and environmental policy issues, and researches community-level collaboration efforts.

WORTH NOTING: Professor Walker also has offered to lead a bonus follow-up skill-building session and discussion for attendees of Wednesday evening's event. That extra 90-minute session will take place Thursday morning, Jan. 26, and will take an even closer look at how to address particularly challenging interactions or situations. Attendees will learn a variety of facilitation techniques to add to the skills they learned during Wednesday's session. Thursday morning's bonus session is slated to begin at 9 a.m. (more details to come).

Professor Walker has served as a Fulbright Senior Specialist in the fields of Peace and Conflict Resolution. He is an advisor to the National Collaboration Cadre of the USDA-Forest Service and on the roster of the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution. He also is co-director of the Climate Change Project for Mediators Beyond Borders International and Chair of the Climate Change Negotiations Working Group for the International Environmental Communication Association. In these roles he attends most of the United Nations climate change negotiation meetings and conducts related research on those negotiations.

Walker holds Ph.D. and M.A. degrees in Communication Studies from the University of Kansas and B.A. and B.S. degrees in Speech Communication, Sociology, and History from the University of Minnesota.

This Sisters Country Civility Project event is being offered FREE. ALL ARE INVITED. RSVP’s are encouraged by no later than Jan. 20 at citizens4community@gmail.com. You can use the RSVP submission form on the Events Page listing for this event. When RSVP'ing, please indicate if you also are interested in attending Thursday morning's bonus skill-building event.

These free, quarterly community events are made possible with generous, ongoing support from valued community partners, including Sisters Coffee Company, and a grant from the Deschutes County Commissioners.

             Gregg Walker

             Gregg Walker

We'd Love to Hear From You...

...To guide our efforts, C4C wants to hear from you...
Take our online survey here.

Citizens4Community, host of the Civility Project, is planning for the future. We'd like to ask for your views and opinions about the efforts of our nonprofit. Comments submitted by Nov. 25 will be incorporated into the C4C steering committee's December strategic planning session. The survey takes only a few minutes to complete. Thank you in advance!

And a Good Time Was Had By All...

C4C team members enjoyed meeting dozens of area residents, sharing the C4C mission, and getting feedback from the public during our recent participation in Sisters' annual Harvest Faire. Special thanks go to the sign shop at Sisters High School (which helped us create our C4C banner) and to the Sisters Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber's popular arts and crafts event brings to our beautiful downtown some 200 vendors with handcrafted items, plus food and entertainment for visitors and locals to enjoy.

C4C Collaborates with 2016 Sisters High Graduate on Thought-Provoking Civility Project Poster

Citizens4Community members consider ourselves very fortunate to be working with 2016 Sisters High School graduate Alena Nore, artist for the official poster of the Sisters Country Civility Project. Alena and C4C members have collaborated to develop images that symbolize the Project's civility concepts while simultaneously depicting life in Sisters. The poster is expected to be finalized this month.

Cheerful as it is thoughtful, Alena's illustrations are intended to spark conversations about Sisters values and how those connect with the "9+1" very simple tenets—“or pieces”—of the Civility Project. The 9 tenets are: Pay Attention, Listen, Be Inclusive, Don’t Gossip, Show Respect, Be Agreeable, Apologize, Give Constructive Criticism, and Take Responsibility. The “+1” invites individuals to add a tenet that speaks to them personally or to the core values of any local group with which they are affiliated.

We at C4C are honored by the tremendous passion, artistry and creativity Alena has poured into this effort. During every stage of the poster development process she has displayed an incredibly professional and conscientious attitude. And we could not be happier about the results!…Alena's art captures the optimism that lies at the heart of the Civility Project while truly reflecting the bountiful energy that Sisters inspires. (Thank you, Alena!)

We invite you to read the Nugget's article about Alena and her many accomplishments, linked below...

The Nugget—July 19, 2016
SHS grad creates poster for civility project
by Sue Stafford

Alena Nore presents her Sisters Country Civility Project poster artwork on July 12 at the Sisters Fire Hall during C4C's quarterly information and learning session.

Alena Nore presents her Sisters Country Civility Project poster artwork on July 12 at the Sisters Fire Hall during C4C's quarterly information and learning session.

News Release: Civility Project Eyes How to Give More Constructive Feedback

SISTERS, OREGON—On July 12, Sisters residents will learn new skills that can help them communicate more powerfully, encourage one another and foster understanding. Citizens4Community and the Sisters Country Civility Project will present Summer Quarter 2016 Information and Skill-Building Sessions from 5-8 p.m. Tuesday, July 12, 2016 at the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District Hall, 301 S. Elm St.

The evening will center around Giving Constructive Criticism and, by extension, Showing Respect—two of the nine basic tenets of the Sisters Country Civility Project and Speak Your Peace. Award-winning speaker Sharon Strand Ellison will lead a dynamic skill-building session focused on how to give and receive feedback more effectively. All area residents are invited to this FREE event.

Beginning at 5 p.m., attendees will learn how the Civility Project got started locally in partnership with Speak Your Peace and will hear Project updates. During the 6:30-8 p.m. session, Sharon Strand Ellison will share stories as she demonstrates an easy, 3-step process for giving feedback that can prompt others to feel respected and want to listen.

Author of “Taking the War Out of Our Words” and co-author of “Taking Power Struggle Out of Parenting,” Ellison also is the creator of the Powerful Non-Defensive Communication™ process. She has been lauded as a communication pioneer and was a nominee for the Leadership for a Changing World Award.

Based in Deschutes County, Ellison provides keynotes and training for professionals, parents and youth.  Her broad client list includes: the Oregon Mayors Association, Hewlett Packard, Wells Fargo, Stanford University, the U.S. Navy, United Way, the Smithsonian, and The Centre for Dispute Resolution, in London England. For details about Ellison’s work, see http://www.pndc.com/learning-room.

This free, informative community event is being made possible with generous financial support from Sisters Coffee Company and a grant from the Deschutes County Commissioners. RSVP’s are encouraged at citizens4community@gmail.com or 541-549-1482.

Click Here to RSVP.

Cheerful, New Civility 'Tool Cards' Reflect Sisters' Spirit

You might start noticing our Sisters Country Civility Project “Tool Cards" circulating around town—maybe being handed around and discussed over a latte at Sisters Coffee Co. or a tasty pint at Hop & Brew... 

Our special thanks to Sisters artist Kathy Deggendorfer, whose iconic work “Mountain Homes” graces the front of our inaugural cards, paying a fittingly cheerful tribute to the special community we call our own.

Feel free to put these reminder cards on your phone for a quick reference tool.* Or, if your group needs a set of cards, Contact Us. Also, keep an eye out around town for the Sisters Country Civility Project “Spokesbird”—featured on the back of this card—again, courtesy of Kathy’s artistic hand. Want a little visual treat to lift your day? Check out Kathy’s website. 

—The C4C Team

Note: Additional information about our "Tool Cards"—including the purpose behind them— is located on our C4C 'Projects' Pages.

* Click main artwork above to access electronic images for this card.

'(It's) a tool to bring more heads to the game—whatever the game or need is.'

The Source—February 3, 2016
Speak Your Peace: Event helps open up communication in Sisters
by Corinne Boyer

You can’t be creative and effective in development efforts unless people feel comfortable that they can at least come to the table and talk and have someone be respectful of their ideas and opinions.”
— Robyn Holdman of Citizens4Community
(  Photo by: Jodi Schneider McNamee)    Rob Karwath

(Photo by: Jodi Schneider McNamee)

Rob Karwath

Is It Possible to Make Others 'Play Nice'?

Citizens4Community invites you to enjoy this short, casual conversation below that highlights ways each of us can make a difference in the big picture of civility.

Maybe it’s beyond our ability—today—to elevate the oft-surly tone trending nationally in politics and media. But in our own communities we can make a difference today—and every day. Anita Stech of the League of Women Voters and Citizens in Action (Duluth, MN) offers advice that evokes a root wisdom of philosophy: know thyself. Think about what motivates you to at times react with frustration instead of courtesy, she says. “You can’t make someone else be civil; but you can change the way you engage.”

Stech also notes the importance of learning how to listen more empathetically—focusing on what the other person is feeling instead of what you're feeling. And the lively conversation culminates with what might be the most practical advice of all: When you’re trying to bring opposing sides together, never underestimate the power of candy.

• This interview comes recommended by Rob Karwath, who collaborates with Anita Stech on civility projects in the Duluth, MN, area. If you’ve been following C4C news, you’ll recognize Rob’s name. The national spokesperson for Speak Your Peace, Rob drew large audiences in Sisters Jan. 13-15 as he helped C4C kick off our local civility project. Thanks again, Rob! Come back soon!