Consider Who Isn’t Coming 'To The Table'...

Then Consider Joining Us at The table

A new survey reports 71 percent of Americans believe important societal discussions have been silenced by political correctness; and most Americans now feel discouraged from sharing heartfelt opinions and beliefs.

“Fifty-eight percent of Americans believe the political climate today prevents them from saying things they believe,” notes Emily Ekins, author of the 2017 Free Speech and Tolerance Survey report. In some subgroups, up to 73 percent feel forced into silence, she reports.

Released Oct. 31, Ekins' report details opinions on an array of issues surrounding free speech and tolerance. From the mission perspective of Citizens4Community (C4C), though, the percentages noted above dramatically stand out and have far-reaching implications in terms of our work in Sisters Country.

C4C’s non-partisan mission—to further civility, collaboration and civic engagement—relies on abundant and healthy communication. We want to see Sisters Country thrive—socially, economically and culturally. So, we seek to cultivate gatherings and conversations that are respectful but also robust and energized by diversity in all its forms—diversities of world view, life experience, belief, identity, ethnicity, ideology, opinion, etc.

We know that who isn’t "at the table" is often as consequential as who is. And the less diverse the  conversations, the more likely it is participants will become locked into one way of viewing or resolving an issue (and increasingly negative in their assessment of differing opinions or solutions).

When the national spokesperson for Speak Your Peace, Rob Karwath, visited Sisters in 2016, he shared an anecdote that demonstrates the importance of welcoming all people and perspectives to the table—even viewpoints held by people you might believe are to blame for an issue.    

Karwath told the true story of a small northwestern Wisconsin community—a popular lakeside recreational and nightlife destination—that was facing an uptick in drug and alcohol related accidents. Some citizens began angrily laying full blame on local nightclubs, which, however, were considered important to the economy. Division and deadlock on the issue ensued until the club owners were approached and were asked to participate in what would be civil, blame-free discussions. The owners engaged and ultimately led an awareness program along with a community-wide transportation service that effectively reduced accidents.

“We got a new option on the table that helped solve the problem—precisely because we got all heads in the game,” Karwath said.

In Sisters—like elsewhere—when individuals believe their opinions are unwelcome they often self-censor (as the survey suggests). They withdraw from local conversations and activities and often self-segregate into smaller silos within the community (like the bar owners could have done). This hinders possibilities for future collaborations.

In Sisters—unlike elsewhere—we can make a difference. When we encourage diversity and diverse thinking, we are better able to approach and resolve local issues together—as neighbors, co-workers and Central Oregonians. We also, then, create opportunities for unexpected collaborations that could help us better enjoy life together the rest of the time.

C4C offers free community-wide sessions to help us speak with each other more honestly and clearly (and to listen to others in the same way). Made possible by the support of generous area sponsors, these quarterly events highlight tools, strategies and perspectives proven to promote trust-building and bridge-building.

And because we believe relationships and trust are often best built around shared meals, we kick off these quarterly sessions with “Soup & Civility”—a free and casual light supper.

As we continue to work toward a community where everyone feels increasingly welcome at the table, we earnestly invite you to attend our next quarterly session. (The Nov. 15 event featured Moe Carrick speaking on: “The Paradox of Connection.” Follow-up audio of that thought-provoking evening is offered here.) Also, please consider joining us for our next Soup & Civility—a chance to simply relax, share time, connect or reconnect.

The 2017 Free Speech and Tolerance Survey was conducted by the Cato Institute in collaboration with YouGov, a non-partisan survey organization. The YouGov results were based on a sample of 2,300 Americans (ages 18+). Responses were collected August 15-23, 2017.

Carrick to Examine 'The Paradox of Connection' During Nov. 15 Quarterly Session

In honor of Dr. Brené Brown and our quickly approaching quarterly session, featuring Moe Carrick, today we offer some quotes from Dr. Brown’s book: “Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead.”

Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen. ...

...The willingness to show up changes us; it makes us a little braver each time. ...

...Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose … vulnerability is the path.
— Dr. Brené Brown

As a Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator, Moe Carrick utilizes the groundbreaking work of Dr. Brown to help people practice wholeheartedness in their work lives (and benefit from it in their personal lives).

Moe will draw upon the wisdom of Dr. Brown and her own research as she offers the keynote address for C4C’s next free skill-building session, titled: “The Paradox of Connection.” The event runs 5:15-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 15, at the Sisters Fire Station Community Hall, 301 S. Elm St., in Sisters.

We’re lucky to have Moe as a Bend-area neighbor and expert in team- and community-building. She is Principal and Founder of Moementum, Inc., based in Bend. A certified B corp, Moementum is an organizational consulting firm dedicated to creating a world that works for everyone. In 2016, Moe was named Woman of the Year by the Bend Chamber; and on Oct. 5 this year, Moementum earned the Chamber's SAGE Business Award for Equity.

A highly sought-after coach and speaker, Moe has engaged audiences across sectors, including at TEDx events, universities, Microsoft, Starbuck’s, Advanced Energy and Nike. Her diverse client portfolio also includes Nintendo, Hydroflask, REI, Prudential Financial and the Nature Conservancy. In addition, she recently co-authored the highly rated book: "Fit Matters: How to Love Your Job."

On Nov. 15, Moe will deliver an interactive, dynamic session she created especially for C4C and the Sisters Country Community. She will offer ideas for fostering meaningful connection in a “highly-connected” world that paradoxically also encourages division, isolation and community disengagement.

As an attendee, you will explore how significant it is to simply “show up” and be present (even when it is really hard), and you will discover what “community” can look like when it is re-defined through the lens of courage, vulnerability and connection.

This customized experience promises to deliver new, hope-filled insights for all of us in community.

“Over the eons, community has created what people need to thrive,” Moe says.

“And yet in our global, digital, politicized and polarized real-world, meaningful connection in community is getting harder and harder to create and enjoy. We feel alone, but we isolate. We have opinions, but we hold them back. We are afraid but crave being with other people.”

What will it take, she queries, for individuals to turn meaningfully again “toward the evolutionary elixir of community” to provide comfort, compassion, inspiration and challenge?

The evening promises to be very thought-provoking, so we’re offering another of our popular “Soup & Civility” light meals at the beginning of the session (starting at 5:15 p.m.). You’ll be able to fuel up on quality food in preparation for the interactive, dynamic keynote by Moe. Special thanks to Ray's Food Place for helping to make this a delicious community-building and networking meal that is free to all. In addition, our thanks go to High Country Disposal for sponsoring this talk, to Pete Rathbun for always being so willing to assist with sound system needs, to the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District for making the community hall available, and to Sisters Coffee Company for generously providing quality beverages for our quarterly events.

As always, all are welcome to attend this free event. If possible, we ask that you RSVP, so we can be sure to have enough food for the "Soup & Civility" portion of the evening. You can RSVP at the event listing on our EVENTS PAGE HERE.

We hope to see you there.

—The C4C Team

Moe Carrick. As a Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator, she utilizes the groundbreaking work of Dr. Brené Brown to help people practice wholeheartedness in their work lives (and benefit from it in their personal lives).

Regional Influencers Consider Civility as a 'Cornerstone for Building Community'

Participants discuss using civility as a tool to help tackle specific community challenges during a session led by C4C at the recent Community Builders Summit in Bend.

Is “civility” a passé concept? Hopefully not now and not ever, noted C4C board members who recently led discussion during an inaugural Ford Family Foundation event.

Civility must not go out of style, they said, because new challenges will always keep coming; and civility is key to helping communities thrive while meeting those challenges.

The Ford Family Foundation’s first annual Community Builders Summit saw influencers from throughout Oregon and Northern California convening earlier this month at the Riverhouse in Bend.

During a 90-minute breakout session,"Civility as a Cornerstone for Community Building,” C4C speakers Robyn Holdman and Jeff Campbell shared the story of how the Sisters Country Civility Project began. They also offered some “civility fundamentals” and then facilitated a discussion on how to put those principles to work to help resolve real-world challenges.

Civility offers a cornerstone upon which to build relationships and trust, Holdman and Campbell noted. Among other benefits, civility helps people work together more constructively, and it encourages broader participation—all measures of strong communities.

In its earliest use, civility referred to exhibiting good behavior for the benefit of a community. And Holdman and Campbell noted that early Greeks considered civility “a private virtue as well as a public necessity that functioned to hold the state together.”

The speakers also dispelled common misconceptions about civility. For example, one does not have to agree to be civil, they noted. Also, civility is not the absence of criticism. In fact, the codes of civility assume people will passionately disagree, they said. Civility simply offers a framework for that dialogue, which is so important to the democratic process.

In contrast, uncivil behavior almost always damages relationships and weakens community participation, Holdman and Campbell said. And ultimately, incivility will diminish community opportunities and drag down local economies.

The break-out session’s about 30 attendees separated into groups to discuss real-life situations that had created conflict or incivility in their communities. Each group chose one situation and developed a plan of action to respectfully address it. They then reported back to the room. Plans of action were considered for: 1.) how to resolve conflict between residents in a co-housing community where residents share some resources and amenities;  2.) fallout from a failed school board bond that would have upgraded facilities; 3) coming to agreement for how to allocate money a community received as part of a high-speed cyber optic installation deal; 4) how to overcome language barriers in local transportation planning; and 5) how to resolve differences between a community’s City officials and the Chamber of Commerce.

Attendees worked to incorporate Sisters Country Civility Project tenets into their plans and public outreach efforts. Those tenets are: Pay Attention, Listen, Be Inclusive, Don’t Gossip, Show Respect, Be Agreeable, Apologize, Give Constructive Criticism and Take Responsibility.

Just like incivility, civility is a conscious action, Holdman and Campbell noted.

“Civility is not an automatic response. It’s a skill that requires practice. And it’s up to you to be the guardian of the tone of your interactions.”

In closing, they suggested, that before you speak, you ask yourself a few questions—questions like:
• Is what I’m about to say respectful?
• Am I aware of the needs of others?
• Will this improve the situation? 
• Am I showing that I can be trusted?

C4C received a lot of positive feedback from the session,” Holdman said, noting that representatives from both Oregon and Northern California expressed interest in having Citizens4Community visit their communities to continue the conversation.

Nov. 3 Town Hall Explores Benefits & Features of "Age-Friendly" Communities

C4C is collaborating with the Senior Alliance of Sisters to co-host the upcoming town hall: "Creating Age-Friendly Communities." The free event runs 2-4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3, at Sisters Community Church. All are invited. An internationally recognized expert on issues related to aging and community-planning, Dr. Margaret Neal will lead the discussion. Dr. Neal is a professor of Urban Studies and director for the Institute on Aging at Portland State University. She will address why better planning for older populations is becoming increasingly important across the country; and the town hall will address how communities like Sisters Country could directly benefit. Also among the issues to be considered are specific infrastructures, services and social environments associated with developing thriving "age-friendly" communities. 

Special thanks to the Central Oregon Health Council for providing food and refreshments and audio visual support for this gathering, and to Sisters Community Church for providing the venue.



Unable to attend this event? No worries. WE've got you can View Dr. Margaret Neal's presentation materials here or by clicking on the image.

Local Groups Partner to Empower

Sisters 'Family Night' Enjoys Great Success

Citizens4Community seeks to build bridges—to foster communication and connections that bring a diversity of voices together—so Sisters can partner more effectively to respond to local issues. Therefore, C4C feels honored this week to be recognized for playing a role in bringing about the recent Sisters Fire Family Night—a fun and informative collaboration involving the Fire District and Sisters' Latino family community. The event encouraged broadened civic engagement as it highlighted fire and emergency safety and showcased educational resources and opportunities.

Our congratulations go to Fire Chief Roger Johnson and to Ruth Jones of OSU’s Juntos Program, who provided vision and leadership for the successful Family Night. Our appreciation also goes out to all those involved and to the families who attended. And we'd like to offer a special thanks to Katie Stewart for her gracious article that appeared in this week’s Nugget Newspaper. Read Katie’s article HERE.

If You Liked What You Learned From Bryn, and Want to Learn More

 (Or If You Missed Her the First Time...)

During last October's C4C quarterly session, Bryn Hazell, co-founder of the Center for Compassionate Living in Bend, offered Sisters residents a wonderful introduction to the tools of “Nonviolent Communication.” Our local audience learned about effective ways to speak honestly and clearly for their values and to listen to others more intently. Bryn’s talk drew much interest and encouraged thoughtful discussion, so C4C wanted to help get the word out about a rapidly approaching series Bryn will be leading—for anyone who might be interested in learning more.

Bryn’s new series “Communicating for Life” begins Oct. 9 and runs 6-7:45 p.m. for five consecutive Monday evenings—Oct. 9, 16, 23, 30 and Nov. 6—in Bend. Weekly topics will include raising your awareness of your own communication habits, speaking effectively with honesty and kindness, adjusting your listening to better understand others, and connecting with others through conflict. The full-course fee is $65, with a sliding scale available. More information and registration is available through Bryn at; or you can call 541-350-6517.

C4C sets April 20 for next 'Soup & Civility' and Spring Quarter educational session

Citizens4Community will on April 20 present its next educational/skill-building session, kicked off by the popular "Soup & Civility" community-building and networking meal. The event runs 5:15 to 7:30 at the Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire Station Community Hall, 301 S. Elm St., in Sisters.

This free Spring Quarter event was designed to respond to community requests to continue the discussion begun in January (during C4C's Winter Quarter event) about how to keep meetings, public events or other gatherings from devolving into unproductive territory when disruptive behavior, disagreements or other challenges arise.

Attendees will enjoy a light "Soup & Civility" meal followed by an informative talk featuring a panel of successful, local government, business and nonprofit leaders who have found ways to move conversations forward when discussions become difficult.

All are welcome.

For more details, please click HERE or go to our Events Page listing for RSVP details.