Summer has been the time for two national/international timebanking events, which took place with just a whisper of time between them.
For the first, 15 timebanking aficionados gathered at a beach home on the Connecticut shores (a revelation to some of us who didn’t even know that Connecticut has shores) for a leadership retreat. This was a culmination – and yes, let’s admit it, the reward – of two years of work under the Knit-a-Network banner that Stephanie Rearick has been leading.
And then, no sooner had we sort-of packed up, sort-of said good-byes, it was time to begin round two! The second event was much bigger. More than 130 people gathered for the2014 Summer Global Exchange Gathering in Providence, RI. That second event was hosted and organized by the New Hope Time Exchange under the direction of Lisa Conlan with, to quote Ringo, a little bit of help from her friends and sponsors!
They were, honestly, two wonderful, inspiring, energizing events.
So here’s a quick round-up about them both, and whey they were so great.
First, Knit a Network. Two years ago, Edgar Cahn put out a 90 day project challenge. Pick a project, he suggested, any project that involves TimeBanking, make a plan, see where it might lead, and use it to energize your TimeBank.
Stephanie saw the idea on the table, and picked it up. But instead of doing it for just one TimeBank, she decided to do it for the whole timebanking movement. She started Knit-a-Network. It began with an invite to join a conference call, where she laid out the parameters of this project: she would propose some areas of work. Anyone on the call could do the same. The people on the call could vote with their feet (figuratively speaking.)
If people chose to do the work and the work was done, then so be it. And if did not choose, and nothing got done, then so be it, too.
It turned out that were lots of helpers, few willing to take on the lead of the several groups. So Stephanie took on that role – in many cases being willing to “hold the space” for a whole group, when no-one else would.
The ninety day mark came. So did the 90-day mark call. But with much still left to do, instead of letting the Knit a Network idea come to its end, Stephanie kept it going. Months went speeding by the way they do – until, finally, it was the summer of 2014. Two years had gone by! So with the Global Exchange Conference coming up, Kathy Perlowe and her husband Pete, offered the family beach-holiday home for a Knit-a-Network leadership retreat.
Stephanie organized the work of that retreat. Kathy, Pete and friends organized the food and play (wanders down to the beach and to the dairy queen included.) The rest of us played supportive roles as we could and as we wanted.
The main focus was to come down the homestretch on a massive project: building an information commons to house the vast and largely unstructured amount of material relating to timebanking that has been generated and re-generated as timebanking has spread across the United States and around the world.
We did not finish that task – but the last laps of the journey were cleared and the work begun.
So that was Sunday night through Wednesday afternoon.
Then some of us left for the conference Institutes on Thursday. And others held on for a day of clear-up (and play) before heading on over to the Conference start on Thursday afternoon.
And the conference? That, too, was great. Way too much happened for me to cover at the close on one blog. So I’ll save it all up for the next one.