Discover All the Great Offerings at #NCDD2018!

#NCDD2018 is almost here! Just another day until our pre-conference sessions kick off on Thursday and we couldn’t be more excited to start seeing folks again! In order to really get the most out of #NCDD2018 we encourage you to check out the extra offerings at the conference, in addition to our inspiring speakers, over 60 workshops, and 30+ presenters at the D&D Showcase.

The full conference schedule is on the NCDD blog and make sure you check out the interactive, digital version hosted by Konveio! Share your thoughts here on the blog about the conference theme and how to amplify the work of D&D. Get started on the conference networking early by connecting with other attendees here. If you are looking for a room share at the Sheraton, folks are posting here. Finally, if you haven’t gotten your tickets and you’d like to join us, we have 3-day and single-day tickets still available here. That’s all, folks!

Can’t wait to see everyone at the conference!

Thursday, November 1st

Pre-conference sessions!
We are thrilled to offer five exciting day long and one half-day pre-conference sessions on Thursday, November 1, 2018, prior to the start of NCDD 2018! These sessions are great for people of various levels of experience, and offer a variety of topics. Read through these descriptions and go to ncdd2018-precon.eventbrite.com to register!

  • Standing Up for Social Justice in Times of Fear & Hatred
  • Tackling Wicked Problems in Local Communities: A Workshop for Local Governments, School Districts, and Community Leaders
  • What is Participatory Budgeting and how can it work for me?
  • A Taste of the Theory and Practice of Bohm Dialogue
  • Transforming Community Spaces: A Workshop for Community Facilitators
  • We the People Are More Powerful Than We Dare to Believe: First Steps in Dismantling Corporate Rule

5 – 7pm – Informal Meet & Greet
We welcome all folks participating in pre-conference activities and conference attendees who have arrived early to join NCDD’s Staff at Mix16 Lounge in the hotel lobby for an informal meet & greet!

6 – 7pm – Deliberation Bootcamp
This session, specifically designed for newcomers to the conference, will provide an overall introduction to NCDD and to many of the key concepts, organizations, and challenges related to the field. The session will be led by Martin Carcasson, NCDD Board member and Director of Colorado State University’s Center for Public Deliberation. Email Martín at mcarcas@colostate.edu to let him know you’ll be attending the Bootcamp.  (Governor’s Square 14)

6:30 – 8:30pm – Breaking the Partisan Trance: A dialogue think tank about this American moment
Similar to a couple in the middle of deep-set resentments, growing numbers of Americans today have become so enraged that they can hardly see or hear each other honestly anymore.  The kind of collective distortions that anger generates can be reminiscent at times of a “trance-like” state.  If that’s true, we’re curious about the ways in which dialogue practices can effectively break the almost hypnotic, reflexive reactions that currently paralyze politics. This evening will be dedicated to exploring these possibilities together, and trying them out for ourselves, utilizing various approaches we’ve been exploring, including a Living Room Conversation format and the Transpartisan Matrix to assist in the collective inquiry. Come join the brainstorm.. The fate of the republic depends on it! (Governor’s Square 15)

8 – 9:15pm – Emerging Leaders Mentoring Session
NCDD is hosting a pre-conference event for young people and students. This will be a time for attendees 35 and under to connect with the other younger conference attendees. We will also be kicking off our NCDD 2018 Mentoring Program, which will intentionally connect a cadre of experienced D&D leaders with students and youth attendees during the conference. (Governor’s Square 12)

Friday, November 2nd

 6pm – 8:30pm – White Privilege Symposium Community Event
We are sharing the Ballroom with the White Privilege Symposium for their community event, featuring performances and speakers. Event is open to NCDD attendees and the public.  (Plaza Ballroom)

7:30pm – 9:30pm – National Issues Forum: The Opiod Epidemic
What Should We Do About The Opioid Epidemic?  –  Virgina York will lead attendees in a National Issues Forum on the opioid epidemic. Join fellow attendees to experience the National Issues Forums model and deliberate on possible approaches to this complex national issue. (Governor’s Square 15)

8:30pm and on  – Building Bridges Salon
Join a late night discussion about dialogue and racial privilege after the WPS community kick-off event. Come upstairs around 8:30pm to the 15FIFTY Restaurant & Lounge for a loosely facilitated conversation to explore how WPS attendees & NCDDers can do better together.

Saturday, November 3rd

12:30 – 1:30 pm – Ben Franklin Circles Lunch

Ben Franklin Circles (BFC) use Franklin’s classic 13 virtues to spark discussion about how participants can improve themselves and their communities. Join BFC hosts from around the country for a relaxed lunch and Ben Franklin Circle in action. Get a feel for the BFC approach as we discuss Franklin’s virtue of “Resolution” in relation to our conference theme: connecting and strengthening civic innovators. The combination of Franklin’s original prompts and modern day topics generates a unique lens for civic dialogue and community building. Come eat, explore, and innovate with us. (Plaza Court 2)

For planning purposes it would assist the presenters to know if you will plan to attend this discussion circle.  Please fill out the brief form here.

This lunchtime breakout session is a circle in action. For general information about BFC please see our workshop on Friday Nov. 2nd , Session A.

Hosted by: Tracy Rogers-Tryba, Ben Franklin Circle Host, IL and Danyel Addes -Network and Program Manager, Belfer Center for Innovation and Social Impact, 92nd Street Y

5pm – on – Free Time & Civic Dinner Opportunity

Explore downtown Denver and go out to dinner with new or old friends… We’ll provide you with all you need to organize your evening out!

Conference sponsor Civic Dinners is offering to help people run their own Civic Dinners Saturday night. Civic Dinners helps people transform dinner tables into forums for positive social change. Our friends at Civic Dinners are happy to help anyone who wants to host on any of their three national topics: Bridging the Racial Divide, The Voice of Women, or Common Ground (just launched!).

Civic Dinners will be getting people to sign up during the Showcase/Reception on Friday afternoon. Those of you who’d like to host something at a restaurant or, even better, local folks who’d like to host a Civic Dinner in your home, can plan to do so! If this is of interest to you, email Jenn Graham at jenn@civicdinners.com so you two can connect on the details.

Make sure you check out the full conference schedule for the line-up of workshops, plenaries, and more!

On Monday, NCDD member David Campt will be holding one of his workshops, Dismantling Racism: One Conversation at a Time, on November 5th in Denver. Learn more and register here!

We Are All Catalysts: Part One – How We Can Amplify and Broaden Dialogue and Deliberation Work

“After all, the ordinary hero hiding in each of us is often the most powerful catalyst for change.” ~ Tate Taylor

We all have a spark within and we choose every day how we will or will not use our spark. In our NCDD community, we spark conversations–dialogues that change hearts and minds and steadily change the world. Our sparks can be small or big, but we must work intentionally to ensure that the sparks catch fire. What do I mean by this? I mean that it is up to us, as those working firsthand in the creations of spaces for dialogue and deliberation, that we do not work in isolation. Like the catalysts in science, we must interact with others to create the chemistry worth having in our world.

The upcoming 2018 NCDD conference in Denver seeks to “catalyze the catalysts” by asking how we can work together to broaden the use and amplify the impacts of dialogue and deliberation efforts locally and globally. We live in an interconnected world, but it is very easy in our everyday lives to cling to the familiar and agreeable. This includes the media we consume, company we keep, and in our own work. It is up to us to share our work in ways that amplify the benefits and accessibility of both dialogue and deliberation. This means we need to intentionally step up our efforts and in doing so, step out of our comfort zones to facilitate the connections we need most–such as those across ideological divides poisoning our discourse. As Jonathan Haidt shares in his book The Righteous Mind, “When I was a teenager I wished for world peace, but now I yearn for a world in which competing ideologies are kept in balance.”

We see incredible work by D&D innovators every day that are answering this call to bring together our communities in innovative ways that heal and strengthen our relationships. Here are just a few examples (among many) from some of our conference presenters…

Libraries Transforming Communities is a joint effort by the American Libraries Association and NCDD. The initiative is founded on the strengths of the library as a trusted public community space and a place ideal for D&D work and is intended for use by libraries around the world to facilitate healing and idea generation via D&D.

The Center for Public Deliberation at Colorado State University has the mission of enhancing the local civic culture through increased participation and know-how of how deliberation works. Through elevating conversation via civics education, the center celebrates how crowds conversing (rather than arguing) can create better ideas for the whole community. They also recently won a Civvys Award for Local Winner!

The David Mathews Center for Civic Life based in Alabama believes in public forums and have locals define the issues and come together to solve them. The center provides education, services in moderation, and setting up community engagement events.

Make America Dinner Again empowers everyone to act locally with dinners of 8 and 2 moderators that discuss tough issues with an emphasis on respectful conversation and delicious food.

We hope these examples evoke excitement for the D&D community (and for the upcoming conference)! In true NCDD form, we want to engage this community of innovators in discussing how we build capacity for D&D in more communities and design action steps to make this happen moving forward. How have you succeeded in building capacity for engagement in the communities you serve? What do you think the next innovations might look like for dialogue, deliberation, and engagement? What do we need to discuss and think about together as a field, in order to succeed in broadening the use of D&D?

We hope readers will share below their own stories of successes, ideas for new innovations, and even the challenges that we need to tackle collectively in order to achieve this goal of bringing dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement to more communities. Share your thoughts below and engage with others’ responses. NCDD’s staff will be sharing your input at the conference to help us jumpstart further conversations and collaborations we hope will help us all take our work to the next level. You can still join us at #NCDD2018 – get your tickets today!

Stay tuned for the follow-up post, “We Are All Catalysts: Part 2”, where we will shift from examples to best practices to help everyone begin or continue to strengthen and amplify their dialogue and deliberation initiatives!

NCDD Discount on Dismantling Racism Workshop on 11/5

In case you missed it, NCDD member David Campt will be holding one of his workshops, Dismantling Racism: One Conversation at a Time, on November 5th in Denver! The session will be a great opportunity for those folks looking to strengthen capacity for having anti-racist conversations and to learn skills around empathy, active listening, and more. He is offering NCDD2018 conference attendees a special discount, so we encourage you to utilize this fantastic offer! Learn more about the workshop below and register for the event on Eventbrite here.


Racism Skeptics and Empathy; An Innovative Approach White Allies Can Use to Change Hearts and Minds

This event is presented jointly by Coming to the Table and University of Denver Conflict Resolution Institute

Do you struggle as a white person to respond in social or work situations when someone makes a racist comment or questions the reality of racism? Many white people are at sea in these situations. We need tangible tools and skills to participate in healthy, productive, and effective dialogue with racism skeptics. Scientific evidence shows that empathy-based dialogues can change adults’ minds.

Participate in this vital conversation! Learn how to use empathy, active listening and relating skills in conversations about racism in a comfortable workshop setting.

Dismantling Racism: One Conversation at a Time

A Workshop with David Campt, PhD
Author of “The White Ally Toolkit”

Monday, November 5, 2018
6:30 pm – 9:15 pm

Craig Hall, University of Denver, 2148 High Street, Denver, CO 80208

Register here!

Registration Fees:
$75 Regular Admission
$45 Senior / Low Income
Special $45 discount rate for National Coalition for Deliberation and Dialogue conference attendees:
Enter code NCDD at checkout!

This workshop was developed and is facilitated by David Campt, PhD., nationally known African-American author and lecturer. David works in the areas of community engagement, conflict resolution, inclusion, and equity. His clients have included large corporations, the White House, the US Military, and nonprofits. He is known as The Dialogue Guy. You can learn more about him and this work at www.whiteallytoolkit.com.

Parking:

Paid parking is available in the lot next to the Sie International Relations Complex. $2/hr. The entrance is off of Iliff Ave. Street parking is also available, though extra walk-time is advised.

What people are saying about Dismantling Racism, One Conversation at a Time

David is a nationally recognized expert in race relations and civic engagement. A dynamic and engaging speaker, facilitator and trainer, he teaches strategies for changing attitudes, behavior and group culture through dialogue.

Listen to Konveio TechTues Recording & Explore #NCDD2018 Digital Interactive Guidebook

We had a very special Tech Tuesday this week featuring Konveio and unveiled the exciting ways we are utilizing the tool for the #NCDD2018 conference! Konveio is a digital outreach platform that turns static PDFs into engaging websites to better convey ideas, collect feedback, and spark action. We strongly encourage you to check out the recording of the call to learn more about it!

Over 90 participants tuned in to learn more about Konveio and how we plan to use the platform to bring the conference guidebook to life for #NCDD2018. Because NCDD conferences are highly engaging experiences, and we are always seeking new ways to bring in new tools and processes, that’s why we teamed up with Konveio to enrich the experience of conference attendees with this interactive option of the guidebook (in addition to the hardcopy one we will provide in each participants’ tote bag when you arrive).

NCDD2018 will be from Friday, November 2 to Sunday, November 4th and is going to be a fantastic time for practitioners and enthusiasts of dialogue, deliberation, and engagement work to dig in together about how to build capacity for this work and amplify its usage. We hope you will consider joining us if you haven’t registered already so you can both experience this powerful event and have a real opportunity to use Konveio in action! Get your ticket for the whole conference or check out the single-day rate; and don’t forget to explore the pre-conference offerings happening on Thursday, November 1st, the day before NCDD2018 officially starts!

On the call, Chris Haller, founder and CEO of Urban Interactive Studio, gave a quick overview of Konveio (which was initially called CiviComment) with some real-world examples and showcased all the fun and useful features of the digital #NCDD2018 conference guide. How Konveio works is users simply upload their PDFs to an online viewer so others can read and navigate them in their browser. They then add maps, videos, charts, and other rich content to make it more insightful and easier to explore. Finally, they can ask for feedback using embedded surveys or comments directly on the document. Chris walked us through the digital version of the #NCDD2018 guidebook and exciting components, like: interact with other attendees, watch the embedded conference teaser video, have the ability to leave comments on workshops and on specific parts of the book, tweet content directly and more! Click here to explore the guidebook and we encourage conference attendees to start making your own contributions!

We recorded the whole presentation if you were unable to join us, which you can access here. We had several insightful contributions to the chat, which you can find the transcript of here.

Tech_Tuesday_Badge

THANK YOU to Chris and everyone who joined this call! We encourage you to check out the TechTues recording and because Konveio is still in beta stage, stay tuned to https://konve.io/. To learn more about NCDD’s Tech Tuesday series and hear recordings of past calls, please visit www.ncdd.org/tech-tuesdays. Archives access is a benefit of being an NCDD member, so ensure your membership is up-to-date (or click here to join).

Finally, we love holding these events and we want to continue to elevate the work of our field with Confab Calls and Tech Tuesdays. It is through your generous contributions to NCDD that we can keep doing this work! That’s why we want to encourage you to support NCDD by making a donation or becoming an NCDD member today (you can also renew your membership by clicking here). Thank you!

Sneak Peek at NCDD2018: Our Featured Speakers!

Just one more week until the National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation kicks off in downtown Denver! We hope you are getting as excited as we are and even more so after you see some of our featured speakers! We have a dynamic lineup in store for all three days that will elevate exciting innovative civic practices happening across the country, explore how to broaden the reach of this field, and catalyze us for our work moving forward. You won’t want to miss this event! The late registration rate starts this coming Saturday, October 27th, so make sure you register today!

In addition to our great speakers, NCDD2018 will be filled with over 60 fantastic workshops which will span a wide range of subjects, plentiful networking opportunities, 30+ presenters during our engaging D&D Showcase event, and so much more! Remember we also have six exceptional pre-conference sessions being offered on Thursday, November 1st, that we strongly encourage you to check out. Take advantage of the pre-conference calm and more intimate space to learn and meet more folks passionate about D&D and engagement!

Our Featured Speakers

Derek Okubo – Executive Director of the Agency for Human Rights and Community Partnerships, City and County of Denver

Derek Okubo is a Colorado native and Executive Director of the Agency for Human Rights and Community Partnerships. The agency acts as a conduit of communication and convener of problem solving among local government, non-profits, businesses and residents. Derek attended the University of Northern Colorado and graduated with a degree in Psychology and double minors in Communications and Sociology

Justine Lee – Co-creator and Head of Partnerships, Make America Dinner Again

Justine Lee is the co-creator of Make America Dinner Again, and as Head of Partnerships, has developed relationships and worked collaboratively with organizations, media, and communities with similar missions, including appearances on NPR, WMAL-DC, and the BBC. In addition to MADA, Justine is a marketer and has ten years of experience managing and producing content for top creative firms, startups, nonprofits, and large tech companies.

Rev. Dr. F. Willis Johnson – spiritual leader and author, Holding Up Your Corner

Rev. Dr. F. Willis Johnson is a spiritual entrepreneur, elder in the West Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church, and adjunct faculty at Methodist Theological School of Ohio. Recognized as a scholar- practitioner, Johnson authored Holding Up Your Corner: Talking About Race in Your Community, and is a sought after thought-leader who empowers individuals and communities towards prophetic response- healing, justice and reconciliation.

Courtney Hartman – singer, songwriter, and guitarist, Slow Tours
April Struthers – organizational consultant and facilitator, Slow Tours

Colorado native, Courtney Hartman, is a Grammy nominated singer, songwriter and guitarist. April Struthers is a consultant, coach, facilitator, and owner of Wit Works, Ltd. The two have been exploring how to set up an anti-ageist, community building, slower-than-usual tour (based on the slow food movement) to allow time for deeper relationship between musicians and community.

Fatima Ahmed, Student, Lakehead University

Fatima Ahmed is a graduate of the Peace & Conflict Studies program at the University of Waterloo and current student at Lakehead University in Ontario. She recently served as the summer program director for Heart to Heart, a peace-building summer camp facilitating dialogue between Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel. Fatima is a mediator and has extensive experience in cross cultural dialogue from her work around the world.

John Steiner, Co-Founder and Board Member, Bridge Alliance

John Steiner is a meshweaver, transpartisan leader and creative consultant, often with his wife and working partner, Margo King. He is one of the national leaders of the current effort to take the transpartisan movement to scale. He currently works full time helping to build, catalyze and serve this emergent, transpartisan/bridging field as a co-founder and board member of the Bridge Alliance, as co-founder and co-director of the Bridge Summit, and as a board member of the Mediators Foundation and BridgeUSA.

Wendy Willis, Exec. Director, Deliberative Democracy Consortium

Wendy Willis is the Executive Director of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium and the founder and director of Oregon’s Kitchen Table in the Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University. The winner of the Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Prize, Wendy is also a poet and essayist, and writes at twowomenandarepublic.com. She has published two books of poems, and her next book of essays, These Are Strange Times, My Dear, is forthcoming in February 2019. Wendy is an NCDD Board Member.

Watch this teaser video if you haven’t seen it already! Looking forward to seeing you all here in Denver!

Oh the Places You’ll Go & People You’ll Meet at NCDD2018!

A Quick Guide to Networking at the NCDD Conference that will set you on a course for successful partnerships.

What happens when you bring together a few hundred innovators in dialogue and deliberation and give them dedicated spaces to spark conversations and partnerships? MAGIC.

Every two years, NCDD does just that. This November, our three-day conference will convene at the Sheraton Denver Downtown and include 400+ attendees from around the globe. Fellow humans passionate about public engagement ready to connect and create friendships and partnerships that will last years into the future.

NCDD’s planning team has been hard at work to ensure an environment that facilitates idea generation and times and places to find your D&D tribe.

Here’s what you need to know:

Start early! Be sure to download and use the interactive conference guide brought to us by Konveio. This will allow you to browse the events, learn more about the networking opportunities, and many of the great attendees presenting and speaking at the conference.  To learn more about how to use the guide attend the Tech Tuesday on October 23rd!

Want to get a jump start on meeting fellow NCDD attendees and don’t want to wait until Friday morning? Then make sure you check out the six pre-conference sessions being offered on Thursday, November 1st! We have limited space for available for each of the sessions, so register ASAP to reserve your seat.

Dinner Time!  Saturday night is “on your own” but what we really mean is “with new NCDD friends”. First, meet up at the hotel bar (Mix16 Lounge) and then pick a place to wander to and get into the full conference spirit by connecting over food and drink at any one of Denver’s delicious eateries.

Use the On-Site Networking Board! Those returning will fondly remember our extra-large NCDD bulletin board made to suit all of your conference networking needs. We’ll have those great networking cards that will help you post your interests and propose opportunities to connect with others.

Do not miss the plenaries! Our opening plenary will feature “lightning talks” by civic innovators to spark inspiration and will include a networking activity to assist every attendee with identifying goals for the conference and beyond. On Saturday and Sunday, we will be focusing the plenaries almost exclusively on connecting, by using Open Space and Pro Action Cafe, respectively, for folks to propose the topics and ideas they most want to connect with others about!

Places for YOU! For when you want to meet outside of our scheduled sessions, there are four rooms and a foyer available on a first-come basis. Just look for Plaza Court rooms #2, #3, #4 and #5 for more privacy and swing around to the Plaza Exhibit Foyer for more casual seating space for discussions.

We also thought it might be helpful to create a space to connect before the conference. Please use the comment section below to start finding who you want to connect with in Denver this November! Propose a meet-up over lunch, dinner, or in between, and start finding folks to join you! We’ll keep sharing and pointing people to this post up until the conference kick-off.

We hope you are as revved up as we are about NCDD 2018!

Democracy Fund Revamps electiononline Website

If you are looking for unbiased news and information on US elections, then check out the newly revamped electionline website! The Democracy Fund – a sponsor of NCDD2018, recently redeveloped the platform, which is a resource for our nation’s elections and offers tools and best practices for improving the voter experience. The site has daily news, an elections calendar, training resources, jobs marketplace – and is a great space for civic organizations, elected officials, or anyone interested in learning more about US elections. You can read the announcement below and find the original version here.


Democracy Fund Relaunches electionline

Today we are pleased to unveil a new and improved electionline — America’s only politics-free source for election administration news and information.

In January 2018, we announced that electionline had become a project of Democracy Fund’s Elections program. We felt then, as we do now, that it is a vital platform for finding trusted news and information about the people and processes that guide our nation’s elections, and for sharing tools, best practices, and innovative ideas for improving the voting experience. Our simple goals for redeveloping the site were to enhance its capabilities and expand content — but our long-term plans are to create a place where readers are exposed to new ideas, opportunities for continuing education, and relationship building.

To do this, we started by thinking long and hard about the site’s current audience and their needs. Starting today, election administrators, academics, voting advocates and other regular readers of electionline will find new items of interest on the site, including:

  • A calendar of national, state and other field-relevant events;
  • A directory of organizations and their areas of expertise;
  • Reports, trainings, tools, guides, and other materials;
  • A marketplace featuring job openings in the elections field and information on used election equipment for sale; and
  • Better search functionality throughout

Electionline remains the only place on the internet to find state-by-state curation of daily election administration news. In addition to publishing the classic electionline Weekly newsletter, we will also begin sharing original reports and exclusive content from leaders and experts in the field — making the site a must-read for local election officials, civic organizations, and journalists who cover elections.

While redeveloping the site, we learned two really insightful lessons that might be helpful for others who are developing virtual spaces for information sharing and engagement.

First, collaborate with your audiences and include some “outsider” perspective. As our team weighed important decisions about the look and feel of the website, we were grateful to receive insight and direction from many readers who already trust and rely on electionline.

Second, reflect your values. Redeveloping or creating a new platform is an opportunity to reinforce essential characteristics that inform readers who your organization is, and what they care about. For us it meant focusing on authenticity (even if it means publishing unflattering stories about ourselves or our partners); transparency about who we support with resources in the field; and cultivating greater interest for under-covered areas of importance like voting trends for overlooked communities.

Through this process, we hope we were able to successfully incorporate the feedback we heard from current readers. We also hope that the new electionline website more deeply resonates with all those who are interested in elections in America. We’re excited to hear your thoughts and reactions as you explore the new website. Please visit www.electionline.org and let us know what you think!

You can find the original version of this announcement on the Democracy Fund site at www.democracyfund.org/blog/entry/democracy-fund-relaunches-electionline.

Ben Franklin Skills for Commitments and Virtues

We love gems of wisdom like the ones below on commitments and virtues, shared by Ben Franklin Circles, an NCDD member org and presenter at NCDD2018. Last year NCDD partnered with BFC and we’ve shared many stories about the powerful way that Circles bring people together and inspire change. For those attending NCDD2018, we encourage you to participate in the BFC workshop happening during the first session block from 1-2:30 pm on Friday, November 2nd. You can listen to the webinar below and find the original on BFC’s site here.


BFC Circle Host Forum – Commitments and Virtues

For this Ben Franklin Circle Host Forum, we interviewed BFC Host, Ryan Cooke to discuss the virtues and making commitments.

For review, the basic structure of a Ben Franklin Circle meeting is as follows:

  • Welcome/ review group guidelines
  • Discuss virtue
  • Make commitments

Virtues are aspirational and are not easily defined. We may never fully reach our aspirations towards these virtues which give us something to continuously work on.

After each meeting, Ryan sends a recap of the discussion and the commitments made. Halfway between meetings, he sends a reminder of the commitments to check in with the group as well as a preview of next virtue.

Here are some of the best practices we discussed for making 30-day commitments around the virtues:

  1. Make them SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic/Relatable, Time-Bound)
  2. Take inspiration from other hosts and the sample commitments provided in the Meeting Guides
  3. Start small by making micro commitments. Check out tinyhabits.com for inspiration.
  4. Track your progress. Use a paper calendar or an app track Streaks, like Jerry Seinfeld’s one joke a day habit
  5. Make the commitment appropriate to your readiness for change (see Stages of Change model)
  6. Work with others who can provide accountability
  7. Consider shared group commitments to work on together

You can find the original version of this article on the Ben Franklin Circles’ site at www.benfranklincircles.org/webinar/bfc-circle-host-forum-commitments-and-virtues.

Count Me In! – Backyard Ballot Bash & Ballot Speed Dating

We always love hearing about cool, fun engagement efforts going on, which is why we’re excited to share with you an effort happening in Colorado called, Count Me In! It’s a collaborative civic engagement effort that educates voters on what’s on their ballot in a transpartisan way, bringing in all sides of the initiatives. CMI seeks to empower voters to know what they are voting on and vote on the whole ballot, with fun events like Ballot Speed Dating and Backyard Ballot Bashes. If you are in Colorado, check out the events that are lined up or contact CMI to plan your own! For those not in the state, we encourage you to check it out and see if you can bring something similar to your communities! You can learn more about CMI in the post below and on their site here.


Learn about what’s on your ballot with Count Me In!

There are going to be 13 initiatives for Coloradans to vote on this year, and that’s just the statewide ones. Even the most well-informed among us will need some help figuring out how they’re going to vote on all of these issues. That’s why Count Me In! is here. Once again, Count Me In! is partnering with community organizations around the state to make sure voters get all the information they need to make informed decisions about these critical policies affecting our state. Count Me In! is nonpartisan and provides information that is objective. There is still time to bring Count Me In! to your community, connect with us and we will plan an event that works for your community.

Check out where Count Me In! is headed with our list of events below. Join us for these events and share with your folks. We are getting new requests every day so check our website and Facebook page for the most up to date CMI! Events.

Save the Date(s) for Count Me In! Ballot Speed Dating

Count Me In! Colorado is hosting a few bigger ballot events we are calling Ballot Speed Dating. You’ll learn about each measure at these fun, informational ballot events. Count Me In! will be inviting all the statewide ballot campaigns to join us. You’ll get to ask your questions and learn more about each measure, like you would while speed dating. There will be appetizers, drinks, prizes, and engaging election information. Don’t miss this event!

  • Grand Junction Ballot Speed Dating: Thursday, September 27 from 5:30 –7:00 pm, SpringHills Suites, 236 Main Street, Grand Junction. Please share this event with folks in your network that would be interested!
  • Denver Ballot Speed Dating: Wednesday, October 17 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm, Great Divide Brewing, 1812 35th St, Denver, CO 80216. Be on the lookout for more info and promotional material for this event later this week.
  • Denver Ballot Bash: Saturday, October 20 – Denver Game Lounge – more info to come!

Ballot Bash in a Box

This year, in addition to great events at cool venues in every corner of the state, voters will be invited to host their own Backyard Ballot Bash (patent pending) using materials we’re calling Ballot Bash in a Box. If you’re dying to help your friends and neighbors get informed and want to make sure they vote their ballots from the bottom up, or you just need more information about Count Me In!, make sure you email Caitlin Schneider at schneider@coloradofiscal.org today.

Follow Count Me In on the social media, FacebookTwitterInstagram!

Check out the calendar of events planned so far!

Date/Time Event
9/13/18
10 am – 11:30 am
 Count Me In! at the Southwest Rural Philanthropy Days
9/20/18
7 pm – 8 pm
 CMI! joins DougCo Dems for “What’s on Your Ballot?”
 Highlands Ranch Library, Highlands Ranch CO
9/23/18
5:30 pm – 7:30 pm
Tri-County Health Network hosts Count Me In! in Telluride
9/27/18
5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
 Grand Junction Ballot Speed Dating
 SpringsHill Suites by Marriot, Grand Junction CO
10/01/18
6 – 7 pm
What’s on your Ballot?
Aspen, CO
10/02/18
11:30 am – 1:30 pm
What’s on your Ballot?
Colorado Mountain College, Edwards Campus, Edwards CO
10/04/18
5:30 pm – 6:30 pm
 CMI Happy Hour with Common Cause
10/10/18
5:30 am – 7:00 am
 Count Me In! partners with Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
 Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Littleton Colorado
10/11/18
8 am – 10 am
 CMI! in Summit County “What’s on your Ballot”
10/11/18
12 pm – 2 pm
 CMI! in Grand County “What’s on your Ballot?”
10/14/18
9:30 am – 10:30 am
 Count Me In! and Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
 Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Littleton Colorado

You can read more information about Count Me In! at www.countmeincolorado.com/.

National Week of Conversation from October 5th – 13th

The next National Week of Conversation (NWOC) is October 5th – 13th! During NWOC, folks around the country will be joining conversations, in hopes to better address the intense divisions in our society through dialogue, deepening understanding, and building relationships. We encourage you to join a conversation already going on and/or start your own here! To help support these conversations, resources like conversations guides and helpful background information are provided on the National Conversation Project (NCP) site here, many from the NCDD coalition! And don’t forget to check out the 3k+ resources on the NCDD Resource Center too! You can read more in the post below and on the NCP site here.


National Week of Conversation: October 5-13

Americans of all stripes are stepping up to address the growing cultural crisis of hyper-polarization and animosity across divides. Together we can turn the tide of rising rancor and deepening division with widespread conversations in which we #ListenFirst to understand. Supported by 100+ organizations, National Conversation Project promotes monthly conversation opportunities as well as National Weeks of Conversation.

In April of this year, thousands of Americans took part in the first National Week of Conversation (NWOC). More than 130 schools, libraries, faith communities, activist groups and nonprofits hosted conversations coast to coast in 32 states. These conversations were grounded in a pledge to listen first and seek understanding. The official #ListenFirst hashtag reached millions during NWOC and continues to be promoted by celebrities and journalists to millions more. NWOC events gained media attention across the nation including in the New York Times.

Majorities of NWOC participants walked away feeling more tolerant, understanding, appreciative and curious toward people with different perspectives. Two-thirds rated the value of their conversation as a 9 or 10 out of 10. More than three-quarters now feel better equipped and more likely to listen first to understand, as well as more likely to participate in conversations across divides. A survey of all Americans found 75% willing to set a good example by practicing conversations across divides, and 36%—amounting to more than 100 million people—want to see a national campaign promoting such conversations.

The next National Week of Conversation is October 5th – 13th! Join a conversation already going on or start your own here: www.nationalconversationproject.org/how_to_get_involved

TOPIC OF THE MONTH: Bridging Divides

The United States is facing a cultural crisis. Increasingly in America today, we don’t just disagree; we distrust, dislike, even despise those who see the world differently. Animosity for positions is becoming contempt for the people who hold them. Difference and disagreement are deeply personal as we rage against and recoil from those we see as enemies across widening divides—political, racial, religious, economic and more. Most of us see fewer things that bind Americans together today and have few or no friends from the other side. The rate of loneliness has more than doubled to nearly 50%, creating a public health epidemic. We’re withdrawing from conversations—thereby eroding relationships and understanding—which threatens the foundational fabric of America. 75% of Americans say this problem has reached a crisis level, and 56% believe it will only get worse. Our condition is rapidly deteriorating into what’s now being described as a soft civil war.

There’s nothing wrong with passionate beliefs, disagreement, and protest, but it feels like something more dangerous is taking hold. Do you see it? Personally feel it? What’s changed? What can we do about it together? How we can bridge the divides that threaten our future?

Conversation Guides on Bridging Divides

Background Information to support these conversations:

National Conversation Project Calendar – click here

National Week of Conversation – Fall ‘18: October 5-13, 2018
Listen First Friday – Nov: November 2, 2018
Listen First Friday – Dec: December 7, 2018
Listen First Friday – Jan: January 4, 2019
Listen First Friday – Feb: February 1, 2019
Listen First Friday – Mar: March 1, 2019
National Week of Conversation – Spring ‘19: April 5-13, 2019
Listen First Friday – May: May 3, 2019
Listen First Friday – Jun: June 7, 2019
Listen First Friday – Jul: July 5, 2019
Listen First Friday – Aug: August 2, 2019
Listen First Friday – Sep: September 6, 2019
National Week of Conversation – Fall ‘19: October 4-12, 2019
Listen First Friday – Nov: November 1, 2019
Listen First Friday – Dec: December 6, 2019

You can learn more about the National Week of Conversation at www.nationalconversationproject.org/.