FEC Spring Assembly Report

April, 2009 written by Apple

The FEC assembly was hosted this spring by Twin Oaks Community. There were representatives from five of the six member communities of the FEC, though only four of those representatives had decision-making power. Attending were:
Acorn Community (Virginia): G.Paul, delegate
East Wind Community (Missouri): Key, observing
Emma Goldman's Finishing School (Washington): Monica, delegate
Sandhill Community (Missouri): Apple, sitting in for Stan
Twin Oaks Community (Virginia): Bucket, delegate and FEC secretary, and Ethan

Skyhouse Community (Missouri) was unrepresented, as their delegate Amy is busy taking care of her newborn, Jolyon.

Also attending the first days of the assembly were Lila, Hop, and their daughter Ayana. They are part of a forming community, currently residing in Wisconsin, and have been communicating with Bucket for some time about becoming involved with the FEC. They are temporarily calling themselves the 529 Collective, but are clear that they will have a new name in the future. They are planning to relocate as their community process moves forward, and are open to different possibilities, though they have some leaning towards the west coast, where they have friends and family, and have done organizing in the past.

Scott of Twin Oaks checked in for Nadmadawining Community in Wisconsin. This community is affiliated with Teaching Drum, a Primitivist Skills School, and is also interested in membership in the FEC. Scott has both attended and taught at the school, and though he's had little interaction with Nadmadawining in the past, he is hoping they will become part of the FEC, to make it easier for him to keep up his connection with the school and community there.

The assembly started Friday afternoon with an FEC Orientation for those of us who were new to the group. Bucket talked with Apple, Key, Hop and Lila about FEC principles, priorities, accomplishments, history and background. The weather was great, and we all sat at a picnic table eating citris fruit and getting to know each other a little, as we got to know the FEC.

Saturday morning, Sky Blue (former Twin Oaker, now working on getting a community started in Charlottesville, VA) gave a workshop on meeting facilitation. It was interactive and fun, taught us some skills, and got us all primed for meetings.

Daytime hours for the rest of the week were scheduled with different meeting sessions and work parties. On the whole, this combination worked well for people. We were able to cover all the decision-making that we felt needed to happen, and also had time to work on various projects that we thought were important for the FEC.

Our four meeting sessions were: "Visioning and Direction," "Outreach, Media Strategy and Propaganda," "FEC Jobs and Responsibilites," and "Budgeting." A prevalent theme in all of our talks was outreach. We are interested in communicating our principles and models to the wider world, and also helping other groups in their pursuit of these principles. There was a lot of discussion about how the FEC can be an organization that helps forming communities, or other egalitarian groups. Projects which we prioritized were "Community in a Box," a collection of resources providing forming communities easy access to information about systems and organization in our existing communities, and our workshop curriculum, which we want to make into a package that makes presentation easy for anyone who has an interest in bringing it to an event. Another effect of this outreach theme was that we budgeted to be able to financially assist new communities to attend the next assembly, and assigned more resources for FEC members to attend other events this year.

At the work parties, we got started on these prioritized projects. This involved some amount of brainstorming and discussion, and some amount of computer time. While we had hoped to leave the assembly with little "homework," we found that both of these projects will require more work to finish. Bucket and Monica also found the working time at the assembly useful for training, and Bucket passed on a lot of computer skills that will be relevant to Monica's new position as co-secretary.

Highlights of the assembly included the check-ins from the two communities with interest in the FEC. All of us were excited to hear about what others are doing, and their passion about it, and were hopeful that we can provide mutual support. Many of us had fun at the inter-community dance party on Saturday night, with treats and good music in the Twin Oaks dining hall. We also had some great weather, and were able to have one of our sessions sitting on a blanket in the courtyard of Twin Oaks, admiring the spring flowers and eating popcorn as we discussed media strategy.

The fall assembly will be at Emma Goldman's Finishing School, and will hopefully include the Nadmadawining as a Community in Dialog. Folks from the 529 Collective are planning to attend as well. We hope we will have delegates from all the FEC member communities at this assembly.

We are welcome to feedback and questions. Mail us at members@theFEC.org. Members of FEC communities are invited to join our members mailing list and join in the conversations we have within the FEC. Also, ee sure to regularly check our website at TheFEC.org for news and blogs from other FEC coommunities.