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Front Range Gathering Call For Teams

Where We’ve Been:

There’s a momentum that has come out of YPW gatherings so far, our most recent one in Los Angeles in particular, that centered the work we must do with cultural wounding and deep listening in order to bring everyone to the issues we hope to engage together. Additionally, since YPW’s inception, there’s been a running dialogue around how rites of passage and education could interface and inform each other both in the traditional models and otherwise. These two threads led us to host a small preliminary meeting with Naropa staff last year and planning for a larger conversation in conjunction with YPW’s recent Cross-Cultural Protocols Working Group retreat in Boulder.

Our First Meeting & What We Heard:

In April, a group came together on the Naropa campus, including Youth Passageways folks, staff and students from Naropa, various practitioners and youth workers from around the Front Range as well as Ava Hamilton, a local Arapaho filmmaker [see Full Meeting Notes for a complete list of attendees]. Ava was asked to open our meeting,  and Dane, Darcy, Pinar, and Ramon offered gifts and asked permission on behalf of our ancestors, YPW, and Naropa to gather in 2018. After permission was granted and gifts were exchanged we grounded and learned who was in the room then offered some history and context on YPW and our gatherings. We then opened it up to the circle to share questions, comments, and reflections.

What we heard seemed to confirm both of the threads we had come to the meeting with: education and facing/transforming wounds. Whereas there is an expressed desire and vocalized need for Naropa to engage in a deep conversation around rites of passage, there’s also the need to look at Naropa and Boulder in relationship to the other communities of the Front Range to foster collaboration, real conversation about difficult topics, and to co-create something together that brings in a rich and diverse group of multi-generational voices.

Key Takeaways:

  • This gathering should be designed in a way accessible to all Front Range as opposed to centric to any one community, program, or institution within it.
  • If higher education is a large focus of this gathering it would need to be equally accessible to those without access to that education or who have chosen alternative paths to the traditional degree.
  • We need to have a clear picture of the ‘what’s next” for youth but also for everyone involved, centering incorporation and long term change.

What We Propose as a Starting Place

Youth Passageways is moving forward toward gathering in the fall of 2018 in the Front Range that will bring together rite of passage facilitators, educators, changemakers, and youth/students engaged in ceremony, dialogue, experiential activities, and small-group workshops with a goal of further developing collaboration regionally and as an international network. At least in part some themes of this time will be how post-secondary education [and alternative paths] are held and facilitated as a defining rite of passage, regional collaboration and embracing real dialogue about the different communities that make up the Front Range,  and continuing to center POC and LGBTQ voices.

As part of the gathering, YPW and Front Range Partners will host a public event co-created by partner organizations from the Front Range and around the world featuring diverse approaches to youth initiation and well-being.

Next Steps/Call to Action:

Our biggest immediate focus will be figuring out a location, finalizing dates, and articulating a theme for the Gathering. In addition, we will start to establish our working teams.

We’re looking for folks interested in any or all of the teams detailed below. In addition we want to identify a core group of Front Range Host Partners who will work closely with the Design & Facilitation team to tease out the themes and continue to ground our visioning in the needs and nuances of the place.

You can read the Host Partner description HERE as well as see the Host Partners from our last gathering HERE.

Please reach out to: dane@youthpassageways.org if you’re interested in becoming a Host Partner or know of a person or organization you think would be a good fit.

ORGANIZING:  Currently, Dane Zahorsky, Ramon Parish, Pınar Ateş Sinopoulos-Lloyd and Darcy Ottey are serving as the overall organizing team, with a desire to possibly add 1-2 more individuals to this team that will oversee:  overall big-picture, finances, invite list & development of invitation, and coordination between all teams.  

LOGISTICS:  We’re looking for folks to work with food, transportation, equipment, and ground support as a possible vision is engaging different partner offerings or generally important places in the area.

DESIGN & FACILITATION:  We are putting together a Design Team, who will solicit the input of local Front Range groups & the YPW network, develop the program for the event, coordinate with local groups, and secure facilitators.  

MEDIA:  Developing a team to provide multi-media documentation as well as garnering media attention for the event.  

FIRST NATIONS RELATIONS:  As per YPW’s Cross-Cultural protocols, we are working to develop relations with the traditional peoples of the region where the gathering will be held and to involve them in the gathering to the extent that there is interest.  

FUNDING:  We need a team to hold the seeking of funding to underwrite the whole event and scholarship donations funds that allow us to center participants from all socioeconomic situations. This is a deeply important and valuable part of the process and we’re eager to work with anyone who has experience or interest.

ADVISORS & WITNESSES:  We generally keep about 40 members of the YPW family informed through regular updates, including our Stewardship Council, Cross-Cultural Protocols Working Group, wider southern Colorado partners & related organizations, and key trusted advisors and allies.  If you would like to be added to this list or would like to bear witness to this process, please let us know.

Please contact dane@youthpassageways.org for more info on any of the groups.

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