Saturday, September 5, 2009

Conference Reflections - Debbie Allen

The Northern Conference was in my experience a wonderful conference. To sum up the experience, I would say that this was a conference in the social realm designed to cultivate community. To that end it was most successful as the air was fairly palpable with talk of new initiatives.

“Designed” because it was clear to me that a great deal of thought went into the planning of the conference: from the bus schedules, day trips, accommodation, conversation groups, work shops, and group singing all contributed to meeting the greatest number of people in the short time together.

This conference, in my limited experience of a dozen or so conferences, broke new ground:
* Each participant received an address booklet including the name, address, telephone number, and e-mail contact for all participants.
* Members of the Vorstand present were clearly accessible to everyone as they mingled with participants during coffee breaks, lunches, etc.
* The Youth Section was very much apart of the conference. Conversation with Youth section and the “rest of us” was very enlightening, closing some of the perceived gulf between us.
* The Native stream was interwoven throughout the conference, culminating in a gift of song from a choir of Anthroposophists to Meta Williams thus fulfilling a childhood vision of Meta’s.
* A new form of Anthroposophical clapping arose out of the silence: hold your hands in the air above you; wiggle your hands and fingers in silent appreciation.
* Tear-inducing laughter brought on by the artistic work of Dawn the Simple Fool. (I have an audiotape of Anthroposophists gaffawing in record number and with gusto to prove it.)
* Conversation groups and workshops had opportunity to present a culmination of their efforts on the last day. This was a wonderful way to experience what others were doing during the week.

I wish to thank the ASC Council members, and their teams, for their efforts to bring this Conference into being. Having been there I now can understand the need for all the trips to the north to bring people together. Without that personal connection I think not as many people from other countries would have attended.

In closing, this was an amazing conference for me personally. The conference, the place, the people I met, all exceeded my imaginations. I am looking forward to now connecting with the Alberta people I met to “set mine I aflame” again as it was during the conference.


Debbie Allen(formerly in Vancouver, BC, now in Vimy AB

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