I’ve just returned to the State office after hosting NASCSP’s latest annual Fall Conference here in Washington State in (sunny!) Seattle – home of all things green, crunchy, and caffeinated. We took in so much so fast, that now I need a little Zen to recover. We learned innovative ways to foster creativity in our organizations and communities (think artistic community commons for art and dancing!), got a first-hand look at an integrated comprehensive community center and neighborhood developed by a local CAA and housing authority (with everything from mixed-income housing to mixed greens in the community garden), took a pretty amazing photo walk (links forthcoming), threw and caught giant raw fish (guess you had to be there), and came away with a renewed sense of how a commitment to big goals can change lives (ask anyone who was there about artists, fishmongers, and violinists). My head is still spinning. I just need to sip my (organic, green) tea and empty my mind of all conscious thought…
TO CONTROL YOUR COW, PUT IT IN A LARGE PASTURE
Since the conference was a bit of an information overload, thank goodness I don’t have to keep what I learned to myself. As in a favorite Zen proverb, everything we took from the conference can roam the larger pasture of our local networks. Many of you who couldn’t be there in person followed along via social media (for tweets from the conference, see the #NASCSPinSEA hashtag results), or joined the CSBG Training and Technical Assistance workshop live via weblink. With tight budgets and more dark clouds on the horizon, we State Directors need to keep finding new ways to get and share information.
IF YOU LIGHT A LAMP FOR SOMEBODY, IT WILL ALSO BRIGHTEN YOUR OWN PATH
Local agencies, national partners, and State CAA associations have increasingly found a home at NASCSP alongside us State directors. Association directors and CAA staff have participated alongside us at our conferences for some time now. They were a welcomed addition again last week in Seattle. Why? It’s certainly more than a need to find any port in a storm. Rather, there’s a growing realization that all of us who work to find local solutions to the global issues of income and energy security are truly in this together. In these perilous times, we all need each other more than ever. The more creative partnerships we can forge, the more effective we’ll all be.
A JUG FILLS DROP BY DROP
Zen practice is all about wisdom and attaining enlightenment. The World-Famous Fishmongers we met at the conference clearly reached some whole new level of enlightenment, but I’ll settle for doing my part each day to make a sustainable future the reality. Information is power, so let’s multiply the potency of what we know by sharing generously. I urge you all to take the time to share whatever you find valuable in this newsletter, whatever catches your eye in the NASCSP e-news Daily Digest, as well as your own thoughts and insights from the conference, with your local CAAs and CAA Associations. Not just every once in a while, but regularly, frequently, and consistently. And remember, although gold dust is precious, when it gets in your eyes, it obstructs your vision, so don’t try to retain and use all those resources by yourself. Share the wealth and the responsibility with your state-wide network.