In a world that sometimes seems somewhat craazzy or crumbling down around us it is nice to have a chance to relax in beautiful surroundings and be inspired by others’ dedication and innovation. Social Change Institute at Hollyhock (Cortez Island, B.C.) is just such an opportunity. Hollyhock (hollyhock.ca) if you’ve never heard of it, is situated on lovely B.C. rainforest land. The mission of Hollyhock (and isn’t this awesome) is, Hollyhock exists to inspire, nourish and support people who are making the world better.
Social Change Institute (http://hollyhocklife.org/sci/) occurs once a year at Hollyhock. Participants apply to attend then make the pilgrimage to Hollyhock in June. I somehow stumbled on to this opportunity and had the chance to meet Canadian activists such as Cara Pike (founder of the Climate Access Network) and Tzeporah Berman (currently working for Greenpeace, but read her book, This Crazy Time to learn more about this force of nature). Anyway in short the conference was awesome and I learned many of the activists there really had no idea what they were doing when they started. Some were even fearful perhaps but they knew they had to do something and in many cases start something they did!
If you are looking for inspiration for making social change and interested in networking within this dynamic community I recommend SCI (there are scholarships too I believe).
Also there are a few other interesting conferences on the horizon closer to home which may be up your alley – Peoples Social Forum, August 21-24 in Ottawa (http://www.peoplessocialforum.org/). I’ve never been to it but it looks promising. Another big upcoming event will be organized by Community Foundations Canada and the Ontario Trillium Foundation (some of our community foundations are doing awesome grassroots work and others could be doing so much more than they are – just my personal opinion). It is CKX, Community Exchange Summit – a platform to exchange ideas and knowledge about communities (http://ckx.org/summit/) coming Nov. 19-21 in Toronto.
So go for it! And let us know of others – or if you know of interesting social change courses let us know!