A network made possible by community

This following post was written by Chris Connolly, YSI's Communications and Evaluation Coordinator.

Last week contained an important learning moment for me. I came to realize that I had completely neglected to include photo credits on the website to recognize Fonna Seidu and Shannon Moan for the heart and effort they put into their beautiful shots of CollabCamp. 

In a sudden moment, I learned the difference between feeling grateful internally and connecting the dots in my public acknowledgements. I learned about the weight of responsibility that goes along with the lightness we give each other. I learned about what it really takes to see and honour the many contributions that make our community possible. 

As I reflected on that, I realized that the CollabCamp report-back page had very little by way of appreciation for the many contributions and hard work that went into making the gathering possible -- including up-front mentorship and design as well as those who stepped up with helping hands at the event itself.

Thank you to Fonna and Shannon, who were the all-seeing eyes who continually bore witness to the magical stories unfolding. Chi Miigwetch to Cleis, Jade, Theo, Christine, Candace and Leland for tending to the circle and the bonfire with your drumming, singing and leading our round dance. Thank you to Liz for diving in as co-host to set the intention for the Open Space sessionThank you to Jasmine, Shannon, Redge, Kevin, Jermaine, Silvia Argentina, Theo, Nathaniel and all the rest who offered acting, poetry, song and dancing in the service of one of the most beautiful collective performances I have ever witnessed. Thank you to everyone who stepped into the Core Team to sustain our forward-looking work in 2015. Thank you to the staff at the YMCA Cedar Glen for taking care of us so well and making sure everything was where it needed to be. Thank you to Marc Langlois, our Evaluation consultant, for making the trip from London to wish us well and offer his keen ear (even while his own community cafe is getting off the ground). And thank you to all the rest who offered small acts of support without looking for recognition.

I also reflected once more on the roles that each member of the hosting team played, and saw the important and detailed ways that many people stepped up: Jazz's soulful invitation, Jess' smirking tell-it-like-it-is-ness, Peter's playful attentiveness, Shannon's brave sensitivity, Candace's generous warmth, Jon's willingness to see things many ways, Violetta's cosmic space-holding, Cathy's heartful gratitude and patience, Chris Lee's precise eye to the long view, Gerard's deep-seeing humour, and Robin's full-spirited willingness to show up. 

Before this gathering, I believed intellectually and mentally that collective intelligence was important and possible. But at CollabCamp itself, I felt it in my core. 

You've reminded me that YSI is all of us. Thank you. Chi Miigwetch.