Envisioning Sonoma Valley’s Future: A Continuation

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn October and November of last year, Impact100 hosted two symposia at which local nonprofits, Impact100 members, and other community members were invited to envision a “more perfect” Sonoma Valley in 2018 – what would it look like and how could we get there? On Thursday, October 9 those conversations continued. Celia Canfield, Impact100 Co-President, welcomed participants and posed the objective for the meeting: Build on the conversations we started last year, generate ideas, and hope that change will happen organically within this group and with others who want the best community for Sonoma Valley.

With that as the charge, facilitator Tom Benthin* began by asking each person to take a moment to reflect on what was achieved during the last year. Individual accomplishments were captured and posted according to one of the following themes:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

  • Health, Wellness & Nutrition
  • Youth and Family
  • Learning & Education
  • Enriched & Accessible Community
  • Nature, Ecology & Agriculture
  • Cross Cultural Connections & Community Identity
  • Community & Hub Activities
  • Safety & Civil Discourse

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This task was followed by group exercises and discussions. Sonoma Valley nonprofits moved into groups to focus on the theme that most interested them. They were first asked to think about what has been done already and then to identify the gaps and opportunities that remain. The next step was to brainstorm ideas about possible courses of action and finally to focus on one particular goal and how it might be achieved.

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Meanwhile the attending Impact100 members were asked to remove their “Impact hats” and put on the hat of “engaged member of the community,” and select one of four topic areas to discuss:

  • Cross Cultural Connections & Community Identity
  • Safety & Civil Discourse
  • Enriched & Accessible Community
  • Community & Hub Activities

Their task was to focus on identifying the “gaps” and brainstorming the “opportunities” from the community perspective.

Conversations were extremely energetic, and papers at each table began to fill as opportunities, goals, and resources were identified. After about an hour, the nonprofit participants were encouraged to share the highlights of their conversations with the whole group. Ideas generated included holding an Opportunity Fair to connect teens to volunteer services in the community; bringing nonprofits together to align their goals under a shared vision; creating a Teen Van Transportation Service to transport teens to off-site activities; working with 100 families to encourage healthier eating and cooking; creating shared living spaces and accessible community centers focusing on the arts, recreation, and exercise; transforming the Sonoma Development Center property into the “presidio” of Sonoma County. Key to all of these goals were increasing communication, building awareness of existing programs and services, and developing effective partnerships. These ideas were captured on the templates pictured below.  For a summary of the Impact100 member discussions, click HERE.

Tom encouraged participants to keep the templates and to continue the conversations. Discussions, ideas, and collaborative actions all move us closer to the Sonoma Valley we envision.

 

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*Tom Benthin, an accomplished graphic facilitator, is adept at using the full range of large format graphics to enhance meeting productivity and group performance. In meetings, he uses graphic format as an integral support to group process, deepening participants’ experiences and creating a powerful shared visual workspace in real time. www.tombenthin.com

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