Members of a national network of community development consultants – The Community Development Associates (CDA) led by nationally known community development professional Ben Butler – spent their quarterly staff meeting on site with LCW. Team members came from Oakland, New York and the Philadelphia area to participate. The team wanted to be immersed into the network organizing approach as a part of their commitment to learning ‘ new and relevant approaches.’ The visit was also an opportunity for LCW members and staff to engage in deep discussions about our work – through the questioning and critique of the CDA team.
Visits like this are the essence of what we want for the Network Organizing Forum (NOF) – our internal/external learning engine run by Alma Couverthie; to learn by sharing, teaching, critique and reflection. Importantly, the NOF Interns – LCW members who are directly engaged in the learning engine – played a significant role in the visit by helping to plan and by engaging in the principal reflections sessions. Refelctions covered issues such as power building and sharing, local politics, funding for community building, meaninful civic engagement strategies and integrating the network approach into program delivery for young people and adults. As is always the case at LCW, there was also lots of food and fun and relationship building!!