Art of Hosting for bushfire recovery
What’s possible when we support each other to strengthen and heal our communities?
In the aftermath of the Black Summer bushfires, we were invited to support training in the Art of Hosting in the regions of Eurobodalla and Bega Valley on the South Coast of NSW. The scope and complexity of community recovery, and the lived experience of several practitioners in the region, led to a strong call for two trainings.
The first was in Tathra in September 2020: a small COVID safe training of 12 participants to allow people to meet face to face, called by Cobargo resident, community recovery worker and experienced Art of Hosting practitioner David Newell.
The second was invited by Zoe Morgan of Eurobodalla Shire Council, held in Batemans Bay for 17 participants in late November 2020. Both allowed space for community volunteers, agency and government workers to pause, rest, reflect and be supported and re-energised in their work, and lives.
In the words of ...
Participants, Bega Valley and Eurobodalla trainings ...
I’m leaving feeling a lot calmer, more courageous and confident to go out and practice. I’m taking connection and support - it’s reassuring, awesome and I’m feeling more capable about what I need to do
I’m leaving hopeful, deeply nourished and deeply grateful
My faith restored, tolerance increased, cynicism dialled down. There is a leader in every chair!
I feel great hope. I think the strength we’ve built is possible. We need it so badly
I’ve had my reset button pressed. I’m re-booted and ready to go, with very powerful questions
I have a feeling my colour has been brightened. Thank you for the care, patience and guidance
We’ve been gifted some of the sharpest tools in the toolbox for the future
When asked how they would use the skills they’ve learned, they said:
In my engagement with young people, ensuring it is done in a way that allows them to have a voice, and is genuine youth participation and a collaborative process. Liz
At community meetings I attend, as a way to encourage conversation, inclusiveness and keep things moving forward. Angela
I can bring these processes into every interaction I have, and I intend to do that. To continue to walk beside my family and community, learning together as we go and creating change together. Deb
To create a safe space for the people I work with, whether in my job, at home, or with the sporting team that I coach. Henry
I’ve worked for a long time picking up the pieces down the river of people from the mistakes of society. My interest now is getting up the river and catching people before they drop in. This is a perfect way to do it. Ronan