Crossing from hero to host leadership

Participatory leadership for connected, adaptable and resilient communities



The Australian Black Summer bushfires of 2019/20 has had a significant impact on many across our country, on Campfire and our members. Our hearts feel called deeply into the work of community resilience building, particularly in this region.


With a clear purpose of supporting long term community-led recovery of bushfire impacted communities, we’re thrilled to be offering a Regenerative Community Leadership Program in partnership with The Crossing Land Education Trust.


Forty south east NSW residents will have the opportunity to build their capacity and skills in participatory leadership with this intensive year long program, funded through the NSW Government’s Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund.


The Crossing is an environmental education camp located on Yuin Country just outside of Bermagui in the Bega Valley (see photo from the air). It is a permaculture camp, a home of co-learning for young people and increasingly adults for more than 20 years. What better partners, and place, to bring people together?


Participatory leadership - the Art of Hosting and Harvesting Conversations that Matter - has been practiced in Australia for more than a decade, and for some years in small pockets of the NSW south east. The power of participatory practices for working in complexity have more recently been recognised, and are beginning to be practised, in the bushfire recovery work of government and non-government agencies, and in communities. Campfire Co-op is an organisation of Art of Hosting practitioners, and these practices are deeply embedded in all of our work.


It’s an exciting challenge and a great privilege to develop and host this pilot. It will be no ordinary leadership program, shifting the focus from an ideal of the ‘hero leader’ who is confident, accomplished, successful and has all of the answers.


Instead, our intention is to host and learn with a diverse group of human beings who want to build their skills and capacities to gather people together and work with wicked challenges. Leaders for complex times, where there are many questions, and no right or easy answers. Our hope is to invite a community of people who will work with their own communities to discover and lead their own futures.


Throughout 2022, participants will learn and practice the foundations of the Art of Hosting, Groundwork, and other collaborative and personal leadership practices that contribute to peaceful and cohesive communities. It will equip them, individually and together, with the capacities and skills to host their own communities, addressing challenges and moving forward together.

It will also be uniquely Australian and for these times and these communities.


We will work with experienced hosts and stewards of these practices, local Art of Hosting practitioners, local Aboriginal elders, and the natural world to learn and explore the challenges and possibilities for each community.


What if this region could become a centre for participatory leadership practice in Australia and support recovery and more resilient communities?


We are excited for what’s to come.


Do you want to learn more about hero to host leadership? Sign up for Fireside Tales, or drop us a line.