Transition US Board Retreat: A recap

It was with great anticipation and excitement that the Transition US Team gathered on February 12th for an intensive retreat at the Angela Center in Santa Rosa, California. Both new and old Board members met together for the first time, for 3 days of in-depth discussion, creative thinking, heartfelt sharing and celebration. Our intention was to generate ideas, and share thoughts and feelings on the future of the Transition movement in the States, and to determine the role played by Transition US. We were particularly keen to figure out what services we could offer to support Transition Initiatives across the country.


Our lively and rich thought sharing ambled over such issues as "What is Transition?" to "How do we engage the entire community?" We realized that Transition is not so much a model, but more of an evolving, collaborative process that embraces many strategies and tactics, all of them rooted in the philosophy of permaculture.


The issue of diversity was explored in detail, and we discussed how we might reach beyond the stereotypical white, middle class, middle-aged, male demographic, to include communities with a diverse spectrum of race, gender, age, economic and faith backgrounds. A new diversity sub group was set up to address this all important concern.


We discussed with much enthusiasm the partnership opportunities presented by Post Carbon Institute, in particular the forthcoming publication of a series of transition related books. We shared ways that we could increase our communication capacity, both within the Transition movement, and with the wider community through national media channels. And we also spent time establishing our core values, agreeing to consensus decision-making, and revising our strategic plan.

The entire whirlwind event was held and cultivated by the brilliant facilitation of Adam Wolpert, from the nearby Occidental Arts and Ecology Center. Adam gave an illuminating presentation on how organizations work, and how they can be structured to become more effective.

Transition US staff were also present: Carolyne Stayton, who organized the entire event, and provided invaluable creative input from her wealth of experience as Executive Director; Carl Shuller, who sustained us with nourishing food and snacks; and Shelby Tay, who was on hand to share her working knowledge of Transition Initiatives in the field.

We left the retreat filled with a renewed sense of optimism, keen to move forward with our work, and glad to be part of a group and a movement that is dedicated to hopeful, proactive and inspiring action towards building resilience into our communities. Thank you for joining us in these efforts!


Note: The retreat was informed by the results of a recent Transition US survey, whereby many of the 59 official Transition Initiatives were interviewed to see where they were in the process of Transition, and what resources might best support their needs. The results of this survey are being compiled by Shelby Tay, and we plan to make this document available through our website as soon as they are complete.

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