The leadership of CEASE held its annual retreat in Nevada City, CA. hosted by our CEASE West members. We began our retreat by gathering around the sculpture of “A Circle of Friends” and sharing remembrances of our dear, departed mentor and friend, Chris Lamm. We also welcomed a newcomer into our circle who was a mentee of Chris’s.
We spent a good part of our retreat reflecting on whether or not we have the energy and resources to continue in the role of change-agent in the six primary action focus areas and 23 sub-focus areas listed on our webpage. We each affirmed the importance of CEASE in our lives and our genuine wish to continue working together. After an extensive discussion and participation in an Affinity Diagram exercise, we came to consensus that our primary shared interest was in Peace Education. From there we agreed upon focusing our organizations’ purpose and actions. A thorough description of the outcome of these deliberations can be found in the article written by John Surr on page 3 of this Fall Packet. As we create a more realistic focus for our efforts, we are grateful for and enthusiastically support our closely allied organizations, Defending the Early Years (DEY), Teachers Resisting Unhealthy Children’s Entertainment (TRUCE) and Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood (CCFC) as they lead in our shared goals and values.
We attended to the multitude of details related to maintaining our organization. We updated, rewrote and approved several policies, discussed our financial challenges, distributed the newly created “New Committee Member” handbooks and committed to actions we wished to take in the following year. We made suggestions for the focus of our 2015 newsletter and this Fall Packet. We also reflected on the complications of implementing the first CEASE mini-grant projects as well as celebrated the successes of those initial projects. We discussed improving our website in several ways. First, by simplifying our Take Action page; second, by making it clearer that we are a peace education organization; and finally by making the site interactive by including a blog. We had a lively discussion about the possibilities for community building and education by using a blog. We also discussed the benefits of updating our Facebook regularly. We reminded everyone to contribute to our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/peace.educators