Hollyhock's 22nd Summer Gathering

Rick Ingrasci and Torkin Wakefield knew each other because they served along with their respective spouses, Peggy Taylor and Charles Steinberg, as chairs of the Humanistic Psychology Association. Rex Weyler and Shivon Robinsong met in the founding times of Greenpeace. Together with a few other friends from arts, psychology, and activism, they founded Hollyhock in 1982.

For most of the 26 years since then, Rick and Torkin have teamed up to produce and host an annual crafted gathering during glorious mid summer at Hollyhock's Cortes Island campus. As the first of what is now a series and variety of these gatherings at Hollyhock, this one is still known as “The Summer Gathering.”

Having historically limited attendance to the more intimate 70 or so number of attendees, this year they turned up the volume. The result was 110 exceptional thinkers, writers, teachers, activists, artists, leaders, funders, entrepreneurs, organizers, and musicians.

Morning plenaries played off the rapidly adapting "TED format" with 15 minute presentations on a diverse range of topics. Afternoons were full of Open Space breakouts. Evenings saw creative experiences, social events, talent sharing, and parties.

Olatunji Hall was the venue this year and it served well. The presence of Babatunde himself can be felt throughout this stunning Hall. He came to Hollyhock many times before his passing several years ago. The heir to his teachings in West African traditions, as expressed through drumming, dancing, singing and spiritual practices, Gordy Ryan and his wife Zoe, built this extraordinary space in his honour.

The Summer Gathering is another highlight event of social networking technology that Hollyhock and its producer collaborators are building upon year after year. Once again, I met so many fabulous people and only scratched the surface. The real treasure of it all is the growing linkage of a wide range of phenomenal people across north america and beyond. That's true gold.

 More people need to think about the arts of intentional social network gathering. As Rick likes to say, “throwing a better party is crucial to effective community engagement”. Citizenship, friendship, synergistic action, and peer learning, are but the more obvious products of this type work. The ultimate goal is a just and peaceful society we can leave for our descendants.