This webinar is hosted by Common Security Club (http://commonsecurityclub.org/) (CSC). There are many resources on the website, and a six part curriculum to direct your Common Security Club. Dakot Butterfield and Sarah Byrnes present an interactive introduction to the goals, process, and framework for organizing Common Security Clubs.

A Common Security Club is defined as a group of people who come together to grapple with personal security in a rapidly changing world. The focus of the groups is on learning together, mutual aid, and social action.

Dakota introduces some of the Core Assumptions of CSC’s.

1.The changes in our world bring great insecurity to many people. We face 15-20 years of (economic and developmental) discontinuity that will bring destabalizing changes. The driving forces of the changes are: growing economic difficulties are leading to structural changes; rising oil prices impact food and transportation costs and meeting basic needs; severe weather events and resource depletion will create a cascade effect on people’s well-being.

2. CSC’s aim to rebuild community connections that have weakened over the last 50 years. 25% of people say they have no one to confide in.

3. CSC’s are a structured but flexible tool designed to create safe places to learn together, build community connections, and provide mutual support.

Building a Club

The Value of an Organizing Partner: The CSC philosophy emphasizes the value of an Organizing Partner to facilitate a club. The collaborative relationship is just as important at the leadership level to maintain excitement, a good chemistry, create an environment that is a magnet for other people, and dependability/accountability are vital.

How to Communicate about CSC’s: Identify what attracted you to the idea of CSC’s, and communicate those themes. Develop some “handles” or a “30 second elevator speech”  to communicate the essence of the clubs: the clubs are structured yet flexible groups, the clubs are safe places to learn how the economics of the last few decades will impact people and economic futures. Stories, tidbits and sample materials are available on the website.

Finding a Facilitator (if you’re not it): Look for experienced facilitators in religious communities who lead religious education classes, people in helping organizations that already work with people in economic distress, neighborhood groups and block associations, environmental groups, labor groups and unions, book clubs. Talk to them about how CSC’s will help them achieve their own goals as well.

Doing an Introductory CSC Session: The Intro Session in the guide is an hour-and-a-half participatory event designed to introduce the idea of a CSC. It is available on the website. Getting people to commit to 6 meetings and commiting to mutual aid is a very high bar. Starting a club can be difficult. Starting building from an existing group, or a dinner or movie group that already get together. The new movie “The Economics of Happiness” is a great place to begin discussion about a group. You need at least 15 to start. 12 committed people is a good working size.

Using the Curriculum: The six step curriculum is not intended to be a step-by-step format. IT can be used as a treasure chest to pull ideas for your use or to adapt to suit the culture of your group. Various open source readings are available website that are appropriate for different groups. What is important is the creation of a space for people to talk, no dominance or preaching. The curriculum is designed to include the mind/heart/body, expose people to new ideas and take actions together. Building group identity through rituals such as sharing food, etc are also important.

Session One: Roots of the Great Recession-What Happened? and Phantom Wealth vs Real Wealth

Session Two: Debt: Where have we come to? and Relying on Ourselves Past, Present, Future

Session Three: Our Ecological Debt and Redefining Growth/Choosing Resilience and Transition

Session Four: The Great Risk Shift and Redefining What Gives Us Security. This session shifts to action.

Session Five: Gifts and Needs and Seeing, Protecting and Sharing “The Commons”

Session Six: The New Economy (local, decentralized; less consumption and more community; diverse sources of income) and Visualizing a positive future

After the Curriculum events and programs around food, housing, foreclosure prevention, and the outreach of CSC through sharing events with the community are next steps after working through the curriculum.

Staying in Touch: Plug into the CSC network with monthly facilitator support calls, email, sharing stories, best practices and event listings.

In Sum:  Dakota and Sarah foresee increasing transition opportunities for CSC’s to build community and bring people together under the economic focus. The resources on the website provide alot of training materials and resources that help you to get the group through initial meeting through the curriculum. You can attend conferences and share on the website to continue to build the organization and reach further into communities.

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