At Sparks HQ, I  have been assessing the workshops that Sparks offers and I thought I would give you an update. Sparks is committed to hosting three workshops for the general community between August and December 2018.

The workshops are;

1. Strategic Storytelling for Social Change 

Strategic storytelling is a practice of leadership of inviting others to join us in a shared social change purpose in the face of uncertainty requires engaging the heart, the head, and the hands and feet: motivation, strategy, and action. This strategy can be used to access the emotional resources needed to respond mindfully by mobilising hope over fear, empathy over alienation, and self-worth over self-doubt. Learn how to tell a story of self that can communicate the values that explain why they have been called to lead; a story of us that brings alive values their community shares; and a story of change of the urgent challenge to those values that requires action. This articulation of the relationship of self, community and action is also at the core of the Sparking Change strategic storytelling methodology.

2. Community Leadership Program 

Leadership is an identifiable set of skills and abilities that is available to everyone. It is about relationships, personal credibility, and what leaders do. Its about an observable set of skills and abilities that are useful wherever a leader may be. Given the motivation and desire, leadership is a skill that can be strengthened, honed, and enhanced through practice and feedback. The Sparking Change Community Leadership Program takes you through our 5 leadership practices, our 10 commitments to clarify the practice and a personal leadership practice journal full of exercises to continue your leadership journey.

3. Story Based Strategy For Campaigning

This workshop is dedicated to exploring a story-based strategy campaign model. Understand narrative power analysis, explore the elements of story to deconstruct the stories we want to change as well as to construct the stories we want to tell. Practice the battle of the story method for creating social change narratives and messages, and explore the points of intervention model with a focus on action at the point of assumption as a means of shifting narratives.

We have also been working on ways to make our workshops better. 

These are some of the things we can do to help make the experience better for you!

Co-facilitation 

All Sparks two day workshops will be co-facilitated. There are several reasons for this.

1. Capitalising on our strengths – Co-facilitation allows one of our Sparks to facilitate while the other observes and supports. There are also opportunities to divide the material in a way that lets each of us capitalise on our individual strengths.

2. Conserving energy. Presenting can be tiring both for facilitators and participants. Co-facilitators provide diversity in voices, presentation styles and energy levels which can serve to hold the attention of the group, while giving each facilitator time to shine and time to rest.

3. Maximising diverse resources. Unfortunately here at Sparking Change, we are not perfect. We don’t always know everything, and we think that working as a team allows each facilitator  to contribute the best of their gifts, talents and resources.

4. Extra eyes, ears and hands and heart.  Two facilitators can manage a group better than one. The second person can help gauge participants’ reactions and notice whether people seem to tracking with the process. Co-facilitators can also help hand out materials, assist in monitoring discussions and/or coaching participants in breakout groups. Co-facilitators can monitor and handle problems with the physical environment, latecomers, phone calls, audio-visuals, and other logistical matters. Finally, co-facilitators can help gauge the emotional responses in participant group. Often when we are doing the deep inner work, we have emotional reactions that can come up – having two facilitators means that we can be more responsive to individual needs.

5. Providing Mutual Support. Everyone can have an “off” day. Perhaps an activity did not go as planned, or maybe our energy is low or scattered. Co-facilitators bring balance to the team. Co-facilitators’ behaviour towards one another – supportive, respectful, and collaborative behaviour, serves as a model for the way participants can behave towards each other.

Regular times

The plan is to facilitate 1 x  two day workshop on regular days each second month. We are hoping that it becomes the first Thursday and Friday of the month in August, October and December for the rest of 2018, with the plan to follow through this pattern next year in 2019, starting in February.

Regular venue 

We are in negotiation with a new venue on Swanston St, Melbourne that is wheelchair accessible and has a disability access bathroom in the building. We are hoping to book the venue for the rest of 2018 and all of the 2019 workshops shortly. It is becoming increasingly important to find a venue that can accomodate our participants needs (wheelchair accessible for example) and that can provide a regular spot for us to work our StoryWork magic.

Marketing and promotion

Looking at all of our evaluation forms, the primary place that people found out about our workshops is via facebook. Which shows both the beauty and strength of using this networking site, but also in the need to diversify our approach. We have yet to develop a plan around this, however, I know that we want to find ways to work with our participants so that they can champion our workshops for us. We want to put the power in the people’s hands – but with some strategic direction. We are also keen on connecting with organisations, we know that a couple of people each workshop are coming in work time with their work paying for the training. We want to capitalise on this, and help to get you along under the auspice of your work. Keep an eye out for details soon, as well as promotional collateral.

Participant Manuals

I have been working behind the scenes to develop some participant manuals and more activity materials for the workshops. We are working to make the manuals user friendly, and informative (and pretty).

Costs

As the level of service increases, so do the workshop prices. I have crunched the numbers and can happily announcer that the refurbished two day workshops will be $375.00.

Compared to many other workshops, ours will still be reasonable for a two day workshop. There are also a few options for those who will find the price increases challenging.

1. We will continue to have scholarship positions for two people as per our scholarship policy. You can check out how to apply for scholarships here!

2. We will have a payment plan available for those who would like to pay the workshop off. There will be a 50% deposit ($187.50) – for more information see our booking form.

3. We have gift certificates available for those who want to ask family and friends to support your sparking change journey. People can purchase the gift certificates any time and they need to be used within a 12 month period. You can use as many as you have any any time within the 12 months. Please see our gift certificates here. 

In short, we are taking Sparking Change to the next level. We are growing into a community development organisation that is dedicated to bringing you workshop services that are all about communicating, connecting and co-creating a better world. I am pretty excited and I hope you are too!

Lana Woolf – Founder of Sparking Change

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