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home : current news : current news August 18, 2017

4/11/2017 2:36:00 PM
Civility event on tap at fire hall
By Sue Stafford

Citizens4Community is presenting its sixth free skill-building presentation on Thursday evening, April 20, at the Sisters Fire Hall.

The evening will be a community conversation about civility, to help one another improve skills and understanding. Local volunteers who care about community, communication, and civility will facilitate the conversation.

"In their lives, these volunteers work to help people in many different ways. The facilitators are not there as trained experts. This is not counseling or professional advice. They are bringing their experience to help the discussion move along, as facilitators where needed," explained C4C program chair Maret Pajutee.

A partial list of facilitators includes: Roger Johnson, Sisters-Camp Sherman RFPD fire chief; Fran Willis, Sisters resident; Dr. Kent Neff, psychiatrist and professional mediator; Katie Cavanaugh, business coach and consultant; Kristie Miller, retired Sisters District Ranger; and Karen Roth, COCC director of multicultural activities.

"I did an initial design of the activity for the evening - a role-play to practice the communication skills taught by some of the previous presenters," said Adrienne Graham, senior consultant with the Nonprofit Association of Oregon. "I am glad to be able to use my background to help out a nonprofit in my community create healthy, respectful and robust community dialogue."

Soup and Civility will be served from 5:15 to 6 p.m., with soup by Melvin's Fir Street Market (vegetarian option available). The complimentary light meal will include coffee and cookies and is sponsored by Sisters Coffee Company and C4C.

From 6 to 7 p.m., participants will gather for a community conversation about civility. There will be a brief overview of constructive conversation tips before role-playing exercises involving small group "challenging conversations," to be followed by debriefing. The evening will close with a large group debrief and lessons learned.

"I have attended several of the training sessions in the past and have found them to be entertaining and personally and professionally beneficial," said Chief Johnson.

The idea for this session came from feedback received at the January workshop featuring Dr. Gregg Walker of Oregon State University. Participants were asked to write on a card an example of a difficult behavior they had encountered. Thirty-eight participants reported the following behaviors: 29 percent involved personal/verbal attacks or bullying; 26 percent involved emotional manipulation/power struggles, passive/aggressive behavior, or people who won't engage; 26 percent said some people only talk but don't listen; 8 percent had encountered cultural insensitivity or the assumption that people of color don't belong and are not part of this community; 5 percent had experienced dishonesty; and 5 percent had witnessed erratic behavior or intoxication.

In the previous five workshops, which dealt with four of the nine tenets of civility of Speak Your Peace, close to 300 people have participated. Feedback from all the sessions said participants wanted more time to discuss various issues and practice how to respond.

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