Please read the full post at the Civic Commons (and add to the conversation) but here’s the teaser:
If someone is offering to send me to Seattle, Washington to attend a four-day conference dedicated to talking and cogitating, does anyone who knows even the remotest thing about me believe I would ever say no?
Precisely. With a blog called, Writes Like She Talks? Yeah. No.
And so it was that I spent October 11 through 14 in the Pacific Northwest at the 5th National Conference of the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation. Being an itinerant backgrounder, before heading out, I dedicated a good chunk of time to researching the sessions, speakers and attendees, as I tried to assess whether my perception that I’d be among rooms full of kindred civic engagement enthusiasts would be borne out.
Within a very short time of reviewing the materials, my anticipation of the conference developed into almost a hunger for being among others who “get it.” Organization after organization listed included words like “civic” “democracy” “public” “engagement” or some meaningful combination of those words in their names (although initiatives with titles like “Portsmouth Listens” and “New Hampshire Listens” relayed the same notions).
Seriously? I was like a kid in a candy store from even before the pre-conference activities began. And, just as with each of the three formal conference days, there were dueling good options (and I’m not including the Vice Presidential Debate). My highly annotated hard copy brochure tracks my struggles with narrowing the choices as I tried to figure out what to attend and who I wanted to hear and meet and caucus with if at all possible. But here’s the way it broke down ultimately: