The California Fires and Community Engagement (Part 2)

If you missed Part 1, you will find it here.

Week 1 (continued):
By the end of the day, I am exhausted. This group of small, local Fire Safe Councils is one of the most energized, most engaged groups I have taught in a long time. But then again, the life-or-death issues at the heart of their missions – fire – will affect the immediate health and safety of their communities.

The group’s passion for those issues, combined with my job – teaching them to transform that passion into effective governance – is a recipe for my collapsing at the end of the day.

The next day we pack up the car (with the books and the files and the clothes and the boxes…), and we head to L.A. to do a book-signing workshop on Community Engagement and FriendRaising for the Los Angeles Center for Nonprofit Management. The audience is a diverse mix of organizations, but they quickly see how much they have in common – the value of engaging not only the community at large, but each other. After the session, many stick around to get to know each other better, and that makes me so very happy!

From there, we are off to Orange County for another full-day workshop for another group of leaders of regional Fire Safe Councils.

We go through the same exercises. And this group, like the one in San Diego, talks about the need to engage the community, the need to create a sense of shared responsibility.

It is another long day, and another evening of follow-up work from the workshop. Fortunately, we have found a fabulous Italian restaurant in Rancho Cucamonga – Antonino’s. (If you are ever in that part of the world, it is a GREAT place!)

The week has been exhausting. We have done 4 workshops in 6 days, unpacking and repacking the car 4 times in those 6 days. In our “off time,” we have transcribed the work of all those workshops, to provide back to the groups later on. I am more than ready to spend 2 whole days in a car thinking about absolutely nothing.

But that was all before. Then, overnight, everything changed.

The story continues in Part 3…

(Photo credit – U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Resources)

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