Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Kids and Kops Event Rescheduled

The times they are-a changing and “the best laid plans of men and mice” must change too, even if sometimes it is inconvenient (or so we think, at first, until we discover, as we are certain to do, how just right it all turns out in the end.)

So New Horizons is supporting the Frederick County’s Stop The Violence March this week, meaning ....

Our Kids and Kops In Conversation Event has been rescheduled for Saturday, June 20; details coming soon.

Join us this Saturday at Baker Park where the march will begin and end (when we would have been at Dublin Roasters).

Where: Baker Park, Frederick, Maryland (Look for our display table by the band shell.)

When: Saturday, May 16, 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.

What: Join the Stop The Violence March (Find us at the band shell for some informal conversation time.)

Also hear Anastasia And Jack Slattery on podcast, discussing –
on The Possible Society In Motion Radio Show.

And hear Anastasia and Jack on podcast
"The Times They Are Changing A-Changing, Or Are They?"

Saturday, May 2, 2015

An Invitation and A Request

Conversations In Kind Gifts Request -- And -- an invitation for hangin’ out and community building to our Frederick Coffee House Conversations On Race Relations Supporters/Participants.

Did you know you can contribute In Kind Gifts To Our Harpers Ferry Retreat Center Remodeling Project?

It’s a real win-win deal. (See the bottom of this page for what we need.)

Your In Kind Gifts are fully tax deductible!

And you can bring them with you to Dublin Roasters when you join us for our next event –

Kids and Kops In Conversation, May 16th

About Our Request

Here is the story

On this bright and beautiful day with the sun shining and the weather warmed up a good bit we, at New Horizons, are turning our thoughts to the coming months ahead. Springtime will do that for us out here in the mountains.  And, likely for you, too, wherever you are.

T0day the birds that visit the feeder outside my office window are not only hungry but cheerful, chirping happily away.  On occasion even their babies are now flying in. So it is that Sue deVeer, who is Chairperson of the remodeling project at our Harpers Ferry Retreat Center, and myself are busily preparing for our spring and summer projects. Winter, as usual was much too long so we are now trying to catch up on its limitations.

This year we hope to make enough progress to share the abundance we have out here. “God willing and the creek don’t rise,” by summertime we anticipate welcoming the many friends we have made recently through our Coffee House Conversations on Race Relations in Frederick for some informal, but grand times out here on sunshine filled days and clear summer evenings.

Campfire conversations and potluck dinners after a day of community connecting and shared work projects have always turned out to be among the best of times for us at our retreat center.  They bring us a sense of community that is hard to beat!

In the meantime, while we are getting back to our clean up,fix up, paint up chores on our mountainside property – and – doing our last two Coffee House Conversations on Race Relations (Saturday, May 16 and Saturday, June 20) in Frederick, we would very much like it if you would take time to consider supporting our work out here.

Our Harpers Ferry Retreat Center remodeling project would definitely appreciate your In Kind Gifts to help our remodeling efforts.  And, your time and talent to help us put things in motion.

To join in the progress, here is a partial list of what we need –

(Of course we always need more so if you have trash that might be our treasure, please talk to Sue about it. Her cell number is 240.367.4403.)

Volunteers – Do please make yourself a part of our community-building and remodeling projects.

Come share the richness of our land. Make yourself at home. You can talk and talk and talk almost as long as you like. And, hang out -- and do volunteer work with Anastasia who lives on our property. Many daytime opportunities can be arranged. All that is asked is that you bring your own lunch or dinner or food to share. Please call Anastasia at 240.409.5347.

Our Harpers Ferry Retreat Center was purchased by a group of investors on our behalf for the main purpose of being a training center as well as a place for community gatherings. We want to share it with you. So please consider it as a place to visit on a nice spring or summer day. Come and hang out for some wonderful informal conversing, always about building bridges of connection and aiming higher and higher for being our best and doing our best;

Sue comes out, generally, every other Tuesday to work on the property. So that is always an extra fun day to connect with both Sue and Anastasia. Work, play, eat (bring a bag lunch), talk, hang out, dream, enjoy summer in the mountains at New Horizons Harpers Ferry Retreat Center -- and -- grow community good will.

Do please join us for Summer In The Mountains, 2015!

In Kind Gift Donations that we need –
  • Leaf rakes;
  • Chain saw;
  • Gas powered lawn mower;
  • Lilies for planting;
  • Bark mulch;
  • Axe;
  • Maul;
  • Weed whackers;
  • White outdoor furniture;
  • Lounge chairs;
  • Extra large ceramic planters;
  • Heavy duty, come along cable puller/winch;
  • Black wall installed microwave;
  • Vacuum sweeper.
Don’t hesitate to offer us your trash to become our treasure.

We need your support to help make our exceptional community network vision happen!

Contact Sue at 240.367.4403 for inquiries on this.

Sue will also sell your treasures on ebay to: 1. Give the entire return to New Horizons or; 2. Return a percentage back to you and give the remainder to New Horizons.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

“Kids And Kops:” Coffee House Conversation IV On Race Relations

We’ve not yet even digested and assimilated last weekend’s two, not one but two, Coffee House Conversations and we are all excited to tell you about the next one.

Here it is…..

Our Topic: Kids and Kops

Coalition Building Event IV

Frederick County, Maryland

Saturday, May 16

Dublin Roasters Coffee
1780 N. Market Street

3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

A small “zone of peace can be anywhere!

Why not begin building yours in your own backyard?

       New Horizons is here to help you develop the                                          “know how. 

Stories and details on the way!

Reservations and information,

Contact: Blair Thomas

Cell: 717.451.0669
Email: HarpersFerryNH@aol.com

Friday, April 17, 2015

“Trash Talk” Expert Honors Coffee House Conversations On Race Relations With A Beautiful Testimonial

I have been wanting to share the following letter that was sent to Sue deVeer, my Small “Zones of Peace” Project collaborator, and myself since we received it, right after our last Coffee House Conversation On Race Relations event, March 21.
Kathryn Ruud,

The missive that follows was written by Kathryn Ruud, a woman both Sue and I hold in the highest esteem. Kathryn is a noted scholar of linguistics,the study of language, and a peace and social justice activist of great repute. Her passion is exposing the damage to our society and politics of what she calls “Trash Talk.”
You can hear Kathryn’s very powerful message, Stop Polarizing Talk, on the subject on YouTube at this link.
Sue and I are very proud to have been honored with Kathryn’s participation as a member of our first panel for the Coffee House Conversations On Race Relations project. And, at our last event – as an ordinary, willing and touchingly vulnerable participant, especially in our small group conversations.
Kathryn’s letter to us is as follows, dated March 22, 2015.
We hope it will inspire you to want to know more about the power of what we are creating – and – possibly to even join our endeavors.
A letter from Kathryn Ruud
Hi Anastasia & Sue -

I was really impressed with the event yesterday, and I could tell how much work and thought had gone into the planning behind it. One thing I get over & over again in my talks on polarization is the sense people are looking for a way out of it. I am so encouraged by the DEPTH of understanding and practice you both are bringing to this effort. And I wanted to share this cut & paste of a Facebook post I made this a.m. (in which I including a link to your New Horizons web page, Anastasia):
"On one local conservative talk radio program last week, there was mention of organized community efforts to be pro-active in addressing racism in our community. Both the host and callers (likely all white) trashed these efforts, saying "if there is no problem, what is there to talk about?"

Quote from a local (Frederick News-Post) article on these efforts:

"It can be very uncomfortable," Capt. Jason Keckler, deputy chief of the Frederick Police Department, said of the conversations undertaken Saturday. But that doesn't mean they shouldn't be had, he said. "We've made a lot of strides over the last several years, but we have a way to go. Things like this are a good part of that."

I was glad to see Capt. Keckler again yesterday, at the 2nd session of this ongoing conversation.

About 10% of the population of our main town in our community, located in Central Maryland, is African American. We also have a growing Hispanic population and a small Muslim population. Increasingly, locals hear Spanish (and other languages other than English) spoken. Needless to say, given that this area has been mostly homogeneous (white) since the founding of the country, this new blend of faces, languages and faiths is a challenge to traditional ideals of "community".

Yesterday I participated, again, in one of these local community efforts to bridge divides and to open conversations on differences. At least 3 uniformed officers (including one officer who was African American) and one former police official participated, and of the additional 25 or so persons there, perhaps a third considered themselves to be a part of a minority community of some sort.

We spent four hours together, first listening to a few speakers, then breaking up into small groups, where we were encouraged to tell our own stories: about our early experiences, whether ~ as children ~ we had encountered or understood the existence of racism, why we enjoyed living in this particular part of Maryland, and also our experiences in our town with differences across race, religion, etc.

So to the question, "What is there to talk about?," I'd say: plenty. And storytelling (about our own lives, our own experiences) does break down assumptions and stereotypes. The face-to-face aspect of these conversations is vitally important, as you are not just reading that story, but hearing it first-hand, and taking in the full experience of that person's expression of it: his/her gestures, facial expressions, tone of voice, etc.

As the organizer of the event said, "An enemy is someone whose story you have not heard." 

With polarization in our society encouraged, inflamed and sold as part of a particular talk radio business model (and that includes programs broadcast by the station I mention above), it was refreshing to see people simply being together, enjoying each other's company, chatting across the divides. 

At the end of these smaller group sessions, I observed how people seemed reluctant to leave those groups, and to go back into an assembled audience. We had just made new and interesting connections with others. This program left me hopeful that at least some are tiring of the promotion of polarization, are hoping for a different way of communicating, and are actively committed to getting back to what is best about living in a democracy: being together and enjoying at atmosphere of mutual respect.

It is no accident to me that the organizer of these events, Anastasia Rosen-Jones, has training in therapy for addictive personalities. I personally see political, racial, religious polarization as a kind of addiction that needs some kind of intervention to be interrupted and diminished.

There have been several stories written in local papers about this community effort by Anastasia and her New Horizons Project. There is a bit about Anastasia's background here, as well as links to her radio program, should you be interested in learning more about this project."

I was thrilled, Anastasia, to hear you say you are committed to this effort for the long run.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Coffee House Conversation III On Race Relations

Our topic: "Making Violence Obsolete: The Action Pathway"

Coalition Building Event III

Frederick County, Maryland

Saturday, April 18

Dublin Roasters Coffee
1780 N. Market Street

3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

A small “zone of peace can be anywhere!

Why not begin building yours in your own backyard?

New Horizons is here to help you develop the “know how.

Conversation is our style.

That’s the New Horizons Small “Zones of Peace” way.

Conflict and diversity tensions need not be a way of life!

Friday, April 10, 2015

FYI: Just Wanted You To Know

This event, at which I (Anastasia) am the obvious key note speaker is not open to the public but we are so thrilled with both the back stories in motion and the pending program why would we keep it to ourselves when the world around us is in such turmoil?

This event, on the other hand, promises to be a small oasis in the storms that surround us.