By Julie Bermant
On September 24, 2015 the first meeting of Guiding Star Grange (GSG) dance organizers met with the Friends of Greenfield Dance (FGD). The goal of the meeting was to enhance collaboration between the various groups who organize dances throughout the month at the Grange. Organizers from four dances were represented at the meeting, with the other four organizers interested but unable to attend.
To provide some historical perspective, the predecessor of FGD, Friends of the Guiding Star Grange, had focused on fundraising for the renovation of the Grange building. With the transition to the new organization, Friends of Greenfield Dance, the focus widened to include ways to support traditional music and dance in the Greenfield area.Last March, two of the board members and two of the Greenfield dance organizers travelled to Ottawa to attend Puttin’ On the Dance 2, a meeting sponsored by CDSS to promote cooperation and communication among dance organizers on the east coast. That experience inspired this meeting to promote connection between the rich resources present at the Grange.
At the meeting, after a delicious potluck dinner provided by the Friends, the group used a process called the Four Hats to determine a topic on which to focus, and then used that process to aid discussion. The topic chosen was how to make the community more welcoming, and a lively and engaged discourse resulted. Minutes from that meeting are available. The group looked at ways to make newcomers feel more welcome, and ways to encourage positive communication between dance organizers and among dancers.
Those in attendance felt the meeting was a success. The suggestions raised will be followed up by the FGD, and a plan implemented to address some of the issues discussed. The organizers and the FGD made a commitment to meet on a regular basis, about every six months. Hopefully, the other organizers will be able to attend.