Event Details

  • Date:
  • Categories:

Council builds positive relationships between participants by fostering attentive listening and authentic expression. It supports a deep sense of community and fosters recognition of a shared humanity and interconnectedness. It enables individuals to give voice to their stories, develop a mutual respect and cultivate a compassionate response to anger and defensiveness, as well as strengthen emotional health and resilience.

Council Training 1: Introduction to Council


Council Training 1: Introduction to Council, is a powerful and inspiring introduction to the practice of Council and provides a wonderful opportunity to explore the roots of the practice. The fundamentals and nuances of the forms and modalities in Council are explored in some depth and a good deal of background is offered on the intentions and languaging used in the practice. In addition to a grounding in the basic forms and tools of Council, the broader applications to a variety of personal and professional settings are explored. It is a rich and dynamic opportunity to immerse oneself in and explore the foundational practice of Council and its application to the participants’ lives and work.

Price: $400.00** Early Bird (until 10/25)

$450.00 Regular Price after 10/25





Saturday, November 12, 9am-5pm.

Sunday, November 13, 9am-5pm.

Please plan to arrive 30 minutes prior to the start time to allow for a prompt beginning.


Participants may camp for up to two evenings (Friday and Saturday) on the land. Participants must provide all their own gear. TOF | Topa Institute has drinking water, flush toilets, hot showers, and level campsites available. For those wishing to camp on the evening of Friday November 11, please plan to arrive between 3-8 pm.

For those who wish to make other arrangements, there are numerous hotels in Ojai that are within 10-15 minutes from TOF | Topa Institute by car.


There will be light refreshments and snacks with the course (tea, simple snacks, etc.). Participants are expected to bring a bag lunch for Saturday and Sunday, and provide their own food for all other meals. Note: There is no kitchen available for use and personal camp stoves are prohibited.


The Ojai Foundation is committed to making the work accessible, particularly for those who have traditionally faced barriers in accessing such courses. As one part of this, we have a limited amount of needs-based financial aid available for people who identify as black, indigenous, latinx, asian, or other historically marginalized and/or racialized identities. If you wish to apply for scholarship, please complete this form.


Participants are responsible for getting to and from the course. You can find driving directions using this Google Maps link. Parking is available onsite.

Fragrance-Free event

Please refrain from using any products containing artificial fragrances (perfume, cologne, hair products, deodorant, etc.). This allows people with chemical sensitivities to have equitable access to the event. If you have questions or need support, please write to contact@ojaifoundation.org





Anita (Ani) Samaha

Anita (Ani) Samaha (she/her) is a facilitator for individual and group development and growth, a council educator and a nature enthusiast. She believes that, through joy, play and listening deeply, we create places of connection that transform each one of us and ripple out, bringing cultural change.

Ani attended Fort Lewis College in Durango, CO, where she majored in premed, leading her to receive a master’s in Traditional Chinese Medicine. In 2003, she had the opportunity to create a semester abroad program for 16- to 19-year-olds in New Zealand. For several years, in addition to administrative and admissions work, she ran the outdoor expeditions program and taught Chinese nutrition, knitting and juggling classes. Her interest in healing and connection to our bodies through holistic medicine blossomed into a love for Council—connecting through our stories to one another and ourselves.

She has an extensive background in Council, Rites of Passage, team-building ropes course and nature-based programs. She’s worked with junior high/high school, college and graduate students. Additionally she’s had the privilege to council train teachers and incarcerated people. Over the last 20 years, she’s worked with various organizations helping to facilitate growth and learning, including Snapchat, Joyful Heart, SB Cottage Hospital, Deckers, Tom’s Shoes, and social justice organizations like the Brotherhood Crusade.




Irasha Talifero

Irasha Talifero has been connected to The Ojai Foundation since its earliest years. She has made her home in Ojai since 1975 and has been a naturalist ever since. She has worked as a substitute teacher for the Oak Grove School since the early 80s.

Through her work as an educator, she has designed many programs over the years, all starting and ending with Council. Her most powerful experiences are with “at risk youth” and recently incarcerated populations. She currently works with the Center for Council, offering council primarily inside prisons.

She is also in the Trainers Mentoring Circle and is devoted to working for social justice. She looks forward to deepening her practice with others already on this path.



*COVID-19 Protocol & Safety Plan

Cancellations due to COVID-19

We recognize that planning is difficult for many during a pandemic. We ask that all participants read and sign the TOF COVID-19 policy. If anyone tests positive for, exhibits any of the signs and symptoms of, or has had significant exposure to COVID-19 within 14 days of the course, you will be asked to NOT attend the course, and will be given a full refund of your money. If there are other comparable circumstances where a refund is needed, please reach out, and we will work to accommodate the need as best we can. The practices for safety continue to change, and we will adjust accordingly, but below are some of our standard practices at this time.

Common Signs and Symptoms of COVID-19

Please be sure to familiarize yourself with the following common signs and symptoms of COVID-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Look for emergency warning signs for COVID-19. If someone is showing any of these signs, seek emergency medical care immediately:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Bluish lips or face

If you are experiencing any of the above signs and symptoms within 14 days of the course, please reach out to contact@ojaifoundation.org immediately.

COVID-19 Safety Plan

  • The course will take place entirely outside, with the exception of individual use of the bathrooms. Outdoor seating will be provided.
  • Face coverings are required for the duration of the course, especially during group time.
  • Social distance practices, will be in effect, including in council circles.
  • All camping arrangements are limited to individuals or individual households.
  • Individual water bottles are required, and there are spigots with filtered water for refills.
  • Frequent hand washing and hand-sanitizing are encouraged, and soap and hand sanitizer will be provided. Individuals are encouraged to bring a personal hand sanitizer dispenser if desired.
  • The total course capacity has been reduced to support social distancing.
  • The Ojai Foundation reserves the right to enforce the COVID Safety Plan with registered participants onsite, or refuse the right to participation for anyone unwilling to comply with the measures deemed necessary by The Ojai Foundation, in accordance with CDC guidelines and Ventura County protocol and approved worksite plan.