Wednesday, April 1, 2020
We hope that this email finds you and your family healthy and well. We write to you today to share details about how we see proceeding with the FIRE Fellowship in this time of global pandemic. Attached you will find an overview of the updated emerging curriculum, including a new calendar. (Note the website has not yet been updated; we will send a link once that is done.)
We want to thank all that were on the call last week for offering their suggestions, questions, and ideas. We trust you’ll see them woven into the current updated curriculum. We hope you’ll appreciate the balance of forward movement and limiting screen time in these next weeks/month(s) until we are able to gather in person.
We also want to say thank you, and we see you, to those who shared responses to the survey. Your responses were very meaningful, and have also informed the curriculum. We are musing about an online resource sharing/community building platform and will say more about this and what we heard in the survey soon. (If you haven’t yet taken 5-10 minutes to do the survey, here is the link.)
Please note that our next meeting is Wednesday, April 8, from 4-6pm, by Zoom. This will be a time to continue to introduce ourselves, to answer any questions regarding the emergent form for FIRE, to share mutual aid resources for urgent needs and to prepare for the weeks ahead, including the ceremonial opening on Saturday, April 11th, to be done by each fellow in your location.
Zoom login info to follow in a separate email. Please be there if possible; we will share the recording for those unable to make it live.
Also, please know that we, like all in the cohort, are committed to gathering in person as soon as it is safe to do so. See more on this and the emerging curriculum in the attached.
With deep respect and gratitude,
Brendan Clarke, Darcy Ottey, Kruti Parekh & Sharon Shay Sloan
The FIRE Fellowship Team
PO Box 999 Ojai, CA 93024 | (805) 646-8343
March 11, 2020
Welcome to The FIRE Fellowship.
We are thrilled to be able to welcome such a talented and dedicated cohort of emerging leaders, working at the intersections of social justice, ecological stewardship, food sovereignty, spirituality, leadership, and more. As we do so, we also wish to thank and recognize those many layers of support (organizations, community, family, etc.) who make it possible for each of us to participate.
In support of our time together, we have put together this Welcome Packet. This document contains essential information regarding logistics and preparations. It also contains a few required forms to complete and a few pre-work requests from members of the cohort.
We have done our best to keep it to essentials-only, and, as such, please take the time to read this thoroughly.
Once again, welcome to the FIRE Fellowship, and we look forward to seeing you soon.
Brendan Clarke, Darcy Ottey, Kruti Parekh & Sharon Shay Sloan
The FIRE Fellowship Team
PO Box 999 Ojai, CA 93024 | (805) 646-8343
Information & Paperwork Checklist:
This checklist is provided to help you keep track of where you are in the process of filling out the registration packet.
Please read the following documents and let us know if you have any questions:
- Important Dates, Times, & Locations
- Co-Creating Community
- Transportation & Logistics
- What to Bring
- An Emerging Curriculum FINAL
Please fill out the following by March 23:
- Registration Form
- Medical History Form
- NOTE: Because Session 2 includes a nature-based solo, this form is thorough.
- Assumption of Risk Agreement
- Photographic Release
- Financial Acknowledgement & Other Considerations
Important Dates, Times & Locations
The FIRE Fellowship consists of five in-person sessions, several all-cohort Zoom calls, and individual mentoring calls. This section lists the arrival and departure times for each in-person session as well as the schedule for Zoom calls. Individual mentoring call times will be scheduled with each fellow individually.
Where possible, we encourage you to plan for a buffer of time before and after sessions to maximize the benefits of the fellowship.
For most in-person sessions, fellows are welcome to arrive the day before the session begins. Please get in touch to confirm your place if you would like to arrive early.
Finally, please note that session two is in a different location. Please plan travel accordingly.
Revised FIRE Fellowship Calendar
Friday, April 10: ALL Paperwork Due
Session 1: Foundations
April 8, 4:00 – 6:00 pm: Cohort Zoom 1
April 11: Opening Ceremony (in our own places)
April 15, 4:00 – 6:00 pm: Cohort Zoom 2
April 22, 4:00 – 6:00 pm: Cohort Zoom 3
Session 2: Turning Within
May 6, 4:00 – 6:00 pm: Enduring Wisdom Zoom Session 1
May 20, 4:00 – 6:00 pm: Enduring Wisdom Zoom Session 2
May 23-29: In-Person Session (Pending ability to gather in Person)
June 10, 4:00 – 6:00 pm: Enduring Wisdom Zoom Session 3
Session 3: Turning Toward Service
June 24, 4:00 – 6:00 pm: Enduring Wisdom Zoom Session 4
July 2-5: In-Person Session (Pending ability to gather in Person)
July 22, 4:00 – 6:00 pm: Enduring Wisdom Zoom Session 5
August 5, 4:00 – 6:00 pm: Enduring Wisdom Zoom Session 6
Session 4: Sharing the Story
September 4-8: In-Person Session (Pending ability to gather in Person)
November 11, 4:00 – 6:00 pm: Cohort Zoom 4
January 13, 2021, 4:00 – 6:00 pm: Cohort Zoom 5
Session 5: The Return
2021 dates, including possible additional sessions and Session 5 Reunion TBD
In participating in the fellowship, fellows are entering a diverse, multicultural cohort that brings people together across differences in race, gender, class, ability, background, religion, experience, age, and more. We invite fellows to participate in co-creating our community in ways that are nurturing and supportive. This involves an emphasis on collaboration, self and community-care, and healing.
You and the other fellows were chosen, in part, because you demonstrate both experience and commitment to this aspect of the work, including doing the inner work to co-create a multicultural space for resilience. As part of your preparation, we request that you engage in some pre-work.
These carefully-chosen requests are made with the following goals in mind:
- Recognizing the many responsibilities in your lives currently, and minimizing what we ask of you in advance;
- Prioritizing the safety and well-being of those in our circle carrying identities most impacted by systemic oppression, and responding to direct requests from fellows;
- Creating opportunities to connect your work and communities with The FIRE Fellowship, from the start.
As you review what is here, please reach out if you have any questions, and/or additional resources you would like to share.
Please take a look at these resources which offer some educational information that can help us create an inclusive, equitable space for trans/nonbinary fellows: Rhys & Zackary’s Fabulous Trans Primer and the Infographics page on the Trans Students Educational Resources websites.
Please also review Think Again Training’s description of How to be Fragrance Free & Why We Request Fragrance Free.
If there are other tools, resources, or topic areas that you would like to share with the cohort, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
WITNESSING & COMMUNITY SUPPORT
An important aspect of resilience is a strong community container for change and transformation. To this end, we wish to create pathways for community participation from the very beginning. A simple way to begin this process is to ask at least one person to serve as witness to your journey as a FIRE fellow. This includes asking your witness/support person to speak with you before the fellowship, and hear your hopes, wishes, and/or intentions for the time, and send you off in some way (or perhaps even drop you off on the first day!). Ideally, you will share with them before and after each session, so they can have a sense of what is unfolding for you, and help you to explore how to bring forth your experiences into your day-to-day life in your community. We will discuss more during session one what the sharing back might look like.
Please note, this document refers to “preferred” pronouns – many feel it is best to talk about pronouns not as what folks prefer but as what they use, as preference indicates a choice versus simply an aspect of one’s true identity.
Transportation & Logistics
We are delighted to welcome you to The Ojai Foundation Land Sanctuary, a 36-acre campus in the Upper Ojai Valley. This information is provided so that your stay with us can be as enjoyable as possible. If this is your first visit to The Ojai Foundation, we hope you will be pleased by the rustic, simple beauty and diversity of the land.
The Ojai Foundation does not serve food commercially. The group will be responsible for its own meal preparation. We offer a basic outdoor camp kitchen set up, consisting of sinks, propane burners, a wood-burning oven, and solar ovens. We see one element of resilience as the ability to nourish a group without fancy equipment and kitchens. Please plan to be part of a cook team and to also help clean up dishes.
Bulk food is included as part of The FIRE Fellowship. It will be vegetarian cuisine. Imagine oatmeal, eggs, fruit and granola for breakfast, salad, soup, and/or sandwiches for lunch, and a hearty dinner. We will do our best to provide local, organic food. If you need something additional, you will be responsible for bringing it and storing it in a sealed plastic bin. (Small, hungry critters are persistent here.) Please plan to bring your own (recognizable) mess kit with plate, bowl, utensils, and a mug or thermos. Other kitchen guidelines will be supplied for you and your group as appropriate.
If you have allergies or dietary restrictions, please let us know well in advance so we can plan and shop accordingly. We will do our best to accommodate these needs, and may not be able to fully meet all of them, and will let you know in advance if we are unable. There is space on the registration form to note dietary information.
There are designated campsites located throughout the property, and fellows will choose their site and set up their own tent and sleeping quarters. Toilets and hot showers are located in central areas. We ask that you provide your own sleeping set up (tent, ground tarp, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, etc.). If you need assistance with any of these items, please let us know in advance of the fellowship.
Be prepared for variable weather. It can be very mild, as well as hot during the day, and cold in the evening. We suggest you bring a sweater, jacket or small blanket for the evening. The trails are mulched with wood chips, but can get slick with rain, so appropriate footwear is important. As a campus emphasizing connection with place, we work with the weather, and welcome it as part of the curriculum during our time.
Fellows are responsible for arranging their own transportation to and from The FIRE Fellowship. Please plan your trips with ample time to arrive, settle in, pack up, and depart. We strongly discourage scheduling additional events right before or after the sessions when possible. This will support incorporation and smooth transitions. Below you will find info about ride-share, travel stipends, and directions.
NOTE: For Session 2, we will be traveling to a different location at a private retreat in the Eastern Sierra, near Big Pine, CA. Directions will be forthcoming.
The FIRE Fellowship is a response to the crises of our times, including the climate crisis. We are committed to doing what we can to build community and mitigate negative impacts on the environment and our collective communities. As part of this, we strongly encourage folks to connect with one another and share transportation to and from the sessions. The link above includes a list of all confirmed fellows, their contact information, and their place of residence. Please reach out to one another to arrange ride-shares, etc.
We have worked to make FIRE as accessible as possible. This includes removing financial barriers. The travel stipend is a needs-based financial aid to help with getting to and from the sessions. It is an offer of up to $250 in reimbursements over the course of the fellowship for gas money, flights, or mileage for those who need it. If you are not in need, we ask that you not request the reimbursement, as the money will be reallocated to support others who might have greater need or extenuating circumstances.
If, for instance, you are carpooling with three other people (highly encouraged), the driver/owner of the vehicle could be the only one to apply for the stipend. If they were to go over the $250 limit, we would aim to reallocate the ridesharer’s stipends to cover the costs for the driver.
Address: 9739 Ojai-Santa Paula Road, Ojai, CA 93023
NOTE: GPS, GOOGLE MAPS, AND OTHER MAPPING WEBSITES DO NOT ALWAYS WORK ACCURATELY FOR GETTING YOU TO THE OJAI FOUNDATION. PLEASE ONLY USE THEM IN CONJUNCTION WITH THESE DIRECTIONS.
The Ojai Foundation is located approximately 6 miles east of the town of Ojai, between the towns of Santa Paula and Ojai. You can reach us from either the west side on Highway 101, coming through Ojai, or the east side via Interstate 5 and Route 126, through Santa Paula.
When you arrive, you will drive through a white metal gate. Please leave the gate as you found it (e.g. open…leave it open, latched shut, please close it behind you after you drive in).
Via Highway 101
Driving directions from the North or South:
From Highway 101, take Highway 33 inland. Highway 33 merges with Route 150. Continue on Route 150 through downtown Ojai to the Upper Ojai Valley. The Foundation is about 6 miles from the center of Ojai, over the Dennison grade, a long, winding road, uphill. Make the first left after Besant Hill School by the three tall palm trees and The Ojai Foundation sign. At the stop sign, make a left turn and an immediate right turn at the white metal gate. There will be a sign for The Ojai Foundation. Drive all the way up the hill to the guest parking area.
Via Interstate 5
From Los Angeles, take Interstate 5 north to Route 126. Take Route 126 West to Santa Paula (approximately 30 miles). Take Route 150 towards Ojai. The Foundation is 11 miles from Santa Paula. Look for a sign on the RIGHT (opposite a white picket fence). There are three tall palm trees on the right side of the road at our turn-off. There will be a brown sign for The Ojai Foundation as well. Turn right before the palm trees. At the stop sign, make a left turn and an immediate right turn at the white metal gate. There will be a sign for The Ojai Foundation. Drive all the way up the hill to the guest parking area.
What to Bring
- Sleeping bag and or sheets/blankets
- Sleeping pad
- Pillow (optional)
- Tent or rain tarp, plus rope to set it up
- Ground cloth/tarp
- Toiletries and toiletry bag (toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, etc.)
- Headlamp or flashlight
- We have solar power, and lighting is limited after dark, helping preserve the night sky experience. Do not bring candles or lanterns for fire safety.
- Extra batteries
- Empty notebook with pens, pencils, etc.
- Backpack or day bag
- Any items needed for personal talents/skill shares (optional)
- We will look for moments to incorporate them throughout the fellowship as is possible.
- An “item of meaning” (optional)
- There will be times when we gather in a circle and invite a common center. Fellows will be invited to add contributions to the center and re-collect them after. (e.g. photo, poem, necklace, stone, etc.)
- Unscented, non-toxic insect repellent (optional)
- Unscented sunscreen (optional)
FOOD & WATER
- Refillable water bottle (1 liter or more…it can get hot here)
- Note: There is filtered, potable water onsite.
- Recognizable mess kit (bowl, plate, mug, hot water container/thermos, utensils)
- Cloth napkin (optional)
- Specialty personal food items
- Bathing suit (There is not a place to swim on-site, but we may take outings locally.)
- Rain jacket or poncho
- Sweater, warm layer, or small outdoor blanket (for nights)
- Clothes for 10 days (shirts, pants, socks, etc.)
- Note: There is no laundry facility on site at The Ojai Foundation. There are laundromats in town, but there is unlikely to be time during the sessions to leave to do laundry. Bring extra clothes.
- 1-2 sets of work clothes (that can be worn for work on the land and get dirty)
- Boots, shoes, etc.
- Sunhat & sun shirt
- There is cell phone service and wi-fi at The Ojai Foundation. That being said, we invite folks to leave behind electronics if at all possible. If they are needed for work outside of curricular time, we trust each person to make their own choices, and ask that electronics be kept to a minimum, and only for essential tasks. Cell phone calls and computer work are restricted to the gateway building. Most of our electricity is via solar power, and outlets for charging electronics are limited.
WHAT NOT TO BRING
As part of our commitment to creating a common space, we are asking for your support to create a fragrance-free learning space. This is essential for the participation of some of the fellows, and we need your help to ensure that all are able to participate. Fragrance free includes not using cologne, perfume, essential oils, etc. as well as not using scented deodorants or hair products. We ask that, if at all possible, fellows wash the clothes they will be bringing with fragrance-free laundry detergents, and refrain from using dryer sheets. There is more information on fragrance-free living at the end of this packet. (Thanks to the fellows who helped bring this together.)
PLEASE NOTE: There is an additional packing list for Session 2 that will be forthcoming.
IN CASE OF A MEDICAL EMERGENCY WHILE YOU ARE AT TOF, PLEASE CALL 911.
For urgent TOF-related matters, please call the TOF Emergency Line: (805) 669-6395
Please do not hesitate to call if you have further questions!