Saturday Workshop Tracks

RootSkills offers a choice between 4 daylong workshop tracks. We work with highly skilled workshop facilitators who understand the specific challenges of volunteer community groups and tailor their content to the grassroots. Each workshop track is designed to be very interactive and allows for a lot of peer-to-peer sharing among participants.  The goal with each of these workshop tracks is for participants to come away with practical tools and ideas that are easy to adopt and use in our work right away.

We ask that participants stick with their track as information and exercises build on each other throughout the day. We encourage multiple people from one group to attend RootSkills so that each can attend a different track. You can indicate your first and second choice track during registration and we do our best to match your preference, though each track is limited to a maximum number of participants as there is a lot of interactivity.

​Workshop Track 1: Participatory Leadership - Working Together for Community Solutions

Workshop facilitator: Beth Tener, principal of New Directions Collaborative, works with leaders in local energy, local food, education, & community development to build skills in working collaboratively to catalyze change. 

"How can we harness the best collective thinking of our community to respond to changing opportunities and challenges?"
"How can we empower people to contribute and participate in working for positive change over the long haul?"

Successfully creating community-based change relies on engaging citizens, neighbors, and policy makers to create and champion innovative local solutions. Enough of boring ineffective meetings, learn techniques for hosting gatherings that engage and inspire people, generate innovate ideas, and strengthen the fabric of community as you go. In this interactive workshop, join peers working in local energy, food, and other community-based initiatives to learn practical powerful techniques to: 

  • Gain strategic clarity and agreement – design energizing meetings that help you get clear on key issues, identify a shared vision, and prioritize actions
  • Engage the community – gather the ideas and collective wisdom of diverse people, while also enabling them to connect, share knowledge, and build trust
  • Empower people working for change – explore what it takes to motivate and sustain commitment of your team, volunteers, and collaborative partners  
  • Learn together and adapt – think creatively about how to build on the gifts and assets of the community, overcome barriers, and respond strategically as things change

Workshop Track 2: Group Governance, Structure & Fundraising - Key Building Blocks for Long-term Work

Workshop facilitator: Lizann Peyton is a governance and organization capacity-building consultant with 20 years of experience helping groups along the spectrum from start-ups, founder transitions, growth, and maturity. 

"Should we incorporate, go for 501(c)(3) status or stay ad hoc?"  
"How do I make sure regular Board (or core group of volunteers) meetings add value?"
"Fundraising - whose role is it, why is it uncomfortable, and what can we do to bring revenue in?"  

Any community effort requires organizing to get the work done, and some groups evolve as far as incorporating into a nonprofit structure.  But is it the right path for your cause, or the right time?  What other structures work, and under what circumstances?  How do we evaluate multiple options and foresee the implications, both helpful and troublesome?  Whether an independent nonprofit or not, our efforts also require governance and leadership – some formal, some loosely structured.  How do we make sure our governance practices add value, not burdens?  And… there’s that pesky question of fundraising – exciting to some, terrifying to others. 
The root skills of building strong teamwork underlie all of these questions, as does having a “toolbox” of strategies to pull out at the right time.  Participants will come away with:

  • Practical take-home tools for navigating organizational life cycles,
  • Structural options to governance approaches,
  • Team-building,
  • Mission-driven fundraising practices that appeal to a broad range of personal styles.

Workshop Track 3: Building a Stronger Cross-class, Multiracial Grassroots Movement

Workshop facilitators: Shane Lloyd and Liz Padget through Class Action. Class Action provides a dynamic framework and analysis, as well as a safe space, for people of all backgrounds to identify and address issues of class, classism and race/class intersections through powerful interactive trainings, workshops, presentations, organizational consulting, and public education.

"Why have we seen so few cross-class, multiracial movements in the US?"
"Does your group struggle with recruiting and retaining members from different race and class backgrounds?"

Building on insights from the groundbreaking new book "Missing Class: Strengthening Social Movement Groups by Seeing Class Cultures," this highly participatory workshops, created by activists for activists, enables participants to look through a class lens at their own social justice work, and offers tools to build  alliances for social change across race and class. 

Through this process, activists and community organizers can learn how to address class barriers that hamper their effectiveness and come together to win more gains. Participants will leave knowing how to:

  • Identify activist class culture differences;

  • Gain cultural competence to draw from the strengths of all class cultures;

  • Create an organizational culture that is fully welcoming and respectful of all race and class backgrounds;

  • Amplify the voices of people of color, working-class and poor activists to build stronger a stronger movement.

Workshop Track 4: Personal Leadership - Working for Change from the Inside Out

Workshop facilitator: Amanda Silver, Principal of Amanda Silver Consulting, works with social change leaders and organizations to create thriving work environments that support high performance, creativity, and impact.

"How might I develop my leadership so that I model the change I seek in the world?"
"How does purpose connect to my leadership?"
"What are some communication, self-care and time management skills I need to be an effective, sustainable, and powerful change agent for my group and community?"

This session is for group leaders who want to (re-)connect to their priorities, (re-)energize around their leadership, and (re-)learn strategies to prevent burn-out, both personal and for their team. Outcomes from this workshop track will include:

  • Exploring the practice of purpose in our work. 
  • Developing our skill in having difficult conversations that strengthen our ability to lead, manage conflict, and develop empathy.
  • Identifying time-management and other strategies to promote sustainable leadership for the long-term.

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