"Whether we know it or not, like it or not, honor it or not, we are embedded in community. Whether we think of ourselves as biological creatures or spiritual beings or both, the truth remains: we were created in and for a complex ecology of relatedness, and without it we wither and die."
-Parker Palmer, Thirteen Ways of Looking at Community
What does it mean to be "in community", especially in a place as diverse as Oregon? Sometimes it seems as if rural and urban Oregonians live completely different lives, lives largely unknown to one another. In too many cases, all we know about the other is based on what is portrayed in movies, on Facebook, or filtered through the lens of our own self-selected media silos. 
Why does this matter? Because democracy depends on the collective judgment and consent of "The People." If "We The People" don't know who "We" are, then the practice and promise of democracy is diminished. Now more than ever, it is the essential work of citizens to reweave the fabric of community on which a healthy democracy depends, and learn to communicate across differences with courage, a little humility, and a lot more mutual respect.

To provide a place for citizens to engage in this work, Healthy Democracy is pleased to announce the return of our  Community Oregon  program, starting with the Community Oregon Camp from April 25 to April 28 to take place at   Lake Creek Lodge  in Camp Sherman, Oregon. This 3-day retreat is the first phase of the  3-phase program that is open to all Oregonians, with half of the group of 20 coming from rural communities and the other half coming from urban areas. 
The program is free and anyone can apply who has a genuine interest in, and perhaps even a deep frustration with, people from "the other side". It starts with a camp-like experience where participants will get to know their fellow Oregonians, and participate in fun and challenging activities led by facilitators from both urban and rural communities. 

Applications  are now being accepted and must be completed by Monday, March 11 (though early applications are very encouraged and will receive additional consideration). Participants will be informed of their selection on Friday, March 15. 

Not from Oregon? Contact us if you are interested in bringing a Community [your state name here] to your region. Every state could use a little more community to help strengthen our democracy . We'd love to help you start something!

For more information, contact Healthy Democracy by email at info@healthydemocracy.org  or by phone at (503) 841-6865.