From 12 – 17 May representatives from holistic centers in Canada, the US, UK, Italy, Iceland, Sri Lanka, China and Australia will be together for the annual Holistic Centers Gathering. This has taken place for over 35 years at different locations and in 2019 is being hosted by Hollyhock on the beautiful island of Cortes in British Colombia. Hollyhock exists to inspire, nourish and support people who are making the world better. It’s the ideal environment for our peer to peer learning community.
In 2018 Omega in upstate New York were the hosts and their digital team captured the spirit of the gathering in this 4 minute video. We welcome you on the journey with us as we prepare to gather once again. This year friends and colleagues from nearly 40 centers are meeting, with some folk joining for the first time as the Gathering continues to magnetise centers.
On Sunday evening the Gathering will begin with the Klahoose elders offering the Indigenous Welcome, followed by a deep dive into our theme this year – the intergenerational transfer of leadership.
Charlene Ho, Hollyhock Program Director, will be facilitating a conversation between Rex Weyler and Siobhan Robinsong, two of Hollyhock’s original founders, Joel Solomon (board chair for 25 years) and Dana Solomon (the previous CEO for 18 years), and the current CEO Peter Wrinch. Hollyhock staff are also welcome to join the Gathering participants. As there is keen interest from both board and staff and not everyone will be present on Cortes Island the evening will be recorded for the Hollyhock Archives.
The conversation will be around this central question; To steward and love an organization for many years, and then to pass it on – how has that journey been for you? It promises to be an evening of great depth between this group of people who have been caring for Hollyhock for close to 40 years and one of great relevance for so many centers present as they too navigate a transition.
Hollyhock holds a special place in the 35 year history of the Centers Gathering. They hosted for the first time in 1993, again in 2002 and 03, and now sixteen years later. The only center so far to host the Gathering on four occasions!
Ralph White, one of the founding members of the Gathering, has attended them faithfully throughout the years. In recent conversation with Philip Wood, Program Director of Hollyhock in the early years, they shared a few memories.
A few decades ago Stephan Rechtschaffen, one of the co-founders of Omega, had been keen to expand the gathering beyond centers in the US and extended an invitation to Hollyhock. “I thought this is great,” Philip recalled. “This is exactly what I want – for Hollyhock to be connected with other centers in North America. We can learn so much from each other.”
The event was then cancelled as the original group felt they weren’t ready to expand. “I phoned as by this time I’d actually booked a flight and said I’m going to come anyway.” In response Stephan said, “Well, okay, you can come up.” The Gathering expanded and continues to do so every year. It’s now a global network with centers participating from Kenya, Laos, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, China, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Eastern and Western Europe over the years.
Thank you Philip for insisting you attended all those years ago. It’s a thread that’s woven us into being here again at Hollyhock this year!