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Cheryl’s Star Raft Salon – Month 3

April 27, 2013

StarRaftAprilCheryl’s Star Raft Salons are a one year project based on a curriculum that Cheryl Fryfield, Shelley Nessman, David Wetherow and I put together which focuses on identifying one’s gifts and strengths (asset mapping) and then finding places in the community where those gifts matter, and others who have the same passions and interests.   Over the course of the year we hope to develop leadership, meet individual goals for each person, widen our networks of connections and build capacity for self advocates to support other self advocates.   Each month we have a theme, a special entertainment guest for lunch, and a special guest from the community at the end of the day.

Cheryl says, “My experience on the star raft, has been great so far.  I think we have gotten closer as a group after the third meeting now.  I sense the group wants to learn about certain topics that they are concerned about, like, for example, employment, and employment is a big issue now for Self Advocates.  Today, Sasha Stone was excellent about the employment issues, the group were really interested in that.   I am noticing lately, I don’t have to nudge the group too much to speak up!”  We are now talking about changing the curriculum a little bit to focus more on employment and public speaking.

The thing that’s impressed us all has been our guests.  The idea that if we were going to talk about how we could expand our networks of support, we could invite people from the community in every month and a) listen to what they did in their organization or work and b) explain to them that they might want us to be involved, was really theoretical.   We didn’t know if anyone would want to come and, if they did, whether they’d be interested.   But we’ve had six guests so far and are amazed at how glad they are to be invited and how interested they are in connection.

Shelley says, “I think it really is inspiring about how we do this dance in our heads about invitation- oh- no one will want to come.. I don’t want to bug them… and really – people show up in such authentic and genuine ways! Every person who we have invited has come and shared and learned and taught!”

Debby Simcoe, mom, advocate, volunteer driver and such a great force in our little group, says, “Cheryl’s Star Raft Salon is about gathering your whole life’s learning to the table and discovering that you may have the story, idea or understanding that could be the catalyst for someone else fulfilling their life purpose. The over arching ‘right’ feel of these discussions brings us lovingly and respectfully together…very cool.”

And one last word from Cheryl, “I think all the speakers we have had so far, are pretty fantastic.  I think the toast master guys that came today will help a lot for the group.  I feel like I have some tools that I thought I never had.”

Thanks to C.L.B.C. and to the B.C. Gaming Fund for supporting this project.

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