From the 19th to the 21st September 2014, Positive Money held its first retreat at the University of Cumbria in the Lake District. Positive Money supporters, staff and Directors came together in stunning surroundings to discuss the Positive Money network, our role within it and ideas for the future.
We managed to pack a lot in over the weekend. The staff presented a brief history of Positive Money, reflecting on the added capacity, energy and resources the organisation has received from its supporters along the way. The group had a discussion about the skills they brought to the network and what skills they would like to develop. We all shared what had motivated us to apply for the weekend and what we wanted to get from the experience.
On Friday evening the group enjoyed a communal meal cooked by Ben, Mira and Fran, followed by a debate about the Scottish referendum and musical mastery instigated by Shirley Wardell!
Saturday included an Open Space session which asked the group to respond to the question – How can we grow our network? We all set the agenda and worked together on the issues we had commitment and passion for. This led to wide-ranging conversations from fundraising to positive visioning. During the afternoon Fran Boait and Jem Bendell, Professor of Sustainable Leadership at the University of Cumbria, led a workshop about reflective leadership and communication. The group went on a beautiful walk to nearby Rydale and had dinner in Ambleside.
During the final day Jem gave a talk on ‘Monetary Reformers and Currency Innovators’, which informed a fruitful discussion about collaboration. The group were given a lot of information about Positive Money developments and we discussed what we would all be taking away from the weekend. Throughout the weekend we practiced facilitation techniques to take back to our local group meetings and shared lessons and stories of our experience of being part of the Positive Money network.
The retreat was an experiment, borne out of a belief that bringing people together is essential for building a healthy, strong and vibrant network. The weekend far exceeded our expectations. It left us with an abundance of new ideas, energy and wonderful memories. This was the first Positive Money retreat –We hope it will be the first of many.