Notes from Windward: #64

The Event Department

      No matter how self-reliant Windward is able to become, there will never be a point at which it is in our interest to cut ourselves off from interacting with the world at large; indeed, the very thought is anathema to what we're about. Rather, it's our goal to deal with the world "out there" on our own terms.

      To whatever degree we're able to fulfill our goal of building a working model of a better way of life will be accomplished because of the work of the thousands of pioneers, researchers and teachers who've gone before and showed the path. It's our goal to continue in that noble tradition, and one way to do that is to put on educational events which enlighten the mind and amuse the heart.

      Some of the events we host here last for days and involve hundreds of people. Other events are small and involve only a dozen or so people who want to learn about some particular aspect of what we do. They're all good, and create a win-win situation in which our educational mission is furthered at the same time that our charitable work is underwritten.

      Over the years we've developed our campground to the point where hosting a few hundred friends for the weekend is no problem at all. We've built permanent toilets throughout the campground, created fire pits, improved the access roads all to the point where we can provide space to small to medium size groups of campers.

      Links to the home pages of some of the larger events held here annually can be found on the index page for this issue of our newsletter, whereas the smaller events are usually narrow enough in focus that the general public's not likely to be all that interested.

      For example, one of the small events that we've done in the spring is "The Kidding," which offers a chance to hang out with the goats and sheep as they give birth.

      We sequester the bucks and rams in the fall to make sure that we don't have newborns hitting the ground during a blizzard. One result is that instead of having a slow trickle of births happening over a period of a few months, most of the births happen within a three week period.

      We calculate that our sustainable quota is 32 ewes and 32 does, with the result that when things are working right, we're looking at an average of two births a day, and given our experience, six and more births a day are common.

      By virtue of having paid attention to the mating dance the previous fall, we have some idea of which weekend is likely to see the most births, and it's a lot of fun to invite our city friends up to camp out and play midwife. The ewes and does are very happy to have the attention, and the little ones are so precious to watch as they get their first glimpse of the world.

      There are all sorts of worthwhile small events that could be developed given our campground, our workshops and the sustainable systems we're bringing on line. For example, if someone was interested in drumming, then why not put together an event at which people got to work on making a drum, and then got to use it in a drum circle around the fire later that evening.

      And events don't even have to actually do something in order to be worthwhile, since there are lots of folks who would benefit greatly from a contemplative retreat in a natural location that's isolated from the noise and stress of city life.

      A significant part of the joy of what we do involves sharing what we've learned with others, but another important service path involves helping other groups do worthwhilethings. For example, we've put on a family event for a Narcotics Anonymous group, and a living history campout for a class of developmentally disabled kids.

      While other departments and chairs are focused around some skill or craft, the Event Department is all about helping people have fun while they learn a bit, laugh a bit and go home refreshed. It's a prime example of the principle that doing good can be a lot of fun.

Notes From Windward - Index - Vol. 64