Setting Up a DANCE Group
A DANCE group is a wonderful way to build community, find inspiration, offer and receive encouragement, and catalyse compassionate action in response to climate change. In doing so, we grow our hearts in compassion and deepen our practice as Dharma practitioners.
If you would like to start a group, please email email@example.com, and give your name, location, a telephone number and email address. We will post your information on the website and also post an invitation on our Facebook page, as well as any other support we can offer to help you get up and running.
Here are some suggestions and basic guidelines about running a successful group:
- Decide together at the start of the meeting how long it will last. Appoint a chairperson to make sure you stick to time. Agree an agenda together; the chairperson makes sure all the agenda items are covered. It can be de-motivating if meetings run on too long and don’t cover all the bases.
- Ask a person to make notes/minutes, and record any actions agreed. Ask this person to send the notes to everyone. It doesn’t have to be too onorous – recording the actions is most important as it keeps the ball rolling and motivates. Revisit the actions from a previous meeting at the next meeting so that people can update, share their good work, offer and receive appreciation, and keep ongoing actions alive.
- Take it in turns to chair and make notes (unless of course someone really wants to take on a role).
- The first meeting is a good time to discuss how you want to run the group. You might discuss the format – do you want to sit in meditation for a while at the start and end? Do you want a person to bring a short reading to each meeting to motivate and inspire? The first meeting is a good time to get all the ideas about possible actions on the table, to brainstorm and let the heart speak. It might not necessarily be the best time to work out the hows and whens, or even to decide if something is possible. But feel your way. Most important is that some motivation and inspiration is built up.
- If you have a lot of ideas, the next stage might be to work out which ones to prioritise, which ones have juice, which ones light your fires. This might happen at the second meeting. Depending on the size of your group, you may decide to split into sub-groups who take responsibility for a specific project, or allocate specific projects to individuals. The idea is to match people with things that interest them, or for which they have skills.
- Agree to meet on a regular basis at a frequency that suits everybody, ideally often enough to keep momentum going, but not so that people feel over-extended. Agree a date for the next meeting at the end of a meeting, or ask a volunteer to run a Doodle Poll, an online and very easy way to work out when people are free for a meeting.
- You are up and running! If you have any ideas you would like to add to this, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Good luck. May all beings be well.