ToP Network Rides the Waves of Innovation, Collaboration, and Engagement
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Posted by: Caitlin Sarro
On January 13 - 16th at the 26th ToP Annual Gathering, the ToP Network came together for in Fort Lauderdale Florida. Each day’s agenda included opportunities to experience and learn new ideas and innovations, share practices and skills, and discuss the role of facilitation in today’s society.
Courses offered at the gathering were thought-provoking and robust. This year, workshops were focused on three themes: Streams Lead to the Ocean - All About ToP Methods; Tidal Force of Change - Engaging Communities; and Riding the Wave - Innovations in Facilitation. View a comprehensive list of the courses offered here.
Among the many engaging workshops and discussions, some highlights include:
Some ToP practitioners arrived early to participate in the pre-gathering session, Developing Critical Cultural Competency led by Joy Bailey and Robette Dias of CrossRoads, and institutional partner of the ICA. This session introduced a unique perspective to the engaging communities theme and spurred ongoing discussions around the role of a facilitator in social issues.
Attendees gathered for a lunchtime overview of a book study of The Courage to Lead offered by ICA Canada. Bill Staples and Duncan Holmes described how they are using the study guide and book in a university curriculum its transformational values. A number of ToP network members are involved in a virtual “circle” to share their experiences in their individual Courage to Lead book studies, including a Courage to Lead cohort at ICA-USA.
David Roth, a singer, songwriter, recording artist, and enthusiastic instructor, hosted a Community Building by Song workshop in which attendees wrote a song about ToP Facilitation. During Friday night dinner, David performed a variety of his songs and also led a small chorus of ToP members the song they had written earlier. The addition of song brought a new spirit to the room and encouraged a group sing-a-long of the old ICA song inspired by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “Responsibility.”
ICA and the ToP Network welcomed 4 new Qualified trainers, Karla Hill-Donisch, Stephanie Hochman, Kim Roth Howe, and Sherrie Simpson and 4 new Certified ToP Facilitators - Maria Teresa Gaston, Karla Hill-Donisch, Kim Roth Howe, and Sherry Johnson.
ICA commends the organizing team and our hosts in Florida for an eventful and energetic gathering. ICA-USA was well represented at the gathering with four staff members attending, three for the first time. Seva Gandhi, ICA Director of Programs, also led a session which delved deep into the history of ICA’s community engagement. This session was a great opportunity for members new to the ToP Network to learn about the origins of the methods, the 'why' of the organization, and how ToP methods are being used today.