- How are regional groups organized?
- How do they relate to the Chicago office?
- What are effective methods for starting a regional group?
- What makes for a strong regional group?
How are regional groups organized? How do they relate to the Chicago office?
Regional groups tend to be fairly autonomous (both financially and in decision-making) from the CPT offices . Regional groups decide for themselves: how often to meet, what issue or issues to focus on, how to structure themselves, whether or not to join coalitions, etc. Some regional groups fundraise money specifically for their regional group. The most successful regional groups have found that meeting on a regular basis is important to keep the group together and active.Each regional group is asked to designate one person to be the liaison with the CPT coordinator responsible for linking regional groups in their part of the world with CPT as a whole . These coordinators can provide support like: regular communication with the group to find out what the group is doing, regular communication with the rest of CPT to highlight the work of regional groups (e.g., writing updates for the newsletter), being available to brainstorm ideas for actions or the direction of the group's work, etc.
If you are in Canada and you are interested in forming a regional group in your area, please contact Rachelle Friesen at 416-423-5525, firstname.lastname@example.org . If you are anywhere else, contact Jen Yoder at: 773-376-0550, email@example.com
What are effective methods for starting a regional group?
- Become a CPTer. If you are interested in organizing a regional group and you, yourself are not a CPTer, CPT strongly encourages you to participate in its 4-week intensive nonviolence peacemaker training held twice a year in Chicago. It is important to have a local CPTer who has experienced the training firsthand to help with scheduling, content, and local logistics that are involved in a regional training.
- Contact, contact, contact. Form a list of people you know and contact them to see if they have or know of someone who might have interest in forming a CPT regional group. CPT can send you a list of people in your region who are interested in CPT. One man sent a letter to over 100 people and then followed up with a phone call! Other's have put announcements in church bulletins and contacted various peace and justice committees.
- Focus on forming an active group. When you contact people about a regional group, it is important to focus on recruiting people for a regional group instead of recruiting people for a nonviolence training. Past experience has taught us that people tend to get excited about being trained in nonviolence and don't really understand that this is training people to become CPT Reservists and part of a regional group.
- Foster interest in CPT. Invite CPTers to come talk about their experiences ‘in the field'. It's a great way for people to learn how peace is made ‘on the ground.' One group set up a series of speaking engagements in their area (at local churches and schools) and, as a result, a few people signed up for CPT delegations. Go to the Speakers Bureau page to find CPT speakers.
- Encourage people to go on CPT delegations. This is a great way to get to know CPT. Plus, it's a mandatory step in the application process for becoming a CPT reservist, which also includes filling out a corps application and having a telephone interview with our personnel coordinator. Once five people from the group have completed the application process (and another five are in process), then tentative dates for a regional training can be set.
- Start meeting. The most successful regional groups have found it helpful to begin meeting regularly as a group (e.g., once a month) before the actual training. This is helpful because it allows the group to begin forming a vision of what issues it wants to focus on, plus folks can start getting to know each other better. Some groups began by reflecting on what it means to be peacemakers. Other groups began by organizing prayer vigils to address local violence.
After the group has begun meeting, the regional group development coordinator can come to your area to talk further about CPT and begin the process of planning the training.
What Makes for a Strong Regional Group?
- sharing life stories
- meeting in different venues and staying in each other's homes
- having regular, face-to-face meetings
- having full-day meetings, which makes the meeting more like a retreat day
- including a significant 20-30 minute worship time in the meetings
- commissioning each other for CPT service (delegations, Reserve duty, etc)
- having a staff person to support, energize, be available
- having "refresher training" sessions
- fairly flexible agenda and time frame for meetings
- the group is a "home" for those with common interests and world-view, understands us and our CPT experiences
- chance to meet full-timers personally
- news of group's activities circulated frequently by e-mail between meetings
- staying in touch with other social justice organizations to make common cause and future recruits
- support field teams with actions at home like the Colombia vigil in Toronto in August
- support and participate in CPT Urgent Action requests etc.
- organize local fun(d)raising events
- monitor and respond to local press reports
- maintain contact with local politician