Adhhaara 2015: Refocus, Reenergize

Since 2012 the organization has undergone many changes.  We hired staff, shifted the structure of the organization from being project-based to now being chapter based, we implemented new roles and introduced new programs and projects.

Being an organization with over 100 active volunteers at any given time, communication can be challenging.  How do we get everyone on one page? How do we learn from each other and work towards expanding and improving the work we are have all committed to? Most importantly, how do we connect as a sangat of volunteers and strengthen ourselves as individuals and a team.

The answer was Adhhaara – a retreat specifically designed for Jakara Movement’s active volunteers, board, members of the LOI, and staff.  Over the years the retreat has shifted organically based on the needs of the volunteers and organization.  Some years we have focused the entire weekend to team building, others we have focused solely on individual skills building, and the past two-years we have been able to find a balance between individual development, team building, and meeting the needs of the organization.

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This year’s Adhhaara was especially unique.  The make-up of participants ranged from fresh high school grads that are starting to take over the Jakara Juniors they once attended, to board members that have been involved from day one.  Not only were the participants getting to know each other, but they working together to further the organization’s goals.  Age and level or length of involvement were not barriers in working together as a team.  I took a step back and saw what we had always wanted for our volunteers; to have access to each other as resources, inspiration, and community.

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Topics of workshops were diverse.  We started each day with reflection on Gurbani.  Joti got us all thinking by understanding what Jakara is all about: community organizing.  She outlined the differences between community organizing, advocacy and other organizing methods.  Iqbal walked us through his arsenal of marketing techniques and tips.  Deep took us to the streets. We conducted a community survey door-to-door and at the Gurdwara Sahib in Fremont.  Amrit closed the weekend with GIS mapping – helping us understand where our community is and how our programming serves them.

The weekend is always one that is reenergizing, I look forward to the growth of Adhhaara in the coming years.

Addhhaara is an invite-only retreat.  Interested in attending?  Please contact ravneet@jakara.org

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