Whidbey Winter Gathering


We invite you to join us for the 5th Annual Whidbey Winter Gathering…

Where Do We Go From Here?

 Thursday, January 29 – Sunday, February 1, 2015

Whidbey Institute on Whidbey Island, Washington

We are entering the fifth year of what we have come to call “The Decisive Decade,” and the signs of major cultural and environmental transformation continue to unfold.  

This year we will be pondering the question “Where Do We Go from Here?” which was the title of Martin Luther King Jr.’s final book. Our goal is to make this the most diverse and inclusive Winter Gathering ever, bringing together leaders from a wide range of cultures and ages from our region. The King Center declares that “Dr. King’s Beloved Community is a global vision in which all people can share in the wealth of the earth. Racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood.”  

At the Winter Gatherings, our approach to social change is rooted in the idea that “If you want to create a new culture, throw a better party!” 

We believe that creativity and innovation are best nurtured in a trusting, supportive community where current and emerging leaders can connect with each other’s essential goodness.

The Gathering brings together people from the Pacific Northwest who are working for positive change. It is an intercultural and intergenerational leadership conference based on a heart-centered sense of community, spirit, and service. We invite you to be a part of this creative community experience.  


The Winter Gathering is both an exploration of ideas, strategies, and resources and a time for mid-winter renewal. It’s a convergence of movers and shakers, social entrepreneurs, educators, healers, artists, and thinkers exploring human consciousness and social transformation. 

For four days you will be immersed in the natural beauty of Whidbey Island, and nurtured by the magic that is the Whidbey Institute at Chinook (see whidbeyinstitute.org). The goal is for all of us to expand our networks of collaboration and support, and be renewed and inspired in our efforts to make a difference. 

We trust that when 100 passionate, bright, committed people spend four invigorating and relaxing days together, good things happen. And in 30 years of leading these fun-filled gatherings, many good things have happened!

STRUCTURE: The Gathering operates on the principle that the deepest creativity at conferences happens over tea and in the hallways. Therefore, we have a flexible structure with plenty of time for informal conversation, creative expression, and fun. Morning plenary sessions feature dynamic, interactive presentations by social artists and entrepreneurs from a variety of disciplines. The afternoons are self-organized. Participants share their work and ideas with one another in concurrent sessions. There’s also time for hiking on the Chinook Lands, walking on the beaches, participating in creative arts, and the like. In the evenings we delve into creative community building through dance, song, storytelling, theater improv, and a fabulous open mic. 

***Special StoryDome Sessions***  During the Gathering you will have an opportunity to experience the StoryDome* —an immersive kiva-like dome theater. You’ll be taken on a wondrous journey to the farthest reaches of the known universe and back. This awe-inspiring Universe Story will help to embed our conversations in a very broad and deep context (see www.storydome.org).

INTRODUCING VICTORIA SANTOS: We are delighted to announce that Victoria Santos is now co-convening the conference with Rick. This means she is involved with all aspects of the conference from planning, to invitations, to co-facilitation. Victoria is a social entrepreneur who is a key staff person in the Young Women Empowered teen girls program. She is on the board of directors of the Whidbey Institute, and is director of the Sister Island Project, a collaborative program with her birth place the Dominican Republic. 

HELP US EXPAND OUR COMMUNITY: The more diverse our community, the more we get to learn from each other. Please help us in achieving this important goal by letting us know about dynamic and diverse leaders from the Salish Sea bioregion you think should attend. Invite one of your children. Invite friends with life experiences and perspectives different than your own. 

BELOVED COMMUNITY SCHOLARSHIP FUND: There are many wonderful leaders with unique gifts and wisdom who require scholarship support in order to attend the gathering.  Need-based scholarships help us to manifest the Beloved Community by welcoming people of color, young people, creators, artists, change-makers and visionaries with limited financial resources. You can help a person in need of financial support attend by adding any size donation to your $250 tuition. Please give generously. You will receive a letter acknowledging your tax deductible donation. Thank you! 

REGISTRATION: The 2015 Whidbey Winter Gathering begins with dinner at 6 pm on Thursday, January 29 and ends at 4 pm on Sunday, February 1. The event always fills quickly, so make your reservation soon. To register, go to https://www.regonline.com/wi_wintergathering_2015

TUITION COST for the conference is $250.00. The Whidbey Institute offers delicious gourmet natural foods and a range of accommodations. Lodging is available for $150 for the weekend, and meals for $155 (or on a per-meal basis). 

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