What did I picture when I thought of my great summer conversations?

My great summer conversation would most definitely happen outside. Living in Edmonton, AB enduring long, cold winters I’m ready to head outdoors in sandals, even if it’s only 10C. 

Here’s my picture of a great summer conversation: My local community has a fantastic Canada Day celebration that is attended by thousands of residents and their families. Currently, the County where I live, is hosting some important conversations and discussions about issues of growth and movement of people and cars in the area.  Many of these conversations are being held using traditional style events, such as open houses and presentations.  I can’t help but wonder if there is an opportunity to get a bit more creative, a bit more interactive and align some of these important conversations with the Canada Day celebration.

I envision tons of tables set up and covered with thick paper in and among all the activities and asking people questions about key issues.

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Participants can record their responses before getting up to head off to the next activity and kids can colour pictures or make drawings to leave their big ideas. I could also see an area to create graffiti art, a chalk wall or play-dough sculptures (on an appropriate surface of course) that allow artistic and creative participants to express their responses to key questions in a unique, interactive way.

My day would close with a community campfire that includes time for singing, story telling, merry-making and ample time for smore-making! 

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Fireworks would be ok too!

What conversations do I hope to have this summer? What questions do I want to explore?

All of us at Dialogue Partners are delighted to continue to support many meaningful conversations. We’ve had conversations in California, Calgary, the east coast, the west coast, in our local communities, in northern communities, around kitchen tables, in gardens, in classrooms, boardrooms, small rooms, dark rooms, big rooms and even in a music festival. To be honest, I’m just about ready to stop talking. Now for those of you that know me, this might come as a shock as I’m always ready to dive into a deep conversation and find new ways to bring people together in fun, dynamic ways. But as I sit on the cusp of summer and think about the last “season of public engagement” I think I’m ready to focus my conversations with these three…

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And one more you can't see taking the picture :)

This last year has been a gift, I have learnt SO much and I get to grow each day. The people I engage with people, who are talking about really important issues, they fill me up. But I’ve also learnt that even me, the eternal “extrovert” who gets their energy and enthusiasm from time spent with others, needs time to reflect and rejuvenate…quietly and maybe even by myself.

So I hope to spend a lot of time here…

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And while I’m there some of the “big” questions I’m pondering…

What’s next for me….where and how do I want to grow professionally?

How do I and the DP team continue to support and encourage our clients and other organizations to have “ a different kind of conversation?" By this I mean not ones just based on “facts and details” but ones that add in and give equal weight to peoples' experiences and emotions. I was recently facilitating a partnering meeting for a project initiation and one of the participants said, “this is great but us army guys aren’t good at this kind of stuff." It got me thinking…important conversations are being had everywhere, and I know if both facts and experiences are included in a conversation the outcomes determined are more likely to be sustainable and meet a variety of needs but how do I demonstrate this? How do I show the value in including both components and that a different outcome can be achieved? That’s my question for contemplation.

What goes well with my picnic conversation and maybe a little R & R?

These are two flavours that I absolutely love and for those not enjoying “drinks” this summer it’s a great option.

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Italian Lemonade

2 cups lemon juice, about 12 to 15 lemons
2 cups Basil Simple Syrup, (recipe follows)
2 cups cold or sparkling water
Ice
Lemon twists, for garnish

Mix lemon juice, Basil Simple Syrup, and water together in a pitcher. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Pour over ice filled glasses and garnish with a lemon twist.

Basil Simple Syrup

1 bunch fresh basil, washed and stemmed
2 cups sugar
1 cup water

In a saucepan combine basil, sugar, and water and simmer until the sugar is dissolved, 5 minutes. Cool, strain the simple syrup, and store in the refrigerator.

Wishing you all the best this summer!!!

Cheers,
Kim

Kim Hyshka