The Campfire Flame is Ignited!

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By Leanne Clare

Vanier conference table June 10 2015

Armed with marshmallows, roasting sticks, and even an indoor flame, The Campfire Project recently headed into the community to hear stories and recruit partners.

Tales and tears flowed in abundance at the Vanier Institute for the Family’s 50th anniversary conference. The conference was an exemplar of how storytelling can convey important information and emotional impact to audiences – even in large settings. Researchers and practitioners from all walks of life left their PowerPoint presentations at the office and, instead, shared both personal and professional stories about the role of family in Canada.

The tone was set early on by writer and keynote speaker Andrew Soloman who shared incredible stories of adversity and love within families. At the end of his speech an older gentleman beside me said he never cries at conferences, but he was wiping tears away. The stories kept coming as panels discussed themes such as love, support, and the challenges of work and families.

Perhaps the most important theme to emerge from the conference was that of reconciliation. Following on the heels of the official closing of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the need and desire to achieve reconciliation within the larger Canadian family was repeated several times throughout the conference. It was also clear that sharing stories will be an important way to achieve that reconciliation. To watch and hear more of the many stories shared at the conference visit the Vanier Institute’s blog.[insert hyperlink]

The Campfire Project was also happy to light up the fire at C2UExpo hosted by Carleton University.   Connections were made with community groups and researchers interested in working together to achieve positive social change. Engagement Fair participants ranged from the Ottawa Tool Library to Ashoka Canada.

Are you hosting an upcoming event that The Campfire Project should attend? Get in touch at leanne.clare@carleton.ca and we’ll let you know if we can bring the marshmallows!