Here's a description of our vision for The Human Potential Center. Many major elements of this vision are already in place, at least in rudimentary form. Other elements will be expanded and developed in the future through the enthusiasm and participation of staff, participants and volunteers. We invite you to join us in making this vision a reality.
Our vision is to create environments that are conducive to wellness, creativity and self-expression. These environments result from the interaction of four ingredients: people, programs, physical facility, and staff and management.
Our fundamental goal is to invite people to establish greater wellness, creativity and self-expression in their lives. To do this, we create encouraging, supportive environments for them in such diverse settings as workshops, lectures, groups and organizations. Everyone who contacts our organization as a participant or staff member has the opportunity to provide a valuable and unique contribution to this process. We hope that as a result of their contact with our organization, they will experience the thrill of discovering themselves, expressing themselves, and creating something new.
We believe that effective, caring communication is an essential ingredient of such environments. As a result, we invite staff and participants to actively listen to each other, to accept each other, and to respond authentically by communicating their honest thoughts and feelings. We also encourage people to accept and appreciate all aspects of themselves. Responding to this environment of acceptance, they find that their hearts reach out to others a bit more easily. This acceptance engenders a playfulness that seeps into every activity and program. There is a vibrancy and an aliveness as people interact with each other. It seems like there's always a hum of activity in these environments, and yet there is also a profound peacefulness and joy.
As participants talk and share in workshops or informal groups, they often generate new, ground-breaking ideas. It's not uncommon for people to disagree, but everyone who is drawn here seems to share the same love and respect for human beings. And this group interaction brings forth more than merely new ideas. Through it, people come to see that they can start realizing their dreams. Because of this environment, they discover new possibilities for themselves, and this instills new vigor into their creativity, wellness and self-expression.
To achieve this goal, we offer a wide variety of programs. For individuals, we present counseling, workshops, lectures and camps. For families and small groups, we offer family camps and other group interactions. In organizations, we provide business consulting, staff training and organizational development.
Some staff members have specific interests and choose to work with special segments of the population, such as terminally ill people, mental health system survivors, people who have been labelled "victims," etc. In addition, these environments inspire some participants to engage in politics and education in order to establish similarly supportive environments in society at large.
Counseling takes place in an environment of authenticity, empathy, acceptance, and open, honest communication. Our workshop topics are broadminded, mainstream, holistic, practical and wellness-oriented. We make many different workshops and resources available on various topics and from a variety of different perspectives. Even in workshops on "scary" topics like dying, people laugh, cry and feel hopeful again. They realize it's possible to love again and live fully even in the midst of difficult circumstances.
During breaks between programs and on numerous occasions at our central location, participants and staff share in informal small groups, talking excitedly with each other and smiling. Some of the ideas that evolve from these informal discussions are implemented and/or published here. Sometimes, they set up cooperative projects and create other new ways to express themselves better. Facilities are available for people to eat healthful meals together and talk about their past and their visions for the future. People receive sports massages; exercise, play volleyball and run together; and participate in personal growth groups.
Some of the lectures, workshops and public relations activities are presented by the director. Others are offered by staff members, by local workshop leaders, or by nationally-known lecturers who communicate their own synergistic beliefs. The unique outlooks held by these presenters are valued and supported by the organization.
There is a camp that allows kids to play in a natural setting away from their day-to-day worries. They learn about wellness, creativity and self-expression from each other and from counselors who embody authenticity, empathy, acceptance and open, honest communication. They square dance, listen to music, experiment with arts and crafts, explore their thoughts and feelings, center their minds and emotions, and eat healthful food. It is not uncommon to see them smiling and hugging each other.
Part of our goal is to help individuals, groups and organizations create such environments for themselves. In addition, we devote a lot of our energy and enthusiasm to establishing such an environment ourselves at our central location. This physical space has a layout and facilities that support communication and self-discovery. In the living room, people are talking excitedly with one another in small informal groups. The kitchen serves healthful meals. The dining area has circular tables that seat six to eight. People can often be seen laughing and talking, well after the meal is finished.
There are large rooms with wooden floors for dance and exercise. There are also cozy carpeted rooms with pillows and space enough for ten to twelve people seated on the floor. There is a large room with moveable chairs for lectures and workshops holding fifty to one hundred and fifty people. In addition, there is a larger room with fixed chairs for larger lectures holding two hundred to five hundred people. There are shade trees and benches outside, and birds are singing in the tranquil atmosphere.
People are lying on pillows and listening to high-quality sound systems in several locations around the facility. Someone is painting a picture in a room that has good light shining in from the outside. There are solid, freshly-painted walls, spacious and well-lit rooms, and furnishings that look and feel like home. There is a large room where resources on wellness, creativity and self-expression are on sale and available for one-hour loan to try them out. Lots of books, tapes, videos, and other products are on display.
There is a spacious, well-lit working area for staff, complete with computers, moveable partitions, telephones, copiers and other equipment necessary for working efficiently. Staff members are talking and laughing while their hands and minds are busily engaged in the tasks they have chosen to accomplish. A natural camping environment is also available, perhaps at a different location than the central facility. There are recreational activities available here, like boating, horseback riding, and volleyball. There are rooms for arts and crafts, square dancing, classes and workshops. A kitchen and dining hall are available where healthful food is prepared and eaten.
Each of us Ð staff and participants alike Ð has been drawn here by a shared vision. Implementing that vision is the work of many people. Overall guidance, policies and direction for our organization is provided by a group of people who act as a Board of Directors. Administration is provided by a flexible team of co-workers, who have their own duties and yet share the responsibility of carrying out the policies of the Board of Directors and seeing that the organization thrives and achieves our vision.
Our organization is open to and enthusiastic about positive changes. Synergy is structured into the fabric of our organization, so the more effectively participants and staff members achieve their goals, the more able the organization is to achieve its goals and vice versa. Fees and programs are creatively designed so that motivated people from all parts of the economic spectrum can participate.
Certain staff and participants choose to eat and live in close proximity to each other, as a way of creating a supportive home environment. The organization encourages their efforts through consultation and inspiration, and there is synergy and cooperation between these groups.
Groups of workers often exercise or run together. They have healthy potluck meals at each other's houses, participate in personal growth groups together, share their dreams and visions, express love and live enthusiastically. Certain workers choose to start their day by a 15-minute meditation together. This is viewed as a valuable use of time by our organization, and so it is considered part of their paid working day. The workers leave feeling excited, with a sparkle of caring for each other in their eyes.
Our organization encourages each staff member to think, create, write, exercise, speak, help guide the organization, and give and receive love and joy in personal relationships. Staff members have the opportunity to interact with people a lot Ð laughing, crying, and playing. Their eyes sparkle, and they feel healthy and vibrant. Staff members are encouraged to take time to relax and enjoy the creativity and vitality that springs from recreation and tranquility.
The director has ten clients a week for counseling and one evening workshop a week. He spends time playing with staff and participants Ð suggesting ideas, empowering and encouraging their visions Ð as we work toward a common goal. He relishes this opportunity to work and play with people; to watch them grow; to express himself fully within this environment; and to create a thriving organization that is true to this dream.