Thriving Communities Conference 2014

Clinton, Washington
Thursday, March 20, 2014

Third Annual Thriving Communities Conference
March 20 - 22, 2014
Health: "When people are healthy, communities thrive."
Thursday 6 pm—Saturday 4 pm
The Whidbey Institute, Thomas Berry Hall 

In these times of global challenge, how do we meet the needs of individuals, families, and local communities, in nurturing a sense of belonging, a capacity for resilience, and the ability to thrive?

We live in challenging times. Our personal and community health is at stake, faced with environmental, social, and economic pressures from all sides. What is the role of health and caring in modern life? How are personal wellness and community wellness intertwined? What comes into view when we look at community through the lens of health?

The people we will meet and the stunning stories we will share at our Third Annual Whidbey Institute Thriving Communities Conference will build a larger awareness of the challenges we face today as well as replicable, proven answers to those challenges.

Join a growing group of leaders and activists representing diverse ages, backgrounds, and communities from our bioregion and beyond. Place yourself in the dynamic center of engagement and exchange. Take an intimate look, over three days, at media storytelling and powerful dialogue which reveals the inspiring work of others. The examples shared during this conference can serve as a catalyst to improve and energize the work you do in your own community.

Learn the new and innovative ways that people, organizations, and businesses are working together to address health issues across populations, to strengthen communal ties, to create a sense of belonging, and to sustain the wellbeing of people and the places where they live.

What to Expect

Our time together will include the premiere of several short video documentaries—filmed by the Whidbey Institute—that demonstrate replicable examples of individuals and organizations doing exceptional work to impact community health in a manner which supports thriving. These include a local end-of-life care facility staffed by volunteers, a medical school whose mission focuses on the underserved in a very vulnerable community, a medical support fund supported by community investment, a co-op serving families in need of housing and healthcare, and more. We'll also explore our shared connections, discussing how we might further build healthy and thriving communities. If you have video footage or other visual media that pertains to this important topic, please consider bringing it to share.

We will gather as active participants to share ideas both big and small. If you are interested in building a thriving and resilient future, mark your calendar for March 20—22, 2014 and be part of this powerful upwelling of innovators, advocates, and community leaders throughout the Cascadia bioregion. The movement is underway, the future is here, and we are in this together!

Please note, this is a family friendly event. A community isn't a thriving community unless ALL generations are present! Please help us make this a success by inviting your family members, young and old, to join you for the conference. See "Bring the Family" below for more details. 

There are many ways to stay in touch—before, during, and after the conference! Visit our Thriving Communities page for information regarding the 2012 and 2013 conferences, photos and videos, and more on the history of this movement and community of collaborators. We also are on Facebook: join the conversation by asking to be added to the Thriving Communities group, or by liking our page

We welcome you to our March gathering!


Thursday, March 20
6:00 pm
Registration (& Settle into lodging)
6:00 pm   Opening Dinner
7:00 pm Welcome — "When People are Healthy, Communities Thrive"
9:00 pm  Creative Evening Activities

Friday, March 21
7:15 am Movement in the Sanctuary (optional)
8:00 am Breakfast
9:00 am Pacific Northwest —
Stories from A Constellation of Vibrant Local Organizations
9:30 am Enso House — 
“Every elder deserves respect in their community”
10:00 am Friends of Friends — 
“A community-supported health safety-net
10:30 am Pause
11:00 am  Circle of Life — 
“A powerful alternative to assisted living”
11:30 am Thrive Yakima — 
“Weaving a tapestry of healthcare collaboration in community”
12:15 pm   Lunch
1:30 pm Introduce Afternoon Workshops
2:00 pm Reaching Beyond the Noise —
With So Much To Be Done, 

What Is Most Important, Now? —Workshops
3:30 pm Pause
4:00 pm Exploration of Innovative Solutions — and
How They Transform to meet Unique Community Needs
5:30 pm Socializing in Thomas Berry Hall
6:00 pm Dinner
7:30 pm "What is Health?" with Drs. Adam Hoverman and Stephen Bezruchka
9:00 pm Creative Evening Activities

Saturday, March 22

7:15 am Movement in the Sanctuary (optional)
8:00 am   Breakfast
9:00 am Learning from One Another—Open Space Marketplace
10:30 am Pause
10:45 am Reflection and Inquiry
11:30 am Thriving Communities Research Report
12:30 pm Lunch
2:00 pm Bringing It Home: We Are Not Alone—Asks and Offers
3:00 pm Closing: Collaboration & Commitment
4:00 pm Departure

  • The registration rate is $125 for the full 3 days.
  • A $75 'scholarship' rate is available, based on self-selection. 
  • Note: teams of 3 or more people are eligible to receive a 10% discount, when registering as a group. 
The total cost to participate in the Thriving Communities Conference ranges from $75+tax (tuition only, bring your own meals, lodging off-site) to $335+tax (tuition, lodging, and all meals). What this means is that a person on just about any budget can attend our conference.


If you would like the opportunity to stay on-site at the Whidbey Institute,
please reserve your space when you register as space is limited.

Cost is $100 + tax per person for the two nights of the conference. Most rooms are shared; bathrooms are shared.  You will have an opportunity when registering to communicate particular requests or needs.

We will contact you one week prior to the conference with your room assignment and other details.


All Meals
Beginning with dinner Thursday evening, completing with lunch Saturday
$110 +tax
Breakfast  $12 +tax
Lunch  $18 +tax
Dinner  $26 +tax

Christyn Johnson, our extraordinary chef, is committed to providing delicious, nourishing meals from locally sourced ingredients. The shared meals are wonderful part of the Thriving Communities Conference experience.

Comments from other Whidbey Institute events: 

"The food is beyond fabulous."  
"I've never tasted love before - every meal was infused with it."

Meals can be purchased on a per-meal basis when registering, or all at once for a total of $110 +tax. You are also welcome to bring your own meals. 

Bring the Family

Kids ages 12 and younger are welcome to attend - free of charge - with a paying parent or guardian. Please note that meals and/or lodging costs are separate and that the parent or guardian must maintain full responsibility for their child/children at all times throughout the conference. We will have a volunteer or two available at the conference to play with the kids during important moments in the schedule. Select 'kids meals' can be purchased upon arrival, for half the cost of the regular meals. Lodging costs are the same for kids as for adults; please notify Dan Mahle if you intend to reserve a bed for your child. Young adults, 13+ are also very welcome. Some need-based partial scholarships are available for youth participants - contact Dan if interested. 


Many young leaders need scholarship help in order to attend the gathering. You can help a young person attend by adding any size donation to your registration.  All funds collected for the scholarship account will be distributed to support this conference. Scholarship contributions can be made during the registration process, and you will receive a letter after the event acknowledging your 501c3 deductible donation.

Contact the Thriving Communities team for information about scholarship support.

Cancellation & Refund Policy 

We understand that life challenges emerge and changes happen; we request your help in ensuring that we are operating together in integrity. If you find it necessary to cancel, a full refund minus your $75 deposit will be given if notice is received at least two weeks prior to the beginning of the session. For cancellations received less than two weeks prior to the start date, no refund can be given, barring exceptional emergencies.


Contact Information

  • Dan Mahle
    Program Assistant 
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