Community. When you hear that word do you think of the tv show? Do you think of summer camp back in ’88? I think of Project World School.
People come together to form a community for a myriad of different reasons. People at Project World School retreats come together to meet other worldschoolers and to learn together. It’s easy to make friends and a loose knit community, but it takes actual work and determination to create a community that feels like family; and that’s our goal. We spend hours playing goofy improv games all throughout the few weeks we’re together to help people loosen up and trust, as well as just have fun. We also do a closing circle every night that includes an honest discussion of how the day went, what works, what didn’t work, and close it with pulling cards with questions on them and answering them. It’s important that the community have that chance to really reflect and appreciate each other, and the activities they’re sharing.
On this last retreat, everyone became incredibly close. The mere topic of leaving or even just talk of the airport was followed by a collective groan and requests to not talk about it yet by the group. We had community movie nights, where all of us would crowd together in one of the bedrooms and watch films projected up onto a wall. It was definitely a team building exercise deciding on which movies would be played (we had some die-hard Disney fans, it got complicated). The community of this last retreat was truly beautiful to watch grow though, let me tell you.
The best moments were the unplanned ones, of everyone just truly in bliss and joy. On one of the last nights of the retreat we went down to the beach on Isla Mujeres and had a crazy dance party, complete with the Blue’s Tap and Rumba, and ukulele sing-a-long. It was as we were all singing Riptide and harmonizing it dawned on me, community and friendships aren’t only made strong through years of growing together, it can be made by simply supporting each other and helping others learn in a healthy environment. It’s trust and support through challenges. We had people push their boundaries in ways they didn’t know they’d ever have to, and found themselves totally supported by all of us! It was awesome!
And let’s not forget how awesome it is to learn in a community like this. Community learning promotes discussion, seeing things from different angles, and a higher chance you’ll remember the topic in the future. You’re constantly learning. It could be just a chat with the man outside the grocery store about his pet kangaroo, but if you’re in a group, suddenly there are more questions being asked than you alone could have thought of, there’s a collective group that can remember it because of the jokes you made, and there’s a new group interest in kangaroos that will soon result in a new pet for everyone. Community learning also is a great way to support others. In a classroom if a student behind or don’t understand, there isn’t much leeway or time to help them one on one. In a community, it’s easy!
Community makes the world go ‘round, my friends. Go out and build yours!