Have A Great Weekend

CtK Alums in the news over the past week:

  • CtK Alum Sara Houlobek quoted in this important essay on healthcare and tech, “Just as Holoubek declared 2018 the year of pilot testing she also shared a prediction about next year. ‘2019,’ Holoubek said, ‘will be the year of bad voice tech experiences.’”

  • CtK Alum Katie Harbath on facebook’s efforts in the lead up to global elections: The “war room is something new that we’re trying in terms of having a physical presence, and we’ll reevaluate and see how it works here after the U.S. midterms to determine if this is something that we want to continue for major elections going forward.”

  • Devoted Health, founded by CtK Alum Todd Park, former chief technology officer for the Obama administration, also features the work of CtK Alum DJ Patil who previously served as the U.S.’s chief data scientist during the Obama administration. Find out how they plan to utilize tech to direct healthcare to seniors.

  • CtK Airlie Retreat participant Ben Yee with his latest newsletter.

Have you published something recently? Been quoted sharing your expertise? Launched a venture? We’d love to recognize your work! Please let us know what you’ve been up to.

As for our CtK team, well, we’re each gearing up for the midterms in different ways.

  • Lori is in Europe training global leaders—and getting in a little Tuscan r&r as well. (She voted early, before she left the US.)

  • Jen is in Northern Manitoba Canada with polar bear biologists learning about bear biology and climate change from the (relative) warmth of a Tundra Buggy. (She also voted early, before she left the US.)

  • Loretta is holding down the fort in DC and making sure that CtK keeps moving forward. (She’s planning to vote on Election Day.)

What are you up to? We’d love to hear from you!

From the Campfire: Rules of Engagement

At Campfire, we ask people to show up and be vulnerable. But we never do it without laying the ground rules.

How can we ask each participant to tell the group about the people and experiences that led them to where they are today or expect them to let their initial wariness dissolve without some parameters? Because, really, we want to get to a place where we see each other as human, where we respect whatever forces delivered each of us to this place. Without a foundation forged in mutual respect, how can we expect to discuss the state of democracy, civic engagement, and hyper-partisanship constructively?

So here they are, our ground rules:

  1. Be an active, constructive contributor.

  2. Commit to respect all points of view and agree not to weaponize.

  3. Assume positive intent.

  4. Be brutal in your honesty and gentle in your delivery.

  5. Maintain confidentiality about who’s in the group, what was said, and the details you’ve absorbed. In short, observe the Chatham House Rule.

We believe these rules translate into the foundation of a well-lived personal and professional life. We take them with us and try to live by them every day.

And we make time for walks, shared meals, and—whenever possible—conversation around a campfire. We’d recommend that you do, too.

Early Voting!

We posted this to twitter today and thought it was important enough to repeat:

This is your Tuesday midterm election reminder to VOTE! Remember: if your state allows early voting you can vote now!

(We're looking at you:
Interested in the full list of early voting dates? Check out a complete list here.
#YourVoteCounts #YourVoiceYourVote

On Gratitude

We asked CtK.Campfire Alums to share a little about what the experience has meant to them. We were humbled by what they had to say.

“Attending CtK.Campfire was one of the best decisions of my personal and professional life. It is a weekend that cannot be adequately described - it must be experienced. CtK has made me learn and grow in ways I couldn't have foreseen, but that ultimately make me a better colleague, spouse, person and - ultimately - a loyal antagonist. I didn't know that this was something I was searching for until I found it. CtK is one of the few organizations that truly provides value long after the event ends.” - Brittany Adams, Cohort IV

I didn’t know that this was something I was searching for until I found it.
— Brittany Adams

Have A Great Weekend

A few highlights from the week that was.

We launched CtK 2.0!

  • Last weekend, CtK alumni representing all four cohorts got together to work on furthering CtK's mission. It was amazing to be back in a room full of Loyal Antagonists working on a common goal! We wanted to recap for our entire, extended group of Campfire Alums what we talked about and where we're going next--with your help!

  • Click here for a full summary.

A recent report on polarization.

  • Here at CtK, we’ve got some thoughts on why an experiment like this doesn’t work, and why Campfire does.

  • Ezra Klein writing in Vox makes a point that we can get behind: "The studies that show intergroup contact reduces polarization and suspicion also show that that contact needs to have certain features — it needs to be positive, there need to be shared goals, there ideally should be a reason for cooperation."

  • We’ll be building on this point in the coming days, keep your eye out for more.

Bishop Garrison profiled in The Bridge. Congratulations, Bishop!

West Wingers topping book lists again! O Magazine’s list of 14 political books to read before you go to the polls: each one will help you make a more informed vote.

As always, we want to remind you to vote! We’re t-minus 18 days until the midterms and most places have opened early voting. (Look at the lines to vote early in GA!) Please make a plan and get out to VOTE!

CtK 2.0! Alums are making it happen.

CtK.Campfire Alums continue to cultivate the karass!

Last weekend, CtK alumni representing all four cohorts got together to work on furthering CtK's mission. It was amazing to be back in a room full of Loyal Antagonists working on a common goal! We wanted to recap for our entire, extended group of Campfire Alums what we talked about and where we're going next--with your help!

Alumni Engagement 

CtK invited each of you to Campfire for the amazing skills and vision you bring to the table. We want you to stay engaged!

Cohort Ambassadors will be the first line in connecting all cohort alums to the mission and overall CtK goals, events, and upcoming projects. The retreat team generated a description of CtK Ambassadors. Want to become one? Sign up!

We're gathering testimonials so that you can share in your own words what CtK and Campfire mean to you in your life and work. We've received some powerful expressions--and we want to add yours to our website! Please write a testimonial and click here to mail it to us directly.

And, last but not least, Save the Date! You should have received a save-the-date about next year's alumni event. Thanks to alumni feedback, we plan to host the Annual Alumni Event during the last weekend in March every year. Put it on your calendars, we hope to see you there! 

Attending CtK.Campfire was one of the best decisions of my personal and professional life. It is a weekend that cannot be adequately described - it must be experienced. CtK has made me learn and grow in ways I couldn’t have foreseen, but that ultimately make me a better colleague, spouse, person and - ultimately - a loyal antagonist.
— Brittany Adams (Cohort IV)

Funding and Donations

Already, CtK is having an impact!

We are still a young organization with a big idea that requires trust and vision and long-term buy-in. We have an exceptionally energized and passionate group of alumni and supporters. But we'll need to continue to grow our funding and we need your help to do it

Throughout the non-profit and political landscape, we see examples of how gifts big and small combine to ensure organizations and campaigns remain vibrant and get their message out. This is where you come in! We rely on our alums for donations, connections to funders, and grants that you help us identify and apply for. 

Please consider making a donation! 

If you know of philanthropists, organizations, or grants--or anyone you are aware of who may be interested in furthering our mission--please let us know!

p.s--If your company has a matching grant program, don't forget to apply for your match if that's available to you!

Marketing & Communications

We want to spread the word about what we're doing and bring more awareness to the importance of Loyal Antagonists! 

  • We created a Key Messages document that will fuel future communications. Please use it when you're talking about CtK!

  • We want to generate joint op-eds from Loyal Antagonists. If you're interested in participating, please let us know!

  • We want to amplify our social media presence. We'll be adding more original content and updates on the successes of our alums. Keep us up to date on your accomplishments! Please consider sharing CtK with your networks.

We're also considering a prototype for a podcast (working title: The Loyal Antagonists), based on the spectrum exercises we do at Campfire. If you're knowledgeable about podcasts or interested in participating, please let us know!

Have A Great Weekend: On Gratitude

‘Thank you’ is the best prayer that anyone could say. I say that one a lot. Thank you expresses extreme gratitude, humility, understanding.
— Alice Walker

This week, we’re counting our blessings.

We want to instantiate a posture of gratitude into the work that we do here at CtK, so we are coopting the weekly Have A Great Weekend to launch another weekly feature on the blog: On Gratitude.

It might be easier to point out what is wrong in the world. To take aim at the shortcomings and failings that seem to be growing bigger and louder. But we want to live out of a sense of abundance, not scarcity. We want to follow Lori’s example to live as if.

That’s where gratitude comes in. It helps us to see the good in the world, the possibility in each other, and the potentiality in the future. More and more research shows that gratitude improves happiness and has health benefits (check out what the experts have to say here, here, and here, though there were dozens more links we could have added).

We’re kicking it off right now. Here are our CtK thank yous for this week:

Thank you to Chelsea Brewer!

It was her birthday. Instead of asking for gifts for herself, Chelsea asked for gifts in support of CtK. By rallying her community far and wide, she raised over $700 in support of CtK.Campfire! Thank you, Chelsea! We’re so grateful for the support and the new awareness of our important mission.

Chelsea w_ Lori.jpg

Chelsea and Lori

Thank you, Chelsea, for supporting CtK and inspiring others to do the same!

Thank you to Brittany Adams, Sean Carlson, Nick Dawson, Keegan Goudiss, Katie Harbath, Laura Leigh Oyler, Crystal Patterson, Jen Simon, Anton Vuljaj, and Beau Wright!

This exceptional crew spent two days last weekend at CtK HQ working to launch CtK 2.0. They looked at ways to keep Campfire magic going, created an annual Alumni Retreat (Alums: save the date for March!), developed a plan for podcasts, book events, and policy roundtables, and reminded us of the incredible capacity of Campfire Alums. We left the weekend supercharged and excited for the next phase of CtK!

Keep your eye out for the summary of their work, coming to all Campfire Alums next week!

And one last thank you to take you into your weekend…

Thank you to everyone who has come out recently—Lori and Nick even managed to be together on two coasts in two weeks!—to a CtK Happy Hour!

Have A Great Weekend

We head into the weekend of two minds:

Dismayed that the country feels riven in the face of Friday’s cloture and Saturday’s confirmation votes on Judge Kavanaugh and elated that CtK.Campfire Alums are gathering in DC on Friday and Saturday to take CtK’s work to the next level. Maybe the contrast is appropriate, maybe these two days teach us how to hold the tension of the opposites.

So, we’re asking you as loyal antagonists: How are you managing this time? How do you view the world? How are you balancing optimism and cynicism? How are you holding the tension of the opposites?

As always, there is good news in the world.

We’re celebrating the news that National Voter Registration Day was a huge success. Don’t forget: Fourteen states have voter registration deadlines of October 9th—and the rest of the states come up thereafter. Register to vote! Help someone else register. Make a plan to get to the polls and make sure to get your friends to vote, too.

Congratulations and thank you to CtK.Campfire Alums who continue to make a difference in the world:

We always want to highlight the work of CtK.Campfire Alums; please let us know about your recent successes and adventures so we can share them with the broader Karass!

As we head into the weekend, we hope you find time to reflect, rest, replenish, and raise your voice. Our republic is counting on the active and positive engagement of each of us. Thank you for doing your part and for taking up the important work of cultivating the karass.

Have A Great Weekend

This week, it seemed like empathy might be in short supply. But we continued to look for signs of grace in a heavy world and recommitted ourselves to loyal antagonism, challenging as it sometimes is.

We found examples of transpartisan collaboration nearly everywhere on Tuesday as people rallied for National Voter Registration Day.

On Wednesday, West Wingers hit bookstores. CtK.Campfire Alums Heather Foster and Julie Rodriguez had their essays featured among those from 18 members of the Obama Administration. Added bonus: it was named one of NY Post’s Best Books of the Week!

On Thursday, just as hyperpartisanship seemed to reach peak levels, CtK’ers on the West Coast got a visit from Lori Brewer Collins. New alliances were forged. Old friendships were rekindled. The Campfire burns a little brighter and continues to add members. (Thanks to Sam Corcos for hosting a gathering in San Francisco!)

How do we recap Thursday’s SCOTUS hearings? This blogger spent Friday morning talking to her loyal antagonist, parsing opposing perspectives, and trying to assemble viewpoints from writers across the political spectrum:





There is no question that this week’s hearings left our country feeling more starkly divided than ever — and emotionally raw. We continue to believe that having faith in one another, supporting survivors, and treating all people as fully human are nonpartisan positions. And we head into the weekend looking for equipoise.

equipoise |ˈekwəˌpoiz|
balance of forces or interests

verb [ with obj. ]
balance or counterbalance (something).

ORIGIN mid 17th cent.: from equi-‘equal’ + the noun poise, replacing the phrase equal poise.

Have A Great Weekend

This week, we remembered Jake Brewer and his impact on CtK’s mission, his community, and our democracy. Jake’s mom and CtK’s Founder, Lori Brewer Collins, shared her powerful reflections on how his death has shaped her life.

I live my life 𝑎𝑠 𝑖𝑓 Jake passed a baton to me, 𝑎𝑠 𝑖𝑓, in the form of a post-it note left on his White House computer monitor, he was signaling me to “Cultivate the Karass.”

I live 𝑎𝑠 𝑖𝑓 there’s a purpose to the time I have left, and that I can be instrumental in contributing to his vision for our democracy: that we can genuinely embody transpartisan collaboration. If we choose.

But mostly, I live 𝑎𝑠 𝑖𝑓 he were still here. This gives me strength. And it feeds my hope.
— Lori Brewer Collins

Dear America by CtK Alum Jose Antonio Vargas hit bookshelves this week and included its own lovely remembrance of Jake. “Whenever doubts clouded my mind, Jake was always my first call…He always told me I was enough.”

Read the immigration op-ed Jose authored in this week’s NYT, check out an early review of Dear America, and then catch him on his book tour in a city near you. And join DC area Karassers tonight to support Jose on his DC book tour stop!

Brittany Packnett penned a timely and insightful piece on women and apologies: “The most striking lesson I derived from all of this was a profound life lesson: demand the apologies you deserve.”

CtK Alums Bishop Garrison and Sarah Hunt teamed up for this op-ed about retaining the process for approving wind farms near military bases: “Let’s not also forget that wind energy is a vital economic engine, employing more than 100,000 Americans, and the men and women who serve our country find jobs in wind at a rate 72 percent higher than the average in other industries.”

The Democracy Fund talks about ways that they are empowering religious leaders to overcome paralyzing partisan gridlock and extremist language: “Although some partisanship is to be expected in a democracy, it is also true that civil debate and principled compromise are essential to governing a large, diverse, and complex society like ours.”

As the Carolinas grapple with the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, here are a few ways that you can help:

This weekend, we hope that you will take your cues from Jake and Lori. Shine brightly for the people around you, remind them that they are enough, share your spark with others, and dare to live as if. Have a great weekend! We’ll see you next week.