Campfire Testimonials

The exchange shared at CtK Campfire provided an opportunity for personal introspection and growth as well as partnership for the future. In a time of American tribalism and partisanship people of diverse backgrounds with unique perspectives came together and learned that while their American experiences were different, their goals were the same: A More Perfect Union.
— Campfire Fellow, Cohort V
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Campfire Testimonials

One of the most incredible and truly unique things about CTK Campfire was that it wasn’t just another “common ground” or squishy middle gathering. We have enough of those in my opinion and I question their efficacy. This, in contrast, was a place for robust disagreement. To stand where you stand, on principle, to be heard, to listen and then to figure out how, in that tension, to still be friends. And that’s exactly what happened.
— Campfire Fellow, Cohort V
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How does social isolation fit into the national equation?

Campfire Fellows demonstrated an acute awareness of the prevalence and impact of social isolation and loneliness in our country today. This growing phenomenon factors into their thinking about how to elevate dialogue and deepen civic engagement. They recognize that reducing isolation and loneliness might be a key component of maintaining a strong democracy - even if it isn’t the first thing to come to mind when we assess the national equation and our increasingly polarized discourse.

This is a timely topic.

New research - Generation Z is stressed, depressed and exam-obsessed - shows that Gen Z is extremely affected by the loneliness we discussed. Courtesy of The Economist, here is a chart:

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The Economist has written about this before: Teenagers are better behaved and less hedonistic nowadays: But they are also lonelier and more isolated.

Additional research - out of the University of Minnesota School of Public Health - looks at the issue as a public health crisis: Rates of Social Isolation Vary by Rurality and Demographics. “Social isolation needs to be examined across a range of subjective and objective traits and experiences. No one measure can capture the full extent of social participation or isolation,” writes Assistant Professor and deputy director of the School of Public Health’s Rural Health Research Center Carrie Henning-Smith.

How do we address the growing tide of loneliness and isolation plaguing our nation? Especially since we’re now at risk of passing it from generation to generation? How can CtK’s mission continue to bring people together and build ties that bind?

We want to know what you think.

Have A Great Weekend!

CtK.Leadership Academy is coming up on May 9-10 in DC!

This workshop is fine tuned to take advantage of the unique insights that vertical development provides. It is also specifically designed to enhance your leadership capabilities in the volatile, uncertain, (sometimes) chaotic, and (often) ambiguous situations that today’s leaders encounter regularly. Deepen your self-awareness, sustain your learning, and turn insights into action.

Find out how we can help enhance your leadership skills and build the capacity of your team. Register today!

Register today! Visit  www.cultivatethekarass.org/register .

CtK.Campfire Testimonials keep rolling in from our Campfire Fellows!

In the hectic and noisy world of politics and policymaking, the CtK.Campfire experience provides a refreshingly quiet space to hear the perspective of others. The disarming space that is created allows for partisan armor to be taken off and for emerging leaders to have frank and open discussions about shared values and principles.
— Campfire Fellow, Cohort V
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We’ll be back next week with our weekly alumni updates! In the meantime, congrats to Jose Antonio Vargas who became a Broadway Producer this week! Have a great weekend.

Campfire Testimonials

As much as I have friends who are on radically opposing wavelengths of the political spectrum from my conservative stances, it was really helpful to have a platform where it was understood that we were all there to civilly engage on policy issues. One of my favorite moments of the weekend was having a one-on-one session with a CtK participant so progressive he didn’t think Bernie Sanders went far enough in 2016, and realizing that we agreed on overall principles of what we wanted to see happen for our country about 90% of the time.
— Campfire Fellow, Cohort V
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Have A Great Weekend.

Campfire Fellows, Cohort V! We spent an extraordinary weekend in the snowy Maryland woods with the newest Campfire Fellows. Thanks to the latest Fellows for taking the leap and for summing up so beautifully what Campfire is and means.

It’s a powerful experience. Difficult to put into words. Hard to live out in the real world. But CtK provides the spark that makes the fire of pluralistic, robust, peaceful democracy possible. I’m deeply grateful I got to be a part, and am now a part for life.

Campfire Alums and their expanding families: Nu Wexler had a baby! Sara El-Amine had a baby! Congratulations to both of them and their families, and welcome to the newest members of the Karass!

Campfire Alum Bishop Garrison got a new gig! Bishop was named the the Director of National Security Outreach for Human Rights First. As the Director of National Security Outreach, Bishop Garrison is Human Rights First’s chief ambassador to the national security community. He leads Human Rights First’s efforts to build partnerships with members of the military and national security communities as well as national security-focused think tanks and research institutions. He also leads the project, Veterans for American Ideals, a nonpartisan movement of military veterans who advocate American leadership on human rights. Congratulations to Bishop and Human Rights First!

Great writing about the future of work from Campfire Alum Sara Holoubek on Upskilling & Reskilling America. “The speed at which jobs are changing — sometimes due to automation, sometimes due to new business models — means that we must constantly learn new skills. A number of converging factors are making it difficult for linear education models and traditional career paths to satisfy the rapidly evolving demands of modern workplaces.”

Campfire Alum Emily Holden, writing in The Guardian, tackles health issues related to climate change in her latest reporting: Mosquito-spread diseases may endanger millions in new places due to climate change. “Half a billion more people could be at risk from mosquito-transmitted diseases within 30 years as a result of the warming climate, according to a new study … The study, published in the journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, finds that humans could prevent the spread of disease-carrying mosquitoes if they aggressively take actions to combat global warming.”

On a totally unrelated note, influential French artist Agnes Varda has died at age 90. She blazed trails and took no prisoners. "Women are not a minority in the world, and yet our industry says the opposite. The stairs of our industry must be accessible to all. Let's climb," she said. If you haven’t watched Faces/Places, the documentary where she and the artist JR drive all over France making art and friends, do yourself a favor and watch it this weekend. Or today. Or stop reading and go watch it right now.

Have a great weekend!

Testimonial: Campfire Fellow, Cohort V

As much as I have friends who are on radically opposing wavelengths of the political spectrum from my conservative stances, it was really helpful to have a platform where it was understood that we were all there to civilly engage on policy issues. One of my favorite moments of the weekend was having a one-on-one session with a CtK participant so progressive he didn’t think Bernie Sanders went far enough in 2016, and realizing that we agreed on overall principles of what we wanted to see happen for our country about 90% of the time.
— Campfire Fellow, Cohort V

Reading Recommendations: Campfire Fellows from Cohort V Weigh In

The latest Campfire Fellows created quite a reading list before leaving Savage River Lodge. We’re pleased to share their list:

  • What You are Getting Wrong About Appalachia by Elizabeth Catte

  • The American Way of Poverty: How the Other Half Still Lives by Sasha Abramsky

  • How The Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York by Jacob A. Riis

  • The People of the Abyss by Jack London

  • Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right by Arlie Russell Hochschild

  • Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty by Abhijit Banarjee and Esther Duflo

  • Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America by Mary Otto

  • Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America by Beth Macy

  • Love Your Enemies: How Decent People can Save America from the Culture of Contempt by Arthur C. Brooks

  • The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt and the Golden Age of Journalism by Doris Kearns Goodwin

  • Leadership in Turbulent Times by Doris Kearns Goodwin

  • Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah Harari

  • Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

  • Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein

  • Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall by Anna Funder

  • Alienated America: Why Some Places Thrive While Others Collapse by Timothy P. Carney

  • The Fabric of Character: A Wise Giver’s Guide to Supporting Social and Moral Renewal by Anne Snyder

  • Community: The Structure of Belonging by Peter Block

  • Seven Types of Atheism by John Gray

  • The Happiness Advantage: How a Positive Brain Fuels Success in Work and Life by Shawn Achor

  • Great Revolt: Inside the Populist Coalition Reshaping American Politics by Salena Zito and Brad Todd

Robert D. Putnam        

  • Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis

  • Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community

  • American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us

  • Better Together: Restoring the American Community

 Jonathan Haidt            

  • The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting up a Generation for Failure          

  • The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom

  • The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion