On 11, 12, and 13 November, 1994, ON THE COMMON GROUND hosted the Fifth Annual Wingspan National Leadership Conference here in New York. Ninety seven men from two provinces of Canada and 25 US States, including Georgia, California, Washington, Texas, and Maine, attended.
To preserve the Conference's national character, our strict rule was "that OTCG could not flood it with local men." So, we couldn't announce it here in our mailing. And for most of our community, I'm obliged to report this wonderful event after the fact.
This year's theme was "How Is My Personal Story a Gift For All Men?" As in previous years, this Conference was anything but bureaucratic. All of the men I spoke with talked of how moved they were by events and by other men and their feelings.
Among the strongest events was a panel where Joseph Jastrab, Roy Schenk, Tom Daly, and Jed Diamond responded personally to the theme's question. We offered what I thought was a very powerful sample of our Pathways Meeting. And, editor, Chris Harding and new publisher, Steve Downey announced the revival of the new Wingspan.
When Chris Harding and I first discussed doing the Conference, in February '94, we fantasized about the wild success of having 100 men attend. We both agreed that was probably beyond our reach.
The 97 men who attended proved us wrong! -- and they came on a weekend when four other major men's conferences were happening around the country!
Several important lessons came clear to me out of the experience of this year's Wingspan Conference. I am alive in at least three senses:
First, all of us men knew we had to be there -- not for the media, or curiosity -- but for ourselves. We know we will not live without it. And each man there arrived as the "expert" of his own story. Each of us is therefore empowered to be a leader in Men's Work because my own life, as it really is, is the true source of what I may do for my brothers.
Second, the Men's Movement is truly alive in a deep, powerful place of germination -- the soul place from which the real miracles for men and for all society will come. The media (thank heaven) have turned their attentions elsewhere. The merely curious are gone. Yet, around the country, hundreds of men with that feeling inside them, were attending men's conferences.
Third, Wingspan, the newspaper is back, available once more to let us know all this is going on.
All this is good to see.
Wingspan Conference Map: MOCG's response to all those other puffed up workshops
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