October 31, 2014

"HUB" and Oak Creek Ranch Model Community Collaboration in a Competitive World

 

NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS COALESCE AROUND THE "HUB OF TOPANGA"

PHOTO BY STACY SLEDGE

"HUB" and Oak Creek Ranch Model Community Collaboration in a Competitive World

(far left) Linda Ilsley and Karen Sherwood, of the Topanga Women’s Circle, were the first to speak of their goals at the May 14 HUB gathering of volunteer organizations.

On May 14, the first meeting of the HUB of Topanga, attended by about 60 leaders and volunteers from Topanga’s many non-profit organizations, presented its own acronym: HOT.

“HOT,” said Town Council President and host of the event, Stacy Sledge, “because it was so darn hot that evening and HOT because Topanga has the hottest volunteers in the country!”

Sledge teamed with Bruce Royer to present the meeting, bringing together Topanga’s many non-profit volunteer organizations because they both saw the need for community leaders to “meet, greet and speak” on a regular basis.

With so many non-profits holding fundraisers and other events, Sledge presented the Town Council’s commuity calendar on OneTopanga.com’s website.

“The advantage,” said Slege, “is that when each organization places all their yearly agendas on OneTopanga’s master calendar, we can minimize conflicts in scheduling events, volunteer solicitations, attendance and fundraising efforts.”

PHOTO BY STACY SLEDGE

"HUB" and Oak Creek Ranch Model Community Collaboration in a Competitive World

Leaders from Topanga’s non-profit organizations at the HUB meeting will coordinate events on OneTopanga.com and consider “cooperative marketing.”

As each group filled in their events and meeting dates, it showed a couple of them had conflicting events in the fall.

“This was a first step to get everyone using the calendar,” said Royer. “There was a lot of positive response and they are using it. The groups seem to be so segregated. In future meetings, we can focus on the potential of how we can collaborate and support each other.”

The next meeting is scheduled for November 5. “That’s when we will look into the future,” Royer said. “People can wrap up 2014 and project into 2015 when many organizations will be changing leadership. We can set another meeting in March or April 2015, once the new people have settled in.”

“It was, indeed, a great experience to bring all the Topanga organization leaders together at one time and one place so they could better understand each other's respective goals and yearly agendas,” said Sledge.

“As each organization shared information about their own group's goals and events,” she continued, “many realized they had common interests where they could support each other.”

Connie Najah of the Topanga Wildlife Youth Project (TWYP) spoke of their new brochure created by volunteers and kids, showing how rodenticides create a chain of death in our local animal kingdom. It is available from the Topanga Creek Watershed Committee and is posted on OneTopanga.com.

TWYP and the Resource Conservation District of the Santa Monica Mountains (RCDSMM) are now working with the Town Council to locate an owl (or other animal) nest and set up a camera to create a live “owl cam” on OneTopanga.com to futher educate people not to use poisons in Topanga.

Jane Donaldson of City Hearts announced they have a newly formed, Youth Board and are beginning preparations for their Third Annual Fresh Focus Photography Event in October. They, along with Sew Topanga, found a common interest with the Town Council by making custom burlap bags for the Chamber of Commerce Welcome Baskets, the first 20 of which were recently distributed to new Canyon residents.

The North Topanga Canyon Fire Safe Committee (NTCFSC) spoke of their tree project along Topanga Canyon Boulevard and will also be on the lookout for a possible nest location for the live animal cam. Bruce Royer, Executive Producer of the upcoming Topanga Film Festival, July 17-20, and offered cooperative marketing possibilites with other organizations during the festival. Many other organizations are now talking about how they can assist each other. The Nov. 5 meeting will address co-sponsoring, collaborative events and cooperative marketing. If anyone wants to add a topic to the agenda, contact Stacy Sledge at contact@towncouncil.org

There are currently more than two dozen local groups with hundreds of volunteers that have created special programs and projects to compliment or add to Los Angeles County's efforts to serve the Topanga community.

The spectrum is broad including interests in: emergency preparedness, wildlife protection, environment preservation, domestic animal rescue, schools and education, parks and nature activities, business and economy interests, political and religious interests, music and art expression, residents, veterans, seniors, neighborhoods, and our youth. The recenlty updated OneTopanga.com is considered a HUB vehicle for all Topangans to use and welcomes calendar and article submissions from those serving Topanga.

At meeting’s end, Sledge thanked everyone for attending, saying, “Our town is far better off for all the hard work each volunteer gives.”

OAK CREEK RANCH HOSTS FIRST COLLABORATIVE WELLNESS EVENT

PHOTO COURTESY OF OAK CREEK RANCH TOPANGA

"HUB" and Oak Creek Ranch Model Community Collaboration in a Competitive World

CollaborativeWellness workshops at Oak Creek Ranch might combine Yoga classes with acupuncture and Aromatherapy.

With an inspired and charitable plan in mind, Yorit and Doron Tal hosted a Collaborative Wellness event on May 3, at their home, Oak Creek Ranch, surrounded by ancient oak trees and overlooking Ed Edelman Park.

Their vision was to invite leaders and professionals from all the wellness fields to introduce themselves, network and collaborate on future workshops in order to create a greater community.

Among the 42 attendees (there were 18 who couldn’t attend) were Life Coaches, Reiki Healers, Massage Therapists, Meditation Specialists, Art Therapists, Herbalists, Hypnotherapists, Nutritionists, Numerologists, Fitness Instructors, Doulas, Health Coaches, Sound Healers, Therapists, Yoga Instructors, Acupuncturists, Intuitives, Aroma Therapists, Reflexologists, Writers, book publishers and many more who enjoyed the complimentary day of connecting and expanding their horizons.

“This is a dream come true, a vision we had,” said Yorit, before introducing her daughter, Leeeron Dvir, who handles Public Relations, and Orly Barad, Director of Events.

“For healers there aren’t the spaces to do workshops,” Yorit continued. “You want to help people and can’t afford it. Here, you can celebrate with others and share the rental cost of the space.”

The space is a large room that serves as a gallery to display Yorit’s art. It opens onto a large patio, a sunken garden with seating and steps and paths that lead to the creek far below. The view seems endless.

It took time for everyone, some from Topanga, others from far-flung outreaches, to introduce themselves and give a summary of their area of expertise, but no one was watching the clock.

They were listening raptly and learning who would resonate with their modality to share a workshop.

Competition wasn’t even in the mix and that was the point.

“I am an artist. I do art shows and teach,” said Yorit. “I don’t feel competition with other artists; I always invite more artists. They invite their people and I invite my people. No competition. The idea is to get to know each other and benefit from each other.”

The couple bought the house from Disney and named it after their vineyard in Paso Robles. It had remained empty for seven years and took a lot of TLC to restore and remodel it. They live in half of it, designated a room for Yorit’s studio and thought renting the rest of the space for workshops and retreats was a good idea.

That idea went beyond just making a profit. They decided that they would donate all profits from each event to a charity of choice. For example, income from a Mothers’ Retreat on May 17 went to an autism charity.

“We are comfortably well off and the idea of donating the rental profits is our way of giving back in the world,” said Doron as we looked out at the amenities that nature provided around, above and below us.

“There are trails that go down to the creek and eventually lead into the park,” he said. Doron would later lead a brief tour for those who, unlike some of us, were wearing appropriate shoes.

“Our goal is to create a strong and connected wellness community; this is how we can really impact and heal the world,” Yorit told the group. “There is no competition in wellness; we all have the same goal: to make this world a better place.”

This was their first year hosting The Collaborative Wellness Event and they hope to continue it annually serving the greater community as a spiritual and wellness hub.”

About Oak Creek Ranch Topanga—Oak Creek Ranch Topanga is a private property located in Topanga Canyon, surrounded by the Santa Monica Mountains and intertwined with the enormous beauty of nature.

Owners ­­Yorit and Doron Tal believe in giving back to the universe by sharing their serene and healing space with the wellness community.

Inviting wellness teachers and leaders to host spiritual workshops, retreats and seminars since 2011, their mission is to become a spiritual and arts center in Topanga Canyon.

We are happy to set up private site tours and share available calendar dates.

For more information, (310) 752-6154; or www.oakcreekranchtopanga.com.