2017 Year-End Report

This year, over 1000 movement leaders stepped across our threshold and gave us the honor of nourishing their bodies, minds and souls.

Watershed’s commitment to centering care in our movement work has made us a home that groups return to year after year. From our fresh baked bread and homemade soups, to the glow of our campfire, Watershed provides a warmth that both feeds and ignites.

“Watershed has become a home for me and the movements I’m a part of. It is a movement home where I’ve crossed paths with and learned from other movements I never would have otherwise.” – Maria Fernando Cabello, Cosecha Harvest Movement

Movement Ecology Institute 2017

Beyond the day to day work of hosting retreats and programs, we are stepping more fully into our role as a center for social movements. We are doing this by cultivating deep roots in this land and our region, holding a long view for our work towards collective liberation, and building a solid organization grounded in our values to carry out this vision and support our network of relationships.
Deepening into Our Hosting Practice

Our practice of hosting and welcoming movement groups is the heart of our work. It is an expression of our central value: reclaiming connection, support, and care as crucial elements in creating the world we want to see. Each year, we deepen into this practice. And each year, we work to more meaningfully invite our guests into connection with the land, themselves, and each other.

And when our movement kin come back year after year, it makes this mission come alive. This year, we had over 20 groups return to Watershed.

We hear and witness how returning guests settle into relationship with this land and into a more grounded, whole way of being while here, which transforms the work they are able to get done during their time with us.

Make the Road NY, Community Voices Heard, Movimiento Cosecha, The Audre Lorde Project, The Brotherhood SisterSol, Practicing Justice, Movement Net Lab, the Environmental Leadership Program, and the Working World Peer Network are just a few of the groups we feel honored to host again and again.

“When I went to the Bertha House at Watershed for the first time, I remember being at the top of the hill, being able to see over the whole landscape and the whole horizon, and that’s what it felt like for the rest of the retreat: that we could take a big step back from our organizing and look over the landscape of what we were doing. When I come to Watershed I have space enough to breathe, and to feel like bigger things are possible than what I’m zoomed into all the time.”
– Cicia Lee, Momentum

Piloting Models of Accessibility

2017 marked the advent of the Bertha School of Activism Fund. In partnership with the Bertha Foundation, we kicked the year off with a Direct Action Training for Trainers held by the creative direct action legends, Beautiful Trouble, followed by Momentum’s Movement Ecology Gathering to build synergy across diverse movement strategies. This summer, we had the rare opportunity to host Mestre Lua, a revered Capoeira Angola master from Bahia, Brazil, who led a workshop on embodied resistance. We were also honored to host Beyond the Choir’s Veteran Organizing Institute, Black Momentum, Make the Road NY, the UndocuBlack Network, and Leftroots at a subsidized rate.

Through this new initiative, we have been able to serve as a hub for many of the most innovative frontline movement educators, hosting 10 Bertha School of Activism groups this year.
Our hope is to build capacity and partnerships to offer critical and innovative frontline groups more opportunities to dive deeply into their work at Watershed.

“The Watershed Center is Movement NetLab’s continued go-to place to dream and scheme… It’s a great communal space and place that promotes and supports groups like ours to take their labor of love, self-determination, and justice to the next level.”
– Allen Kwabena Frimpong, Movement Net Labs

Investing in Our Partnerships & Our Region

This year, we added Columbia County Sanctuary Movement, Schaghticoke First Nations, Beacon SURJ, and Ulster County Immigrant Defense Network to the community of local groups that we provide with fiscal sponsorship, trainings, and / or facilitation. Additionally, we ran leadership and storytelling programs for local young people, participatory activist trainings in Hudson and Beacon, and a social theory and strategic visioning class for The Good Work Institute, among other initiatives to deepen our offer to the communities in which we are based.

We are also grateful to have deepened into partnership with Relational Uprising this year, a training and coaching project that supports movement builders to weave interdependence, empathy, and relational culture into their work as a foundation for social change. This year, we hosted four Relational Training Programs at Watershed and are witness to the impact this modality has had on critical movement relationships all over the country.

Along with our most immediate partners on this land — Rock Steady Farm & Flowers, Wildseed Healing Village, and Linke Fligl Chicken & Egg Farm — we celebrated the fall harvest with a 350-person greenhouse party and celebration of the community of projects we are building.

In collaboration with our partners, we hope to expand our programs and facilitation services, and weave together a vision for a just, ecological and enlivened Hudson Valley.

And last but never least, this year we have continued to nurture and develop our collective governance structures, build our kitchen systems, launch our development committee, bring on new staff, and build our organizational capacity to do our work. We’ve been hustling to keep up with our packed retreat calendar!

Visioning for the Future

We are so excited to step into 2018. On our horizon for the coming year: growing into our stewardship of this land; building out more of our regional programming & resourcing; continuing to strengthen our foundations as an organization; and always — deepening our ability to welcome those fighting for transformation and justice.

Thank you for being a part of the Watershed Community. We hope to see you in 2018!

Support Our Vision

If you would like to invest in this vision with us, we invite you to join our Monthly Sustainer Program. Your support allows us to grow the work of our center and partnerships, to ensure that we will be accessible to frontline groups for years to come, and able to support the brilliant organizers that are working tirelessly to build a better future for us all.

More from Audrey Irvine-Broque

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