Monday, May 14, 2012

Report on Klamath Free School organizational meeting 2

This is a report on the second organizational meeting of the Klamath Free School. Unfortunately, I did not take very good notes -- the discussion was too engaging for me to be sufficiently secretarial.... If other people who were there remember something I missed or I am mis-remembering something, please let me know.

This email is long, but I want to let everyone know where we are. The people at the meeting thought it would be a good idea to start a separate email group for just the Free School. We would still keep the Occupy Klamath group updated as to general goings-on, but not bog down this list with the details. If you haven’t been to a Free School meeting, but would like to receive the more detailed Free School messages, send an email to and I will add you to the list.

We decided to do the kick-off event on the afternoon of Saturday, June 16th at Green Way on East Main (maybe starting around 4 and continuing for a couple of hours). The idea is a sort of fair with some food, learning, and community-building.  We will hand out the first Free School calendar (covering the subsequent three weeks), and encourage people to come up with ideas for classes they can lead or would like to take.  To show what the Free School is about, we will have a few ‘learning stations.’  Ed S. has volunteered to demonstrate how to make your own books (actual books -- literally self-publishing!), and I am hoping Tom F. will be available to teach some knot-tying. We can also have a demonstration of solar oven cooking, and how to make your own all-purpose cleaner. I am thinking I could set up a demonstration of a free computer operating system (Linux-based) that is easy to use and provides access to free software to do most things most of us use our computers to so (get off the grid of corporate computing!). If you have some skill or knowledge or do-it-yourself demonstration you could do as a ‘learning station,’ let us know!  And even if you can’t think of anything, please put Saturday afternoon, June 16, on your calendar to come support the Klamath Free School and have some fun. (It just occurred to me that June 16 is Bloomsday for James Joyce fans -- the day the novel Ulysses takes place -- maybe we could have a reading... Any takers?)  We will plan on having some snacks and drinks, hopefully locally made (for instance, I can bring a couple of growlers of Klamath Basin Brewing beer).  It should be a fun afternoon and we hope you all will come out and be a part of it.

We also need to start filling in the Free School calendar for the three weeks that begin on June 17, June 24, and July 1. We thought we would do a movie night on Saturdays which could alternate between “Documentaries for Democracy” and (something like) “Film School Night,” with art house-type movies that we don't get much of here in Klamath. We can probably fit about 12 seated people in the open part of Green Way and place the tv/monitor on the counter. If you have access to a good documentary or movie and would like to ‘host’ one of these nights any time this summer, let us know which Saturday you would like to do it. (If you’re interested in documentaries, check out -- it will be a great resource for us! [Thanks for pointing it out, Brent B.] We also foresee getting movies from the Library.)

In order to look semi-significant I think that in addition to the Saturday movie night we should have something on at least Wednesday and Thursday evenings of the first three weeks, with the possible exception of Wed. July 4. (It won’t be surprising if very few people show up to our early events, but that’s okay -- as was emphasized at the ROP Caucus, we have to be in things for the long haul if we want to create a better society -- it takes time.) We can definitely fill those evenings with politics-type teach-ins/discussions or ‘reading groups’ (and if you have an idea for any of those, let us know!), but it would be good to have a variety of class types.
------> Now is the time to start coming up with things you can do -- skills you can share with community members! <----- If we don’t do it, it won’t happen!
Whether it is a one-time thing (as many will be), or would be good for a weekly, bi-weekly or even irregular class, we can find a way to schedule it.  We can use the Green Way space on evenings other than Wed. and Thurs., and Saturday afternoons as well. If you know of other places where we can do things, let us know. During the nice weather, outside is a possibility. Using public spaces is a good “free” thing! Also, these classes can be very informal and/or brief. If it only takes 20 minutes to demonstrate something, that’s fine!

So please let us know what you want to do, whether it’s for the initial schedule or later in the summer. You can send emails to: .
Once we have a schedule, we will create a calendar and distribute copies throughout town. (Ideas and help with distribution will be greatly appreciated!) Alicia M. is pretty sure she can get some publicity through the Herald and News.  On the days of events we can probably get in the “What to Do” section of the paper. And Kirk and Ed will most likely be amenable to talking about the school on their radio show (“42” -- Wednesdays 2 to 4 on KTEC 89.5 FM). What else?

At the previous meeting we talked about having a booth at the Farmer’s Market to publicize the Free School. This time, we agreed the best way to do so at this point is to take up the offer of the Market to help staff the Farmer’s Market booth (maybe once every three or four weeks, depending on who is interested in helping) and promote the School from there. I have to check with Charlie to make sure the offer stands and that we can have a clear Free School presence there (e.g., a sign). Ideally there would be enough room at least once in a while to have someone doing a demonstration of some skill... Like … what?

Carol I. suggested we look into having a table or presence at Third Thursday. She will check with the organizers and see about that possibility. Ed S. thought maybe a business along Main Street would let us set up in front of their storefront. Any thoughts?

We should schedule another meeting to start the final push leading up the kick-off day and think about publicity. What works better for people -- Thursday May 31 or Friday June 1? After work time seems to be best for the most people, so around 5:30 or 6? Later?  As to location, inside at Gino’s is kind of dark. We can assume the weather will be nice enough to sit outside there (they have a really nice patio), or we can pick a different place -- any ideas? (Somewhere with beer and wine would be my preference...) In my opinion the first two meetings have been fun and engaging -- not the typical, slightly soul-killing organizational meeting -- so come out and join us! I will send out the final details of when and where to the Occupy Klamath list sometime next week. And, again, if you want to be on the Free School-specific list send an email to .

It’s kind of a cliche, but it’s also true -- we have to be the community we want to live in -- it’s up to us!

-- Art

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