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Giving Light in the Washington DC Area
At the end of 2011, the Washington DC center began systematizing and formalizing its protocol for giving Light at fairs, festivals, markets, and other expansion activities. Before then, we had very little formal or written guidance about this, even though our center has been participating in these events for decades.
Using guidance from the North American regional headquarters and tapping the experience of many of our members, we wrote instructions on how to conduct our operations at these events. These protocols have made it easier for us to be invited to events, interact with event organizers, and train our members in giving Light to visitors at these events.
We also segmented and organized the responsibilities of conducting these events, so that we could distribute them to multiple individuals instead of just one. Previously, it was typical that for each event one person would arrange with the event organizer for our space at the event; pay for the space; advertise the event to the members; create and post a sign-up sheet at the center; and arrange transportation for our signs, chairs, table, written materials, and a tent. Only a couple of people at our center could handle all these tasks, and no one could handle more than a few fairs a year.
Now we have someone in charge of coordinating these responsibilities among several members. This has made it easier to participate at these events, since more members are involved in organizing them.
We have also been collecting information on close to two hundred fairs, festivals, and markets in our area. We have been choosing which ones to participate at based on which ones are more suited to our needs. The criteria we look at include the following: the proximity of the event to our center or to one of our open houses, the cost to participate, the open-mindedness of the audience, and the size of the audience.
Unlike before, we are now asking for email addresses and other contact information from the people to whom we give Light. We send them notices about events at the center and make sure they know about open houses near them.
Because of these changes, we have more than quadrupled our expansion activities and improved their quality. We have also noticed that more event organizers are inviting us to events even before we solicit these organizers. We are noticing that these changes to also result in more new members.
We are happy to share our experiences in conducting these events with other centers.
Below is information on many of our 2012 expansion activities.
Every week, members have been giving Light to the White House.
On January 7, we gave Light to five people at the art center owned by the Emergence Community Art Cooperative in Washington DC. .
On January 13, our director gave a presentation to 22 guests at an open house at our center. Two subsequently signed up for the spiritual development course.
On January 21, we gave Light to about 10 people at the Mind, Body, and Spirit Fair at Cecil County Community College in Elkton, Maryland.
On February 27, our director gave a presentation to 23 guests at an open house that one of our members hosted at her home in Bethesda, Maryland. Three people signed up for the spiritual development course.
On March 6, the director of the New York center gave a study class to about15 guests at our center.
On May 5, we gave Light to about 20 people at the Spoutwood Farm Faerie Festival in Pierceville, Pennsylvania. On May 6, we gave Light to about 17 people at the same festival.
On May 11, we gave Light to about 6 people at the Maryland Faerie Festival in Darlington, Maryland.
On May 12, we gave Light to 3 people at the same festival, and on May 13, we gave Light to about 24 people at the same festival.
On May 12, we gave Light to about 38 people at the Greenman Festival in Greenbelt, Maryland. On May 13, we gave Light to about 20 people at the same festival.
On May 12, we also gave Light to about 31 people at the Ballston Arts and Craft Market in Ballston, Maryland. The festival organizer posted a picture of us and a nice article about our activity on the market's website. You can read the article at http://ballstonarts-craftsmarket.blogspot.com/2012/05/sukyo-mahikari-spreading-positive.html.
The weekend of May 11-13 was the busiest weekend our center has had in outreach. We gave Light to a total of 122 people at six all-day festivals.
On May 19, we gave Light to about 4 people at the Fibromyalgia Walk near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
On May 24, our director gave a presentation to 7 guests at an open house that one of our members hosted at her home in Kensington, Maryland.
On June 9, we gave Light to about 8 people at the Mount Pleasant Farmers' Market in Washington DC.
On June 9, we gave Light to 22 people at the Ballston Arts and Craft Market in Ballston, Maryland.
And on Saturday, June 23, we gave light to 23 people at the University of the District of Columbia's Farmers' Market and 117 people at Karma Fest in Cockeysville, Maryland, on Sunday, June 24. That is 140 in one weekend which is a record for our center.


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