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Facilitator Preparation Program

The Courage & Renewal Facilitator Preparation Program is a two-year leadership and mentoring program for preparing facilitators to lead retreats and other programs based on the principles & practices of the Circle of Trust® approach. The Center for Courage & Renewal carefully prepares facilitators who have the qualities, capacities and skills required to hold and guide a process that allows people to engage their deepest hopes and fears in a community of shared exploration.

The facilitator’s role in a circle of trust is easily defined: to be first among equals in creating and protecting a space where everyone’s soul can feel safe. But that role is not so easily played. It requires grounding, training, mentoring and experience. Deeper still, a facilitator must understand the solemn responsibility that accompanies a work in which people are invited to make their souls vulnerable and promised that they will be done no harm.

—Parker J. Palmer, A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life

The Center prepares facilitators to do in-depth work with all persons who wish to live and work more wholeheartedly and to act with courage and integrity. We also welcome facilitators who wish to work specifically in serving professions such as education, healthcare, religious life, and non-profit and community leadership.

In addition to planning and facilitating retreats, the facilitator plays a crucial role in introducing and establishing this approach in their community. Once prepared, facilitators find ways to create institutional and/or community partnerships from which to “grow” this work (i.e. they do not “work” for the Center). Thus, being a Courage & Renewal facilitator combines leadership and facilitation with responsibility for program development in the facilitator’s community or profession. Once an individual is accepted into the Facilitator Preparation Program s/he also joins other Circle of Trust facilitators around the U.S., in Canada, Australasia and the United Kingdom, in a network called the Courage Collaboration. The Courage Collaboration is a resource and leadership-rich group that operates as a community of learning and practice with and for each other.

Watch this video to hear Parker Palmer discuss how facilitators offer the gift of safe space and transformation.

Steps To Becoming A Courage & Renewal Facilitator

North American Facilitator Preparation Program Steps

  1. First, have prior experience with Courage & Renewal retreats: We have found that the more personal experience of this approach that a potential facilitator has, the better. Those interested in becoming facilitators will ideally have attended two or more Courage & Renewal retreats, one of which should have included a Clearness Committee. Go to the retreat calendar.
  2. Next, attend a Gateway Retreat for Prospective Courage & Renewal Facilitators: What sets the Gateway Retreat apart from others is the additional focus on learning more about how we prepare facilitators, about the broader work of Courage & Renewal, and an opportunity to discern your own interests around becoming a facilitator. The next Gateway Retreat will be held October 27–30, 2016 near Seattle, WA.

  3. Then, apply for the next Facilitator Preparation Program: Applications for the 2016-17 Facilitator Preparation Program are due by December 4, 2015 (from people who attended a Gateway retreat). Selections made by December 30th. The first retreat will be held at the Spirit of the Desert Retreat Center near Phoenix, AZ from Feb. 17-21, 2016. The second retreat will be held at George Williams College in Williams Bay, WI from May 18-22, 2016.

  4. If selected, the program involves participation in two 5-day facilitator preparation retreats, 1-2 years of mentoring with an experienced facilitator, and participation in an ongoing community of practice with cohort members and mentor facilitators.