After a great day building forts, we returned to Spark Box Studios to prepare for the second workshop of the weekend: Campfire Stories. The aim of the campfire was to share stories about our physical spaces in hopes of getting participants to think about how our environments shape our lives. With the theme of playfulness at the forefront of this workshop, we organized a number of campfire activities, coupled with cider and smores (courtesy of Mary Suddick).
1. Broken Telephone - Icebreaker
We began with this icebreaker game to get people comfortable and create a fun atmosphere for the evening which worked - We laughed a lot!
2. Oh the Places we’ve been
Building on the idea of broken telephone, we split into groups of 2-3 and each told ‘our life stories through place’, picking two to three places that have shaped who we are. Once we shared within our smaller groups, our partners retold the stories aloud to the campfire, trying to remember all the details. We learned about participants’ childhood memories of their homes, wild hitchhiking adventures across Canada and the US, special places that created bonds with their families as well as theoretical, existential spaces that shaped participants’ lives. A mother and daughter were present at the campfire and without knowing, both told their stories about growing up on a farm just outside of PEC. The daughter shared that she would visit her grandparents at the farm and remembered a sense of freedom upon arrival. The mother, who grew up on the farm, had a different experience. She discussed her work ethic and the responsibility that came with living on a farm - from feeding the cows to driving the tractor at the age of 6. The diversity of the places discussed and the different ways we experience similar environments became evident through this storytelling process.
3. The Tale of… Sharing local legends of place
The third and final activity, The Tale Of, asked participants to share any local legends of PEC.The Marysburgh Vortex was the obvious story, with participants sharing their different versions of how Canada’s Bermuda Triangle came to be and how the magnetic force affects their lives in the County.
The playful night of storytelling and smores enabled participants to have intentional conversations about how our physical environments shape us. Instead of thinking of place as an afterthought or focusing on a specific County issue through a public consultation process, the informal, fun, creative and also intentional context allowed participants to freely explore our connections to place.