This year for my birthday I did more than I have ever done.  It was quite a feat for me to organize all of my networks and “IOU’s” to culminate in a one day celebration of life and prosperity.  On July 5th, I did more than celebrate the day I entered the world;  I shared my love for a grassroots organization with my family, friends, and most importantly, my city.  To inspire the community I owe so much too, I brought my favorite passion in life home.  Recrear was reaching the completion of its first year and some of the Beta members were in New Orleans to not only launch our first local chapter, but we were raising money for our second signature project, Recrear Participación which would be in the Dominican Republic a week after the celebration.

The event was a success in a multitude of proportions.  I would like to take this moment to extend my deepest personal gratitude to all those who showed up with your love.  The evening was hosted at the beautiful Rusty Nail (don’t let the name fool you) in the Warehouse District.  All the guest were tapping their feet to the musical sounds of Robin Barnes.  And when we got hungry, the party was catered with some of the Potter Family’s secret recipes in addition to the sweet treats baked by Dawn Jefferson.  In addition, I wasn’t the only one who left the party with gifts, as there was a silent auction of framed pictures featuring past Recrear projects and, Recrear raised over $1000 for the Recrear Participación project.

Thanks again to all who attended.  Please view the project summary for more details along with viewing the slideshow.

-Kevin Potter

Many flipcharts later, we concluded our first week of work together in New Orleans with some interesting points in hand (celebrate!).

We brainstormed our goals and strategies for Recrear New Orleans – the next steps will be deciding what programs this chapter will be focusing on, developing job descriptions, and designing a 3 year plan.

Check out our goals:

  • Be action oriented;
  • Foster intercultural dialogue;
  • Promote collaborative exchange.

Our strategies to achieve these goals are:

  • Partner with the University of New Orleans to develop Regional Leadership Institute training sessions;
  • Develop collaborative training workshops;
  • Create a strategic network of regional partners;
  • Build, maintain and track stakeholder relations;
  • Increase Recrear’s influence through social media;
  • Provide opportunity for regional project development.

We look forward to your comments and ideas and happy 4th of July!

– Gioel

Being a part of the planning committee for Recrear New Orleans for the past week has been an amazing experience. Right now, I am really excited to see what direction we take our chapter in, and how that can benefit Recrear International as a whole. And I think what I love the most is that I am a part of deciding that direction. I feel a real ownership to this New Orleans chapter, and in the long run I think that is what is really going to make us really successful. I love the energy and excitement in all the meetings that we have been having every night. I leave feeling like I am part of creating something that is going to be bigger than just me and my community, and that is really an amazing feeling. I know that we have SO MUCH work to do, and it is a bit intimidating to be honest. But I know that we have a great group of people working together right now to make it work. We are all really dedicated to making sure this is successful, and I know that it will be.

-Emily Bruner

So much has happened in the past few days here in New Orleans for RecrearParticipate! We are continually striving to address all of the items on our agenda while reaching the goals which we have set for the conference. Yesterday, we broke off into several groups in order to individually address the strategies of Recrear’s role in New Orleans. We had a little time to network last night during dinner at a church on campus. They graciously gave us a free meal and through that we were presented with the golden opportunity to share with others who it is that we are and what we’re all about. While at dinner, I did find out that you can add fruit juice to sherbet in order to make a delicious blend of fruity goodness 😉

Today, we took the time to piece these strategies together into one master plan by connecting the dots between them in order to form one all-inclusive strategy for the program to implement. It’s amazing how this is all coming together. Everyone here is so passionate about this organization taking off in New Orleans. We feed off of the many ideas presented on the table in order to create a massive cloud of brainstorming and ideas which stem from that. Flip charts have never been so important! There are pieces of flipchart paper littered about the room with all of our plans and brainstorming written in a kaleidoscope of scented marker covering them.

Of course there are a couple of bumps and hiccups along the way but everyone is remaining in positive spirits. We are organizing two fundraisers which will allow the staff members to present our workshop to partners in the Dominican Republic in about a week and a half. Everyone is committed to a $100 contribution to the fundraising effort. Fundraising is always a nail biting aspect of this type of work but we stand with fists held high and excited about the outcome.

We are almost one week into this with one week left to go. I am amazed about what we have accomplished thus far and what we will still be able to accomplish within the week to come! Onward and upward from here on out!!

-James Smith

Building a local chapter – a new initiative for Recrear but although the large task ahead of us there is certainly excitement in the air. After four days of having met and strategized with a group of students from the University of New Orleans, I have been impressed to see what we have come up with so far. We aim to “be action oriented, foster intercultural dialogue and promote collaborative exchange”. The more we hash out the strategies the more I realize just how much this chapter could have an influence on this community and the region. The group is a truly engaging one to work with as there are no shortage of big thinkers amongst these students. – and big thinking always makes for worthwhile challenges.

I am anxious for our two upcoming fundraisers – both of them opportunities for Recrear to make its introduction into the New Orleans community. Never for a moment has there even been a concern that Recrear would not find a place for itself here. Rather this city is thriving with the potential of partnership and positive forward thinking community development projects. Engaging youth in a way they never saw possible – that’s what we hope to do.

– Kirsten Williams

I have to say, it’s been almost a year since I first started working with Recrear and my heart continues to race  during every moment I spend in this organization.  Right now I have two of my very close colleagues in New Orleans with me as we are designing the guidelines for our first ever local chapter as part of the International organization.   With the help of some amazing and involved student leaders in the New Orleans area, specifically current students and alumni from the University of New Orleans, I am witnesing tremendous strides in the goals and strategies needed for a local chapter.

What I see as making this unique opportunity so much fun is knowing that after we are done setting up our own chapter in New Orleans, our process will then go on to the international conference that is being held in Ottawa this year for the organization to develop concrete criteria for local chapter development to be used worldwide for Recrear.  So this work here in New Orleans will really have global implications via Recrear and the students we are working with now on the ground will have the chance to help shape a global NGO for a long time to come.

I cannot wait to get into the project development stage next week along with us hosting two fundraisers for RecrearParticipate which will be going on in the Dominican Republic after the New Orleans chapter is launched.  So again, the work we are doing will immediately impact a community very close to New Orleans and give our new chapter members a first hand experience in organizing the community for a great cause.

-Kevin Potter