Thursday, April 12, 2012
Thanktuary is a project with the end goal of establishing an eco-resort.
To learn more about Thanktuary, follow the navigation links to the right of the page under Blog Archive.
Posts are listed chronologically, with the earliest posts at the bottom of the blog, and it might make more sense if you read it backwards, starting with February 2012.
Most of all, enjoy!
Friday, February 24, 2012
Project Timeline and Action Plan:
The project is a nine year Multi-phase Project beginning January 2010 and to be effective by December 2017.
In year 1: The leadership team is formed and trained, funding is raised and land acquired.
In year 2: The land is rented cheaply for a cash crop and infrastructure is planned, funds are raised and hospitality opens.
In year 3: Hospitality expands and core, permanent programming is planned and implemented; infrastructure expands.
In year 4: Cash crop contract ends, we develop our own agriculture and CSA. Green tech. installations begin, funding continues.
In year 5: We go open-source with the business model, continue improving infrastructure through programming. We throw a huge summer party to celebrate.
In year 6: We break even. Temporary programming expands. Marketing expands to national level.
In year 7: We begin to pay back lenders with any profit. Marketing expands to international level, basic infrastructure 'completion'.
In year 8: We continue to pay back lenders with any profit. More green tech installations.In year 9: Resort status achieved, conferences begin. Epic year-end party to thank everyone.
Year One: Meeting Schedule
Jan : Orientation and Structuring
1st week - Getting to Know You, Led by Jacki
Hand out personal information forms, to ask about values, talents and abilities, interests, favourite books, etc etc. Icebreaker games, learning about each other, discussion of mission and vision, everyone shares their ideas of where this project could go and we write down a brainstorm of hopes and dreams for this project. Calendar is passed around and people choose five dates for contribution: lesson, snack, story, game and music. Breakdown of Group Dynamics to expect. (Forming, storming, norming, performing.)
2nd week - Values, Led by Jacki. Discussion - we rank and challenge our values and come up with a list of group values to apply to the business. We try to create a value creed as a group and discuss ways we can use this in practice, and how we can create awareness and encourage each other to behave according to these standards. How do we address conflict based on people not holding their own weight and finishing their tasks... punishment and reward system, or other? Calendar passed around again, final dates chosen for participation, anyone who hasn't chosen will be assigned.
3rd week: Specialization: Led by Jacki - Finalized Calendar distributed, Management Roles discussed, everyone picks top 2 they would like to do, and top 3 reasons why they would be best at it. (These are handed in at end of session, Jacki later looks at resumes, applications and info forms from first day, and makes final cut). We discuss what would be needed in each role - the skills and duties, one by one. We start a preliminary list of necessities per department, everyone fills out a list for every dept. (To be finished at home.)Lesson: Specialization - what it takes to focus, how to have trust that other departments are holding their own. Game: trust game, cooperative, assembly style?
4th week: Departmentalization/Organizational Structure: Led by ?#1 - Jacki proposes a list of who will wear which hat, to be negotiated and finalized in session. Lesson: different organizational structures (heirarchy, consensus, veto power, etc) , benefits and disadvantages. Discussion: which will work best for this group and why. Will we be a proprietorship, partnership, corporation C- or S- style, limited liability company, not for profit, charity, etc etc. Managers, directors, staff, strategic alliances - power dynamics. Who makes decisions? Assigning tasks, performing tasks, distributing authority. Problematize tasks vs. clearance. Centralized, decentralized, tall, flat, etc. span of control for departments.
Feb: Big Issues: Legal, Financial,
1st week: Discuss givebacks. List of potential ways to give back to donors, lenders. eg. newspaper articles, dinners, etc. Get creative. Legal - Led by ? each person comes up with a report on legal issues regarding their department, incl provincial and home, hotel, farm issues, business reqs, charitable donations, how to be a charity or NFP status - list licenses and permits required for running this type of organization in this area. What is our relationship to the governement at federal, provincial and local levels?
2nd week: Budget - Led by ? each person comes up with a budget for their department, research the cost of various materials, products and services required. research: taxes, wages and invoices (eg lawyer, real estate), and list of suppliers for needs. Budget also drawn up for givebacks.
3rd week: Fundraising begins Led by ? - estimated fundraising goal calculated from budgets. Each person comes up with a list of potential sources for funding, and starts making calls to these potential sources, filling out forms etc. Personal, Corporate and Event fundraising discussed.
Mar: Meta Skills: Communication, Conflict resolution, Delegation and asking for help, Community Building/solidarity/loyalty
1st week: Interview skills workshop - Led by Jacki. Mock interview with an Actual Business Professional and with each other.
2nd week: RETREAT : Communication and Conflict Resolution activities, indoor - in a large cabin on an ecovillage or similar. Speaking, listening, memory tools, vocabulary. Implementation strategies: How to go from plan to action. First program evaluation.
3rd week: Leadership and Delegation - Led by ? what is a good leader? Managing self and other people. Keep in mind: The nature of the work to be done. Match the job with the skills of workers. Make sure the person chosen understands the objectives he or she is supposed to achieve. Make sure workers have the time and training necessary to do the task. Problematize: Feelings that subordinates can't do things as well as managers OR will show them up, fear that something will go wrong when another takes over a job, lack of long-range planning due to daily tasks, a sense of being in the dark about industry trends and competitive products because of the amount of time given to daily operations, the desire to keep as much control as possible, lack of knowledge on how to delegate. Talk about "new management" where we don't just do what the boss says because it's what the boss says, but we question and give our true opinions and expertise.
4th week: Building strong community and maintaining networks - Led by ? Event planning begins for May. Discussion about importance of being thankful and of seeing lessons where disapointments happen. Focus on small wins/gains and learn to compliment and congratulate each other, as well as building self confidence and techniques for encouraging others. Planning for June week long retreat in groups
Apr: Special Projects
1st week: Involving the community - Led by ? re: temporary installations on the land - who to ask, what to begin with: strategic collaborations with various groups/orgs. What we would like to see annually, seasonally, etc. as temp installations. Drama, crafts, outdoor activities, for example.
2nd week: Marketing and PR: Led by ? Different faces for different folk - brochure collaborative, text and art, create membership packages eg. day pass, annual, weekend retreat etc.
3rd week: Programming and entertainment: Led by ? Planning facilities in phases, list of potential programs from simple to complex and approaching experts or hobbyists to lead them.
4th week: Recreation and education - Led by ? planning facilities in phases, list of potential programs from simple to complex and approaching experts or hobbyists to lead them,
May: permaculture and core systems and structures
1st week: Hospitality - Led by ? The ins and outs of hosting people - Minor fundraising event - dance? auction?
2nd week: Agriculture - Led by ? Plans for farms, gardens, greenhouses, etc. organic? biodynamic? permaculture? what do they mean, how are they done?
3rd week: Technology - Led by ? whose stuff and how? when? geothermal, solar, wind, etc. generators, biotech, farm tech, etc. what's current and what's new?
4th week: Development - Led by ? Buildings and infrastructure overview. Yurts, geodesic domes, teepees, long houses, log cabins, earthships, straw bale. Insulation and building materials, recycled, salvaged, raw - from the land, and manufactured / new. Up to code - plumbing, electricity etc. on a green level.
June: Details, Details
1st week: RETREAT: Scouting land. Week long. Second program evaluation.
2nd week: Transportation - Led by ? Overview, sources, parking, fuel sources. Event planning for major fundraiser in July.
3rd week: H.R. - Led by ? Overview: job analysis and planning, forecasting supply and demand for labour and planning/executing. Planning for fundraiser.
4th week: Logistics - Led by ? Overview. What do we want and need that we haven't yet discussed. Holistic - overview, who do we invite, what services do we want as permanent installations, etc.
1st week: Review of financing Led by ? Big push for funding - major asks in final stages. Final plans for big fundraiser.
2nd week: Major Fundraising event, auction, party? something creative?
3rd week: Policy writing for using space and facilities. Led by Jacki
4th week: Review of budget, Led by ? Individual budgets and lists of needs finalized (everything from lumber and tarps to toilet paper and printer paper)
Aug: Strategy and implementation
1st week: Review of phases over next 8 years and planning for next retreat, Sept. Final report assigned for each department.
2nd week: Annual plans for all departments finalized
3rd week: Monthly plans for all departments finalized
4th week: Weekly plans for all departments finalized
Sept: strategy and implementation
1st week: Daily plans for all departments in a working format.
2nd week: RETREAT: minor - weekend: activity - working on a farm, etc. Practical skills workshops. Third program evaluation.
3rd week: Staffing issues, Led by ? Consider visitor-volunteers, boarding workers, paid staff, duties, responsibilities and expectations for all - all departments
4th week: Training people, Led by ? how to present yourself as authority to gain respect without being an overbearing dickhead
Oct: Innovation and problem solving
1st week: Adaptability, Led by ? Flexibility, innovation, change, being dynamic. Real estate stuff begins with hospitality, legal and logistics teaming up.
2nd week: Staying on track - Led by Jacki, holding the vision, building and unfolding goals, *final reports / presentations due in hard copy*
3rd week: Final presentations to each other - 3 per meeting. stakeholders who are still undecided are invited.
4th week: Final presentations to each other - 3 per meeting stakeholders who are still undecided are invited.
Nov: Claiming the Land
1st week: Final presentations to each other - 3 per meeting - stakeholders who are still undecided are invited.
2nd week: Final presentations to each other - 3 per meeting - stakeholders who are still undecided are invited.
3rd week: Thank you dinner to everyone who donated - All real estate stuff finalized - taken care of by legal, hospitality and logistics team.
4th week: RETREAT - indoor - on OUR land, winter activities planned by everyone - snowshoeing, icefishing, tobogganning, fire spinning, etc. and GRADUATION! - final program evaluation! You are now Coordinators!
1st week: Givebacks - newspaper, magazine, radio, internet ads, podcasts, etc. letters of reference, certificates, etc. printed up for investors.
2nd week: Givebacks - continued - any further work TBD - finances settled and organized, books up to date and in order.
3rd week: Givebacks - continued - any further work TBD - negotiations with builders, plumbers, electricians, etc to get main house up to code and ready for extension.
4th week: Givebacks - continued - any further work TBD - negotiations with potential cash crop space rental.
- oversees the project
- works with coordinators to make decisions and execute plans
- chairs meetings
- mediates disputes, conflict resolution
- has final say on budget
- signs official documents and cheques
Public Relations Coordinator
- web presence,
Finances and Economics Coordinator
- current trends
- room bookings
- waste management
Recreation and Education Coordinator
- core programming
- basic maintenance of associated facilities
- property maintenance
- odd jobs
Human Resources Coordinator
- taking applications and hiring staff
- training coordinators, workers and volunteers
- connecting coordinators to workers and volunteers
Programming and Entertainment Coordinator
- arranging/ booking temporary programming (speakers, shows, new tech., etc.)
- acting as liason to visiting presenters/professionals
- basic maintenance of associated facilities
- business and contract law
- land laws and bylaws
- permits, licenses
- infrastructure construction and maintenance: renovations, buildings, stages, park areas, vendor stalls, etc.
- farmers markets
- community supported agriculture (CSA)
- green tech. elements
- acquiring company vehicles
- maintaining and storing vehicles
- maintaining parking area
Holistic / Transformational Coordinator
- creating and maintaining space for healers
- creating and maintaining space for spirituality
- acting as liason for healers and spirtual leaders/groups
Thanktuary is an Eco-Resort where the world's environmental elite find rest and relaxation, inspiration and opportunity in each other's company.
It boasts a beautiful, self-sustaining Canadian property of 100 acres, a welcome alternative to cliched Five-Star beach resorts.
Here, the privacy and freedom of nature come together with the excellence of an intentional community of visionaries.
Thanktuary provides an unbeatable educational retreat, where the fusion of work and play leave visiting members feeling fit, healthier, relaxed and equipped with a better understanding of what it takes to live and work in an eco-friendly lifestyle sustainably and comfortably.
Thanktuary is in operation year-round with a roster of rare, seasonal, cultural programs including local traditions, workshops, art shows and performances.
Furthermore, it is a showcase of the latest and greatest in green, eco-friendly and sustainable technologies and innovations at use in realtime.
Thanktuary is the destination of choice to see the leading thinkers, leaders and innovators of the eco-revolution speak their minds.
Join us! Come for the weekend or stay for the year.
Clients and Members (ie Target Markets)
1. For "greenovators" green elite, investors, thinkers, journalists, and other people and organizations in the movement,
a) To develop upon existing trends and projects in the movement through services, opportunities, and contributions.
b) Networking. Skills training in new technology. Floor models / show room in the actual setting; a place to display wares in their element. A place to speak to a high-end crowd via conferences, etc. with a resort atmosphere and a hands-on learning approach.
2. For Urban business owners, foreign diplomats, speakers, teachers, officials,
a) To provide a safe, private place to relax in a natural Rural Canadian setting.
b) The cottage experience for those who aren't from Rural Ontario or Quebec,
c)The camping experience for those who don't tent or don't have forests to explore,
d) A way to experience life in an eco-sustainable dwelling and see how life in an intentional eco-village would operate and how people interact differently with each other and with their environment there.
3. For Youth groups, Religious groups, Families, campers, travellers, etc.
a) To provide space for a behind the scenes experience, where they actively participate in the operation of the resort,
b) to gain hands on experience of the labour, challenges and rewards that arise in daily life on a farm/campground/retreat center type village.
c) real work experience that can be transferred to other endeavours
d) space for events that involve being in nature/rural/agrarian settings or camps.
4. For Middle class specialists, travelling workers with skills to share; (nutritionists, nurses, earthship builders, wwoofers, playwrights and musicians, veterenarians, social workers - stress management, at risk youth, etc - , smiths, artisans,)
a) A place to come and practice the work they already do in a novel/new/fresh/stimulating setting,
b) to develop a different, more diverse client base for themselves through cooperation with the resort,
c) to do environmental projects on an experimental/trial basis, find apprentices, etc. by contributing something to the organization on a medium-term.
Programs, Products and Services
1. For Trade-show style exhibitions of technologies and services in the green / eco-sustainability stream.
a) space will be rented or bartered to vendors, for example a percentage of earnings, a flat rate or a one-time donation of goods.
b) for vendors who sell something the resort would benefit from, the showroom program will be offered, for example a heating and cooling professional might install a geothermal unit as a floor model, and someone at the resort will give a demo on operation and maintenance to anyone interested in purchasing or investing, with the agreement that they will do business with this person.
c) Unlike a one-room show, we will set up a wooded clearing for booths or mock shopfronts for those whose wares are portable.
2. For campground facilities.
a) there will be outbuildings, cabins for campers to come stay in, youth groups, religious organizations, outers' clubs etc. and space for people to pitch tents and a few shared firepits.
b) unlike a campground, there will normally be some free activities ongoing, for campers to participate in. Some of these will be labour and maintenance jobs. Some will be nature hikes along trails, in caves, etc. or birdwatching, plant and fungus identification, etc. led by residents.
c) There will be a swimming area.
d) The fee will be low for campers, because they are low maintenance. Outhouses will be maintained.
3. For farming, gardening, greenhouse and indoor cultivations.
a) there will be an organic farm component (or biodynamic, etc) which will focus on feeding residents and workers, high-end clients and trade with other farms in the neighborhood (CSA) as well as shipping excess product to farmers' markets.
b) this will include greenhouses, a field to rotate several crops, animal areas, as well as herb and flower gardens. All outbuildings will have gardens. We will focus on native species and any plant that will be used for manufacturing projects, such as hemp.
c) this will include a security strategy against wild animals who would threaten the crops, such as foxes, raccoons, hawks, hares, but not to the point where insect pests are dominant because of a shift in the food chain
d) a compost area will be essential, and not secure against animals.
e) all visitors, without exception, will work a shift on farm activities. This may include fertilizing, weeding and watering, at one extreme, to preserving, brewing and cheesemaking at the other. Signups happen the morning of their arrival.
4. For resort facilities.
a) The main farmhouse will be a bed and breakfast type motel. it will have large living, dining and recreation areas. It will have a professional kitchen, several bedrooms of various sizes and capacities, and a few bathrooms for patrons to share. It will include a sauna, bar, library, billiards, etc.
b) it will cater to a high-end crowd who are visiting for conferences, guest speakers, retreat organizers, greenovators, etc. to network with other business people for their own ventures, and to invest in the technologies or services they provide.
c) It will include gardens outside, a hot tub, tennis court and patio outside in the main farmhouse area. It will be surrounded by fruit trees, rose bushes and herb gardens. There will be a small campfire area. There will be a view of the farmland and bike trails leading into the wooded area. It will be accessible to the road and ample parking. Wind power will be near parking.
d) It will have wireless internet. There will be secure lockers on site at the farmhouse and guests will be encouraged to leave electronics and valuables behind before going onto the land, both for relaxation and to be prepared for changes in weather.
e) All visitors will participate in 4 hours of volunteer shifts on the land during their stay. No exceptions.
f) On a few-hour, sign-out basis, things like drums, inner tubes, etc. will be made available.
5. As an Eco-village.
a) the resort will be planned as an eco-village where permanent residents will maintain their own sustainable, eco-friendly dwelling somewhere on the grounds.
b) there will be a 'downtown' area in the forested area beyond the greenhouses and animal barns. This area will be used mostly for lumber and will become parkland with a few strategic trees remaining. There will be lawn, benches, solar lamps and flowerbeds. Empty stalls will be available for temporary vendors and special events, to serve multiple purposes when there are no vendors occupying the space.
c) Permanent and semi-permanent structures will be erected for craftspeople and crop sales, eg. metal smiths, jewelers, arts and crafts, clothiers, etc.
d) permanent residents work full time on the land and contribute monthly and annually to taxes, bills, maintenance and other core expenses.
e) Experts from other eco-villages in north america and around the world will consult for us.
6. As an educational organization
a) although no certifications will initially be given to students, a learning environment will be fostered as a core element.
b) specialists will be encouraged to take on apprentices and all visitors will learn skills as a part of a volunteer shift.
c) guest speakers and teachers will be a large source of generating clients and a library will be installed in the main farmhouse recreational area.
d) Educational tours, including birdwatching, identifying plants and fungi, trailblazing and marking, swimming lessons, canoeing and kayaking, fishing, crafting and snowshoeing workshops, to give some examples, will be available seasonally.
e) Spiritual leaders from various traditions will be invited for eg. meditation retreats, and healers of many alternative streams will teach visitors how to improve their bodies and lifestyles.
f) There will be no 'tuition', classes and programs will be by donation and sliding scale, or included in the price of the admission package.
7. As a sanctuary
a) a place for travellers, at risk youth and persons in spiritual need to find their feet and move onwards and upwards.
b) a multi-faith temple for persons of nature-based and eco-conscious spiritualities.
8. As a networking hub
a) visitors will get to know each other during a volunteer shift where a necessary task is assigned in the visitor's desired department (kitchen, logistics, etc.) and they will work co-operatively with other visitors and staff.
b) meals will be served three times a day in a common area where visitors and staff are encouraged to mingle with each other as they enjoy their meals.
c) participation in programming will give visitors more opportunities to network with each other and staff.
d) one of the goals of gathering a diverse group of individuals together on the resort is to help each other help the world.
A preliminary set of decisions based on basic questions about the plan.
Q. #1: What type of business do you have?
An eco-resort, an organic or bio-dynamic type farm and a retreat center. This will be a place for people to come and relax, learn skills, network with like minds, participate in workshops, spiritual retreats, healthy active living and 'alternative' healing services, such as nutrition counseling from a variety of professionals. It will be powered by green energy, participate in a community supported agriculture program and boast sustainably developed facilities.
Q. #2: What is the purpose of this business?
To develop an environmentally friendly mode of relaxing, away from the stress of the busy urban setting. To offer employment to national and international migrant workers. To create a forum for motivational speakers (environmentalists, green technologists, spiritual leaders), to stimulate growth of the green economy including green technology and green energy industries, to secure a permanent greenspace against the (sub)urban sprawl. To educate and empower a generation of youth with the green leadership information and skills that they want. To act as a community centre for common interest groups who have something to contribute.
Q. #3: What is the key message or phrase to describe your business in one sentence?
A sustainable, dynamic, intentional community of ecophiles and visionaries.
Q. #4: What is your reason for starting your own business?
To create space for thinkers, leaders, activists and technicians to engage each other and youth in a healthy and positive atmosphere. My hope is that those who can replicate this project for other local economies will do so. My business model will be open source by year 5.
Q. #5: What is your product or service?
As an eco-resort, the main objective is to create a space for rest, relaxation, education and networking that is self-sustaining and has a minimal carbon footprint. We will demonstrate that living in a more natural style can be economical and pleasurable and that it is possible to maintain a high standard of living while respecting the environment. The services will be participant-driven, depending on our resident specialists. For example, we will have nutritionists, reiki practitioners or other form of alternative medicine and green energy technicians with functional and in-use examples of environmental technologies.
Q. #6: Can you list three unique benefits of your product?
We will promote a healthy, active lifestyle; hands-on demonstrations of technology and access to experts; various arts & culture and natural & agricultural workshops will be available seasonally.
Q. #7: Do you have datasheets, brochures, diagrams, sketches, photographs, related press releases or other documentation about your product / service?
We are developing a brochure outlining the different hospitality packages for patrons depending on the events, activities and facilities they wish to access during their stay. These packages range from daily to annual and from basic tent camping to VIP membership to all facilities. Options will include camping, retreats, conferences, weekend stays, daytime programming, week-long camps and fairs as well as any other programming that contributors wish to develop.
Q. #8: What led you to develop your product?
A dream of mine in High School was to open a pay-what-you-can cafe in downtown Toronto, allowing inner-city youth access to healthy meals and a sense of community in exchange for a volunteer shift or whatever donation they could afford. As I networked with the community in Toronto, my vision changed and grew. I met people who were into organic food, holistic healing, arts and culture, spirituality and political and environmental activism. I decided that I wanted to create an affordable, sustainable permanent safe space for people to network and educate each-other for the benefit of all involved and expand the holistic, environmental consciousness through leadership in a location away from the busy urban center.
Q. #9: Is this product or service used in connection with other products?
Yes. I expect that organizations who put on festivals, conferences, trade shows and retreats will want to use the facility for their own projects. We may find it necessary to create a space in the city to network with the urban community and businesses to generate interest both for programming and membership.
Q. #10: List the top three objections to buying your product/service immediately.
It is a work in progress, we don't have the property yet and there is no programming yet.
Q. #11: When will your product be available?
I plan to acquire land by 2017.
Q. #12: Who is your target audience?
Youth, business owners, activists, counterculture enthusiasts, environmentally and socially conscious persons, artists and artisans, healers, spiritual leaders, leadership experts, entrepreneurs, organic and bio-dynamic farmers, environmental technicians, international clientelle.
Q. #13: Who is your competition?
Farms, specifically organic farms, campgrounds, hotels, motels, Bed & Breakfasts, trade shows, retreat centers, national parks and rental cottages.
Q. #14: How is your product differentiated from that of your competition?
Our services combine the best of features of the competition into a holistic experience that benefits the body, mind, spirit. What each person will get out of a visit to the eco-resort will hopefully be practical applications for environmentally friendlier everyday living.
Q. #15: What is the pricing of your product versus that of your competition?
Pricing will be competitive yet reasonable. Many of our services and programs will be included in the price of your stay, and prices will reflect that.
Q. #16: Are you making any special offers?
Special events will have their own pricing schemes.
Q. #17: What plans do you have for advertising and promotions?
We will rely mostly on word of mouth, social networking and other organizations with similar ideals to get the word out.
Q. #18: How will you finance company growth?
Q. #19: Do you have the management team needed to achieve your goals?
Part of the vision of this project is to enable contributors to be part of the management team, this means that the managing collective will fluctuate as the project grows. If you are interested in being a part of this project long-term, please contact me at email@example.com