People’s Institute: August 29-September 4

2017 Peoples Institute Revised Schedule

The 3rd annual People’s Institute will explore two aspects of climate change through the expressive arts. The aspects of climate change we will cover include climate refugees and the Native American Water Protectors. We will use the expressive arts to allow ourselves a deeper emotional understanding. The expressive arts are visual arts, drama, storytelling, movement, music and writing. We will leave energized and motivated and with many good ideas of what we each can do.

We will have two groups of resource people to lead us. One group will include people who have been involved in direct action to survive two different tragedies. The first are climate refugees (or people who work directly with climate refugees) who have had to leave their home countries because of the changing climate. The second are those who were part of the Native American struggles at Standing Rock, Line 5, and other sites to protect land, water, and sacred places. These people will provide us with new in-depth information about the problems’ causes, actions taken, and the current situation.

Kevin Locke
Kevin Locke is a featured presenter Sunday September 3.

The second group of resource people will lead us in the expressive arts. First Aravinda Ananda and Joseph Rotella will lead us in Joanna Macy’s The Work that Reconnects. These are exercises to help us connect to living systems and deep ecology. Through an inner journey that examines “opening to gratitude, owning our pain for the world, seeing with new eyes, and going forth” we should reach a state of motivation, creativity, solidarity and courage ( By participating in the expressive arts we also learn tools that we can use in our climate work at home.

Our next resource specialist will be Reggie Flowers who will engage us in Theater of the Oppressed activities. This form of drama was developed in the early 1970s by Brazilian director and activist Augusto Boal. It is a participatory theater that fosters democratic and cooperative forms of interaction among participants. Throughout the week Kat VanHammen and Bonnie Bluestein will lead us in map work, visual arts, and rituals. Participants will also engage in singing and dancing. Each day we keep most of the afternoon open for leisure activities and will have a lifeguard at the beach.  See the full list of presenters here.

Peoples Institute Meal Discussion
Locally sourced organic meals lead into deep discussion.

People’s Institute is open to everyone. It will start at with dinner Tuesday, August 29 and continue until after lunch on Labor Day, September 4. If you cannot make the complete Institute we have two shorter sessions available. The first is from dinner Tuesday through Friday dinner and the second is from Saturday breakfast to Monday lunch. We will not have activities for children during the first session so if you do want to bring children please also bring someone to care for them. Let us know in advance if you plan to bring your children to the second session and we will provide some age appropriate activities. Some work exchange and scholarships will be available.

People’s Institution is a program organized by Circle Pines Center, an educational and recreational cooperatively governed camp with the mission to model cooperation as a social and economic system. There will be three learning sessions per day, with time to enjoy camp life at Circle Pines’ 294 acres of rolling hills, forests, meadows, and ¼ mile of frontage on a spring-fed lake. Activities available include swimming, boating, hiking, art, singing, campfires, and other leisure activities. And, of course, socializing and laughing with the social justice and intellectual stimulation that Circle Pines Center is known for.


Our meals are homemade and delicious, with many ingredients from our garden or locally-sourced. They will be served family-style in the dining room. There is always a vegetarian alternative and attention given to dietary needs. Each participant assists with meal set-up and clean-up once each day. Optional programming may be included for families or children.

2017 Peoples Institute Rates

Circle Pines offers one- and two-week sessions during our five week summer camp for children between the ages of seven and seventeen. We offer family weekends year-round, including Cider and Maple Sugar Making Weekends, Get-Away weekends, and topic weekends. We also rent our facilities out to like-minded groups. For more information go to

FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO REGISTER CONTACT Circle Pines Center at 269.623-5555 or