Connections make a community


IMG_2240 I’m not a natural marketer. In fact, I often feel like I’m  intruding on people (like the horse on the left) and they (like the horse on the right) are annoyed at best and at worst can’t wait for me to leave. I could spend the rest of this entry and many more detailing out why I feel this way but don’t worry!  I will spare you this analysis.

Instead, I want to talk about the importance of networking for any kind of employment or cause.

Social media has made this grand world of ours a very small place. We are inundated with friend requests, updates, employment updates and connections via sites directed toward work contacts, so on, and so on… But what we are not connecting to is each other.

As a culture, we have become comfortable with the internet keeping us connected vs. staying connected to people through personal interactions. When I moved to a new area last year, I underestimated how long it was going to take for people to begin to accept me as a person with a valuable opinion. Someone worth the personal connection.

I have found that personal connections are invaluable to building a business, creating a referral network and most importantly strategic partnerships.

I first learned about  strategic partnerships at an EAGALA Business Development Workshop in 2012. The idea of working with other groups toward a mutual cause like equine therapy made sense. However, implementing the practice of strategic partnerships and getting other similar organizations to buy into the cause has not been easy. I naively thought “if you build it, they will come.” Since I am the networking coordinator for northern Idaho and Eastern Washington all I had to do was plan some meetings, organize fun activities and fellow clinicians would flock to the opportunity. Not so much.

Instead, I have learned that I need to prove myself a worthy connection, a worthy bridge to others and person dedicated to cause of promoting the work of equine therapy using the EAGALA model across different subject groups and business types.  I have enjoyed the challenge and I am now beginning to feel the fruits of my labor.

This coming Tuesday, June 17th,  Blue Moon Mending is hosting an EAL Demo at the Stables at Mica Meadows, home to the Mica Foundation. We have invited the local VFW post, the Veteran Center of Spokane, the VA of Spokane and other private organizations that function to provide support to our local veterans. My co-facilitator is an EAGALA certified ES and has hosted a women’s warrior retreat for combat veterans annually for the past five years. The purpose of this demo is to show the benefits of the EAGALA model for the healing of struggling veterans and their families. We want to host a family reintegration retreat in June 2015 so the time to start building interest from these organizations is now. Ideally, they will all want to be involved in the retreat and other smaller events within the next year. We want the retreat and other events to reflect a community reaching out to help their own through various experiential activities, including EAL, to facilitate family healing through individual healing.

It has taken a year to become accepted. I hope it will only take a year to build a community of connections. So that we, as a community, can help facilitate some smiles on faces.


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