Training Site Descriptions

Adler University, Chicago, IL (April and August 2018 Organizing for Social Change)

This is a modern university building in the heart of the Loop in Chicago. You will need to find your own overnight accommodations. At the cheap end, stay with a friend anywhere in the city, and this is likely to be an easy commute. The International Hostel is very pleasant, and an easy walk. Numerous hotels are also available in the area. We provide lunch Monday – Thursday, and dinner on Thursday at the site.

Ancient Yoga Center Retreat, Austin, TX (October 2018 Organizing for Social Change)

This is a lovely two hundred acre site in the hill country thirty minutes south of Austin. It’s the site of a large Hindu temple and a small community of staff who live on the grounds. Peacocks wander the grounds, and we recommend you explore the beauty of the location as well. We follow the custom of removing shoes when we enter buildings, so bring socks or slippers if desired (or yay, go barefoot all week!). An AYCR staff person offers us a gentle 30 minutes of yoga most afternoons.

The food here is all vegetarian, with vegan and gluten-free options if requested. Participants universally rave about the meals (even participants who are not vegetarian), but if you get desperate, Salt Lick BBQ is just a five minute drive down the road.

The accommodations are basic but clean and pleasant; no TVs, but plenty of free wifi. Singles with private bath are available on request, as well as doubles and triples with shared bath down the hall.

Community Renewal Society, Chicago, IL (July 2018 Supervisor of Organizers Workshop)

Centrally located in the Loop in Chicago. You will need to find your own overnight accommodations. At the cheap end, stay with a friend anywhere in the city, and this is likely to be an easy commute.  The International Hostel is very pleasant, and an easy walk. Numerous hotels are also available in the area.  As long as you’re near any color train, you’ll have an easy trip from door to door. We provide lunch a light breakfast all three days, as well as dinner on Thursday evening.  Lunch is on your own, but there are plenty of options for all palates and wallets!

Mater Dolorosa Retreat Center, Sierra Madre, CA (May Organizing for Social Change)

This is a beautiful Catholic retreat center run by the Passionist brothers, nestled up against the mountains just east of Pasadena. The grounds are beautifully landscaped. There are plenty of Catholic statues and artwork, including a large outdoor path with the stations of the cross. The staff is very welcoming – even if you arrive at 2am and can’t figure out how to get in without waking them up.

The accommodations are basic but clean and pleasant; no TVs, but there is free wifi. Singles with private bath are available on request, as well as doubles; some rooms have the bath down the hall. Yes, there are lizards, and we’ve heard rumors of mountain lions and rattlesnakes, but never seen any. We have seen the stunning view of the LA skyline at night!

The food is small-scale cafeteria style – few options, but cooked with loving care. You may want to pack a few snacks if you tend to get hungry between meals, and this is not the most vegan-friendly location, although you can certainly make it work if you are prepared.

It’s a 15-20 minute walk into town, where there are a number of good restaurants, coffee shops, and ice cream parlours.

LA is a bit of a drive; the Metro rail line does stop in Sierra Madre, but it’s a bit of a walk from the center. Plan to get the SuperShuttle from the airport; a cab from LAX, even in the middle of the night with no traffic, could cost $100 (don’t ask us how we know this).

Easton Hall Conference Center, Berkeley, CA (March 2018 Supervisor of Organizers Workshop)

This meeting space is owned by the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, and is a very lovely meeting space with some, but not a lot of, Christian iconography. It’s at the top of a very high hill (at least if you are from the Midwest), so don’t be fooled by how flat everything looks on a map! Easton is about two blocks from the gates of UC Berkeley, and walking distance from BART (if you are good at hills). There are lots of pleasant places to walk around outside, and numerous nearby restaurants, etc.

The accommodations are clean and pleasant, and perhaps a step up from the other religious retreat centers that we use, but still no TV — though plenty of free wifi. Singles and doubles with private bathroom are available.

We provide rolls and coffee for breakfast, and one night we provide pizza, salad and soda, but otherwise, you are on your own, and will have no trouble finding good food in a variety of price ranges. A corner grocery is just down the block as well.

Downtown Washington, DC (November 2018 Organizing for Social Change)

We’re using meeting space in a nonprofit office building, right at H and 15th Streets. We provide rolls and coffee for breakfast, lunches Monday – Thursday, and one night we provide pizza, salad and soda.