Welcoming the Coalition for Community Living to Williamsburg Sept 15 – 17, 2021

The 37th Annual Fairweather Lodge Conference and Meeting of the Coalition for Community Living (CCL) will be held in Williamsburg Virginia this year. The conference, hosted by Hope Family Village, begins September 15th with registration and a reception at the Williamsburg Fairweather Lodge, the first Fairweather Lodge in Virginia. A great networking opportunity. You will meet lodge members, their families, and our neighbors. The conference will also have an online option. To register, go here

The conference theme is: It’s about the community. 
On September 16th, we will have a very full day. It will begin with breakfast followed by a presentation by Christina Westenberger, Manager of Gallery Learning for Colonial Wiliamsburg Foundation. She will tell the story of mental health care in the 18th century. How did the Williamsburg community provide care to people in need? What can the past tell us about care today and in the future. How do Fairweather Lodge and ideas like Hope Family Village factor in the discussion. 

Many might not know that Williamsburg is home to the oldest mental health institution in North America. The recently upgraded Art Museum is in the building of the original hospital. Time will be tight, but a tour is possible.

CCL Board members held their mid-year meetings in Wiliamsburg in 2015 and again in 2017. Offered to the Williamsburg community members was a short course and panel discussion about Fairweather Lodge. Moderated by CCL’s John Trepp, participants learned everything they wanted to know about Fairweather Lodge in a workshop. The conference will once again feature this popular session, along with experiences and perspectives of the fledgling Williamsburg Fairweather Lodge. 

Hope Family Village: Our vision was to create a community-centric collaborative, offering acceptance, housing, and sustainable support for people with mental health conditions and their families. Twenty-five acres has been set aside, near Eastern State Hospital, to develop a co-housing project to fulfill this vision. What did we really have in mind, how did it evolve, where does it stand today? 

At noon, John Trepp will be the Master of Ceremonies for the Awards Banquet. A conference favorite, we honor all the nominees for these coveted awards and celebrate George Fairweather’s innovation. It’s a heartwarming ceremony. And, we will be eating great Mexican food. 

One of the hottest topics in the country is Trauma Informed Care. What is it and what is involved? Colonial Behavioral Health (CBH), Williamsburg’s behavioral health agency will be moderating a statewide panel discussion on Establishing a Trauma Informed Community Network.

Closing the day, we are delighted to present Xavier Amador, Phd. Author of the book, I am not sick, I don’t need help, who teaches the LEAP Method. He will appear remotely. LEAP and Fairweather Lodge are both evidence-based approaches designed to enable people serious mental illness to flourish. He teaches people how to improve their relationships. A powerful speaker and clinical psychologist, Dr. Amador is an experienced caregiver. We invited him to offer a perspective that might help us in operating lodges and developing stronger communities in mental health care. 

On Friday, following a buffet breakfast, we will have two workshops. For the past year, the Outcomes Committee has been re-examining how lodge performance is measured and will discuss improvements in the methods. You won’t want to miss this session. 

CBH operates a comprehensive emergency services program. Yes, we are a small community. But, we have one of the highest concentrations of CIT-trained officers in the state.  You will learn about our CITAC program. One of our Williamsburg Fairweather Lodge members will speak about his work as a peer support specialist there.

Before noon, we will conduct a conference summation, which for our community will be involve identifying our next steps and for CCL will conclude with board business.