NASCO Institute 2014 Theme Statement

This year’s Cooperative Education and Training Institute will be held November 7-9, 2014 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. We’ll be sending out a request for workshop proposals in the coming weeks. For now, get excited by reading the conference theme statement below and watch our website for updates.

Co-ops for life: Owning our Future

How do you imagine yourself ten years from now? You could be living in a cooperative housing community, shopping at a cooperative grocery, banking with a credit union, volunteering as a board member of your local cooperative school, and working as co-owner of a cooperative business. You could be an integral part of a multifaceted, international push to return ownership to the hands of the people. The skills you’re building now can be the building blocks for a lifetime of cooperation.

What will your current cooperative look like in ten years? It could be growing and thriving, serving more members every year. Other co-ops could look to your co-op for best practices in education, governance, financial stewardship, employee management, and leadership development. What you do today to ensure the stability, democracy, and overall health of your co-op’s future will determine your co-op’s place in our movement’s history.

Building cooperative skills needed for a lifetime of sustainable cooperation is the heart of NASCO Institute. As the next generation of movement builders, we have an opportunity to determine what our homes, organizations, and movements will look like in ten years. Who will our leaders be? What will our goals be? What challenges and successes will we encounter?

The time to begin is now, in cooperation with a worldwide movement to take back our economies:

“This is an historic moment of opportunity for the co-operative sector. With political institutions in many nations struggling to keep up with a rapidly changing world, it is essential that citizens become increasingly resourceful, enterprising and co-operative in order to face the inevitable social and environmental challenges we face as a world community. Rarely has the argument in favour of co-operatives looked stronger.”

--International Co-operative Alliance, “Blueprint for a Cooperative Decade” (2013)

The foundation for our cooperative future is being laid right now, in our houses, workplaces, minds, and hearts. Our plans and decisions have effects which extend beyond ourselves, and often even beyond our time in a given cooperative or community. What we do right now matters. What we dream right now has an impact.

What are you building right now? ...and where will we go from here?