3 reasons to come to Socality Camp

We designed Socality Camp for several reasons. Socality is a creative global community where people interact and engage online but one of key objectives and core values is to bring people together in face-to-face encounters. We feel it is best to do this by creating unique experiences where people can learn and create together. For us , this usually looks like finding beautiful places where we can be surrounded by atmospheres that inspire us. This year, we have chosen the majestic landscape of the Rocky Mountains located in Alberta Canada. Known for its stunning mountain ranges and turquoise blue lakes, this is one of the most sought after destinations spots for world travelers. We have been able to create and curate a 5-day experience at a private camp including onsite experiences and excursions exploring some of the most beautiful mountains ranges in the world in the every changing colours of Autumn.

At Socality Camp we have taken the traditional elements we loved at camp as kids and put our own spin on it for a greater purpose. We believe we can use our social platforms for good and our voice is even more powerful when we share it collectively. If you are wondering if you should come to camp, here are 3 reasons why camp may be the right fit for you!

Here are 3 Reasons why You should come to Socality Camp

1. Get Connected

Life is really about who you know. There are so many individuals with incredible skills and abilities but one thing they are missing is an opportunity. Most of life’s great opportunities come from your relationships and at Socality we want to get you connected to others who are going in the same direction as you. Working with others who are skilled does several things. It makes you a better creator. It can provide collaborative efforts, which can add to your skillset. Finally, it can bring opportunity through relationship. This year at camp we have a diverse group of guests from creators, tourism boards, musical artists and TV personalities. This small, intimate camp will allow you to connect with not only our guests but those who are also attending the camp as well. If you are passionate about moving your dreams forward, then getting connected is key.

2. Create together

One way to develop your skill is to learn by doing and being in a creative environment with other creatives with help push and develop your skills. It is easily to feel overwhelmed and not know where to begin, but when you know better you can do better. The key is to simply place yourself in environments that will stretch you, ask questions and learn from others. Our camp will have a various group of creators at different levels and will be a safe place to learn with others. We also have 3 excursions that will place you in the beautiful landscape of the Rocky Mountains as well as a rustic campsite where we will have our keynote sessions, workshops and evening campfires. You won’t have to look far for inspiration. 

3. The experience of a lifetime

We have designed Socality Camp to give you all the feels! From the beautiful landscape, to the aesthetic of the wilderness camp down to the group of people that will be in attendance. We want this to be an experience to remember. If you are travelling internationally, we have arranged for the bus to bring you from the airport directly to camp so that your trip is easy and seamless. Once you arrive at camp all your meals and accommodation are arranged so all you need to focus on is enjoying a truly incredible experience. We will send you your packing list ensuring you bring the essentials required. Most people when they travel have to arrange a lot of details. With our camp, you can book your flight to Calgary and enjoy an authentic camp experience while developing your skills, building lasting relationships and experiencing the Rocky Mountains in its most pristine conditions. We will be exploring the peaks of Moraine Lake, viewing the stunning larches, visit the world class Lake Louise and experience Waterton National Park and more. Finally, we are excited about the learning from others, capturing moments and creating memories that will last a lifetime.

If you are looking to build new relationships with other creatives, develop your skills and experience beautiful landscapes then Socality Camp is for you!

Note: Registration closes August 31st.


With Houston, For Houston

We caught up with our friends Steven Wallace, a Socality Community member from the Houston area, also founder of a local Houston lifestyle brand Kintigo. And with our friend Clark Miller, a Socality Community Member, who captured images of the relief effort in Houston and surrounding areas. We wanted to share stories of the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey that hit South Texas in August 2017.

Words by: Steven Wallace & Photos by: Clark Miller

Unfortunately, it sometimes takes the costliest natural disaster in US history to bring US together (in a way that transcends race, economics, politics, religion). We are people, all the same and yet entirely different. But when something to this magnitude (outside of our control) occurs, it brings US closer than ever on a human level. Without hesitation, we rescue, feed, heal, clothing, shelter, hug and pray for those in need. Sunday morning, as I woke up to the devastation in our city and inability to leave the house to help, I thought I'd do my part in some small way: create a simple design to emphasize the only way we'd get through this, by focusing on the US in hoUSton. When I made it for my brand, Kintigo, I had no idea the profound impact it would have on individuals here and afar (see graphic below). I think Houston just needs to know that others are with US and for US during this incredibly hard time. That's what it's all about, and that's what we've felt. May this kind of love last and change us all.


It all started with a bear | Treeline Outdoors

Socality Camp has partnered with Treeline Outdoors for our upcoming camp. Celebrating Canada’s 150th and hosting the Camp in Alberta, we are excited to partner with this crew of local mavericks and outdoor adventurists. Perfect for sleeping under the stars and adventuring on the go, Treeline Outdoors will be bringing their innovative Roof-Top Tents to Camp. Explore their tents and relax, create and collaborate in a campout-themed chill zone among the trees.

Treeline’s Roof-Top Tents make it easy to set-up camp anywhere your travels take you. Grab your crew, get on the road and get to exploring the natural world around us.

Screen Shot 2017-09-20 at 12.17.21 PM.png

With three different sizes, Treeline’s Roof-Top Tents can fit on the roof of anything from a Subaru to an SUV to a pick-up. Roof-Top Tents feature a rugged, lightweight aluminum honeycomb base, making their design the strongest and most durable tent base on the market. All the tents come standard with Treeline's signature oversized patent-pending awning windows that can be rolled up for unrestricted views, patented utility/storage bags, utility net on the underside for additional storage, hi-tech Diamond Ripstop rainfly, and heavy duty rubber latches for storing heavier gear like rods and paddles, keeping them safe and out of the way. The tents set-up and take down in minutes. Large hinges allow storage of bedding inside the tent while collapsed freeling up space in your vehicle. Each Roof-Top Tent also comes with a built-in, waterproof-covered, high density 2 1/2" foam mattress made for max sleeping comfort that can stay inside the tent during travel. 

Screen Shot 2017-07-19 at 4.40.18 PM.png

Where did Treeline begin?

Treeline Outdoors all began with a bear...

While camping in the wilds of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, the founders of Treeline Outdoors met a large Grizzly Bear along the way. He came wandering through their campsite one night, trapping them in their ground tents. The night seemed never-ending, but finally they frightened the bear away. The campers knew there had to be a better way to camp: enter the Treeline Roof-Top Tent. This was the night that Treeline Outdoors was born.

Treeline Outdoors was founded in 2013 by a passionate group of outdoorsmen and adventurers in Turner Valley, Alberta. You can find them combing the back-roads of the Canadian Pacific Northwest in search of adventure and natural beauty, perfecting the art of camping as they go. Treeline began with the introduction of the Roof-Top Tent and has grown to include a line of Premium Bush Tools, and gear solutions for anyone from the weekend warrior to the modern outdoor adventurer. 

Learn more www.treelineoutdoors.com and @treelineoutdoors  


It all starts here | The Anatomy of Socality Summer Flings

by: Paul Tellefsen

Coming together for purpose is important to prioritize in your life. We were created for it. For this reason, this summer we wanted to motivate you to gather your Socality friends and community together. Now, a good gathering has a couple elements that define the experience as successful.

  1. People
  2. Meaningful Conversations
  3. Fun

And when it comes down to it, people will only remember a few things. Here's what I've seen them come back to talking about.

  1. Was it fun?
  2. Did it impact in someway?

You don't need a big budget or a 6 months of planning to be successful at hosting an event. You just need to have a meaningful experience that brings people together. Now of course, you could plan a big party with a budget, but the point is that you don't have to. Some of the most impactful moments in my life of coming together weren't well planned or expensive, but they left an eternal mark on me. 

With one weekend to left to attend or host a Summer Fling gathering, we wanted to share a few stories that already happened with more stories to come.

Nathanael who gathered at a coffee shop in Texas said this about their fling.

“Our gathering in Fort Worth was a lot of fun. There was that awkward moment where no one was sure who was there for the fling and who was just there to have coffee, but once David asked, "Are you here for the Socality meet up?" The replay "me too" echoed in the room and in no time we were all exchanging stories like old friends. Our group was small, but I think it's safe to say we all had a great time getting to meet one another and are looking forward to hanging out again soon.”

Alexa who chased sunsets in Toronto said this about their day.

“We not only welcomed new faces into the community, but into our city too! We had a fun time, got some good shots, and most of all, connected over great conversations. It all starts there!”

Andrea who also was in Toronto made a Vlog about her experience (English Subtitles included)

Audrey who went camping with a crew in South Texas had this to say about their adventure.

"We set out on the weekend of August 19th nervous and excited for the friendships and adventures to be had at Enchanted Rock State Park in the Texas Hill Country. Our group met at renowned Cooper’s Old time Pit Bar-B-Que in Llano for fresh brisket and sausage, eaten family style at picnic tables with white bread and all-you-can-eat beans and jalapeños. The campsite at Enchanted Rock was secluded, shady and all-around the best we’ve found in Texas yet, and we set off for the 2-hour Loop Trail in the canyons surrounding the granite wonder. We hiked the Summit Trail at the peak of golden hour, and marveled at the setting sun from 1,825 ft above sea level. As the sky grew darker, the Milky Way was shockingly clear, and with the new moon and end of the Perseid Meteor Shower we had plenty to see. We rounded out the night with a campfire and s’mores, relishing in new friendship and the cooling night air, and excited for the next adventures to come!"

Suen who gathered in British Colombia, Canada shared a few photos from their time at Lynn Canyon.


Collaborator or Competitor. Which one are you?

Have you ever noticed when someone gets a great opportunity our first instinct can be jealousy? It's easy to start asking, “How did they get that”?  or “What about me”?

It's easy to do and can even feel like a natural instinct. The "survival of the fittest", this desire to be the best. But what if we changed the way we looked at advancement and opportunity? What if there was a better or even greater reward in working together? What would this look like and how would we approach this?

It's in our nature to be competitive. It's a learned behaviour that often starts at a young age. Everything is a contest. From races, to exams, to receiving trophies, we are constantly watching people be rewarded. It can either push us to be better or simply draw back and choose to not even try. As we grow older, we take this with us into business and work environments. It develops attitudes and mindsets that can set us up for failure or success.

It is often said, “It's not what you know, it's who you know". Knowledge will get you a long way, but the right relationships and attitudes will get you even further.

Competition is a limited way of thinking. It places the self first and isolates us from others, often leaving us to work and create all on our own. It's overwhelming, exhausting and not nearly as rewarding. Collaboration is about surrounding yourself with others who have skill-sets and abilities that might be better or different than your own. It's about teamwork, rising together and ultimately about doing something that is beyond your own abilities.

We need to look at this two ways

  1. Who can you work and connect with that will help you advance in your goals?
  2. Who can you help get connected in order to open doors for others?

When you are truly collaborative, when one wins, everyone wins.

Here are some characteristics of those who value collaboration over competition.

Collaborative people invite others into opportunities. They see working together as a benefit to their growth and the development of their skill.

Competitive people push others away and try to do everything on their own.

Collaborative people are secure in their identify, gifts, and abilities and let their work speak for itself. They open up doors for others and are not threatened by the success or potential of another.

Competitive people need validation and are motivated by fear instead of goodwill.

Collaborative people lean on the strength of others. They ask questions, are excited to learn and involve others in the process.

Competitive people are closed to advice and opinions, exclude people in decision making and don't learn from the knowledge or wisdom from others.

Collaborative people share the wealth. They believe there is enough to go around and love to see others thrive and have a piece of the pie.

Competitive people try and out do others, have something to prove and want everything for themselves.

Collaborative people encourage others in their goals and dreams and try to highlight them to others. They put their friends on display and aren’t afraid to give recognition to others.

Competitive people are quick to tear down and make judgements. They take pride in the shortcomings of others.

Collaborative people stand up for others. They are moved when injustice is done to another and aren’t afraid to speak up.

Competitive people take pleasure when others get knocked down and use this as a chance to promote themselves.

Collaborative people are open and honest and have nothing to hide. They see transparency as a key to successful and strong, lasting relationships.

Competitive people are secretive, fearful to trust and don’t listen to the opinions and feedback of others.

There are many commodities in life. Finances and success in your goals are certainly on that list. However, the greatest commodity of all is the quality of people in your life and you can’t place a number on these. Being a competitor can leave you empty handed, alone and lacking in valuable, meaningful relationships. But being a collaborator can bring success and life long friendships leaving everyone with you on top.

How are you operating? Are you a collaborator or a competitor? Feel free to share this post with your friends and join in on the conversation.


5 Ways to Build Community Around You

It can be intimidating getting to know other people to develop authentic and meaningful friendships. We all have different personalities. For some it is really easy to be outgoing and put yourself in situations where you can make new friends. For others, this can be overwhelming and the thought of being in groups can cause significant social anxiety or stress. However, we are not meant to live life alone but rather in community. What does that even mean? Let’s not mistake community for large numbers. Community comes in many shapes and sizes. It could be a small circle of friends or a big network of multiple groups. Either way, we all need support and people to live life with. Often our opportunities are directly linked to who we are connected with. Our relationships provide support, growth and stability in our lives. 

Here are 5 ways to build community around you

  1. Acknowledge. We are all looking for the same thing. It is easy to judge a book by its cover and assume someone has no need for friends, new community or is would never be your friend. However, the core need in every human is belonging. People want to be accepted, valued and loved.  Reach out and never dismiss another based on their current situation or differing beliefs. You may be the answer to their own personal need or they could be the answer to your need.
  2. Cultivate Community. Nothing happens over night. Relationships need to be invested into with time and energy. Have you ever said the following, “ I went to that party or that church and no one even said hi to me”. Ask yourself if you initiated any conversation or talked to anyone around you? It is not always comfortable to enter conservation but you have to make an effort and invest into others. The quality of relationship you will have will be directly linked to how much effort you put in.
  3. Create Opportunities, We can all get caught in the cycle of busyness. Our days can be filled with so many to do tasks that we don’t make time for others. Be intentional about getting to know others. Make the effort, take time to attend events and gatherings. Invite someone along or activate conversations. Great community never happens on accident. It always happens on purpose. Be someone who creates opportunities not just for you to connect but others as well.
  4. Be Present. It is easy to engage online but when we meet up in person with others we tend to not be present in those moments. When having face-to-face encounters put down the phone, look someone in the eye and truly listen to what they are saying. Sincerity, authenticity and presence leads to meaningful relationships. 
  5. Follow up and Follow Through.  Have you ever said the phrase, “we should go for coffee.” And the months go by and you never had had coffee? Follow up and follow through with the things you say. Set appointments. Set reminders on your phone. Take good intentions and turn them into actions. Be proactive in making things happen and you will be amazed at how your world changes by the people you connect with around you.

How to apply this practically:

  1. Join a local Facebook group today.
  2. Initiate events or gatherings. Don’t wait for another to take the lead.
  3. Comment and engage with others online and in Facebook Groups.
  4. Be a source of positivity and encouragement for others. (No one likes a Debbie downer).
  5. Use #socality and your local hasgtag (#socalityseattle, #socalitydallas) when posting. Follow these online and find others around you. 
  6. Get others involved. You don’t need a lot of money to hang out. Find common spaces like the beach, parks or hikes where people can easily gather. Set a time and place and go from there. 

Socality NYC: A Day in Brooklyn

We took to the streets in NYC to host a Socality Community Event. We had over 150 people show up, most of them strangers to one another but by the end of the day many felt like family. We met at Birch Coffee in Manhattan and then hit it out across the Brooklyn Bridge making our way over to Dumbo Park. The afternoon would gather a variety of creatives and artists who over conversation and creating together would enter into newfound friendships.

After the event we went for dinner at the The Meatball Shop. This cool NYC eatery was an awesome to host our group and even gave us some free drinks and appetizers. Check them out. The food is SO good!

Through our conversations, one thing we had heard from many New Yorkers is that even in a city as large as New York, it can be very easy to be lonely, and to get lost in the crowds and feel disconnected. You may be surrounded by thousands of people but that doesn’t automatically equal community. Community and authentic relationships need to be cultivated around you. You have to invest into relationships, making time to get to know others around you. This means asking questions and spending time listening to the stories behind the person.

Whether you live in a small town or the largest city in the world, everyone is looking to be known. Take time to reach out with the knowledge that we are more alike than we are different. In the end, we are all looking for the same thing.

Watch our Video recap of our time in NYC. In other news we will be back NYC…next time bigger and better! Don’t forget to join your local Facebook group. You can find the NYC group and all the others here!


Why We Created Socality Camp

Socality launched in the beginning of 2014 around the idea that what we could do together would always be greater than what we could do on our own. Created to connect purposeful creatives from around the globe through social media and face to face interactions, we’ve seen people connect and discover creative community through 3 creative conferences, community events across North America, regional Facebook groups, and local hashtags. As we enter a new chapter in the Socality story, we’re excited for new ways to learn and connect with one another and Socality Camp is one of those ways.

What I didn’t expect on my personal creative journey was how connecting with other creatives would significantly change my life and career path. I went from taking photos with my iPhone to working with major international brands through my photography, speaking in front of thousands, and building meaningful relationships with people across the globe. All of this has been a product of learning from others, asking the right questions, and putting what I know into action.

Socality Camp has been created to provide these same opportunities to you in a concentrated atmosphere. We wanted to create a space where people could come and learn together and help push each other into their own success and opportunities. In life, so many opportunities are built on who you know. Socality Camp will give you the opportunity to build long-term relationships with others in an intimate setting and get connected into amazing opportunities. It will also put you in a beautiful location where you will have the ability to learn by doing.

We have brought together guests, creators and mavericks that are leading in the spheres of social media, entrepreneurship and creativity. Developing your creative process is an ongoing journey and we are all still learning everyday. I look forward to personally sharing with you and allowing you to download from the others at the camp.

If you are passionate about getting connected, building towards your own dreams and want to take the next step in your creative journey, then I encourage you to invest into yourself and register for Socality Camp today.

We can’t wait to meet you and see where this journey will take you!

Scott BakkenFounder, Socality


Using Hashtags to Build Community

Hashtags get a bad wrap and it’s mostly because people don’t understand what they are necessarily for. Socality has used hashtags to cultivate and create community and if used right, can advance not only your social media experiences but can actually connect you with incredible people.

We created #socality to allow like minded individuals to connect with others locally and globally. The word Socality has nothing to do with “Socal” but rather means ‘A social community all for eternity’. We believe in being connected for purpose and forever in our goals and mission. Socality is about us connecting and using our influence collectively for good.  If you want to be a apart of a movement , then use #socality!

WHEN SHOULD YOU USE #socality

Use #socality when posting on social media to identify yourself as part of the community and as someone using their art and life for good. We say it is like putting your hand up in the crowd. It is a way to say, “here I am”. 

When you follow it and find others it is you saying, “There you are” and discovering others. 

WHO SHOULD USE IT

Anyone can use #socality. however, we encourage people who are sincere in building authentic relationships to incorporate it in their social posting.  #socality people are sincere in their desire to to connect with others around them and work together for the betterment of community and humanity. They are artists, creatives, leaders, community builders and people passionate about making a difference with their life. 

HOW TO USE IT

Here are some tips on how to use #socality to build community around you!

  1. Add it to your posts. Adding #socality to your posts will help identify you as part of the community and someone who is using their art for good.
  2. Engage with others who use #socality. Follow along and like and comment on others who are using this. Cultivate relationships through engagement, starting conversations and building bridges.
  3. Use Local Hashtags. In addition to #socality, it is very common that people include their local hashtags from where they live such as #socalityseattle, #socalitycalgary #socalitydallas etc…. Use these to find others around you and identify as someone who lives in that community. When traveling, search local hashtags to find others to connect with. 

THINGS TO WATCH FOR

  1. Finding your tribe is important. Often you can tell through images who you will connect with. Additionally, look for similar interactions between the people you know. Take time to cultivate these relationships but also be mindful when meeting up with people. It never hurts to be wise when building face to face in person encounters. Consider taking a friend and meeting in places of business like coffee shops etc.
  2. Don’t use the hashtag to spam others.  People want authenticity so make sure to use this hashtag for the right reasons and place it on content appropriate material. 

GO BUILD

Be a community builder and #socality ambassador by placing your best content forward and be someone who uses their art, caption and work to bring people together, encourage others and help others find authentic and meaningful relationships. 


Come And See | Day 6

By: Parker Green, Pastor of SALT Churches

Photo by: Justin Posey, Photographer

The most significant event in Christianity was the resurrection of Jesus. Without this nothing he said or did makes sense. Paul the Apostle would tell us to essentially pick up, go home, forget about it, if indeed the resurrection did take place; "we are of all men, most to be pitied".

Today we visited the site of Jesus' tomb in Jerusalem. But how does the western mind perceive the empty tomb? Usually at metaphorical distance, formal, maybe even factual; but effective in bringing God's promises to fulfillment in our everyday lives? That super-natural kind of everyday existence where at every turn the resurrection is available to us through the work of Christ?

It cannot be about willing or forcing this to take place. We've tried, and quickly found that our strengths become weaknesses when faced with the task of transformation. To be honest I think its about making room for it; giving room in our hearts and lives to The Resurrection and The Life.

It's the person of Jesus that makes all the difference. Not the principle.

Today's experience was never about the tomb. It was about the man that made the tomb famous by leaving it after being dead for 2 days. That's the kind of strength that can lay hold of the places in you that feel dead, and bring them to life.

After all, our narrative as followers of Jesus stays the same as his original followers: He's alive, and only a living person can transform your life.

So turn now from your old life, for the Kingdom of Heaven is now one of your options.

The door is open to life, the locks shattered by the king. 

He says simply as he said at the start, "come and see".


The Layers of the City | Day 5

Words by: Kohl Crecelius, CEO & Co-Founder of Krocket Kids Intl.

Photography by: Gareth Pon, Photographer

Jerusalem is an absolutely incredible city. Throughout our time here we have been able to experience a wide array of what this place has to offer. Visiting crowded holy sites, bustling markets, and little known restaurants have filled our days. Even more, we’ve had the pleasure of hearing from a number of speakers that have helped to shed light on the overwhelming complexities that exist in an area that is so important to so many people from a religious and geopolitical standpoint.

One of the things you learn while spending time in Jerusalem is that history isn’t pretty. Each new civilization that claimed authority over this region, brought with it conquest and destruction. New occupants would destroy existing structures and re-arrange the layout of the city in an attempt to prioritize their ideologies and make the city their own. The desecration of temples, walls, and houses became the literal foundation new civilizations and kingdoms were built on. Archaeological excavations have uncovered these layers and many of the stories they hold.

Now, it's important to note that the complexities that find their home in this region of the world don't only exist vertically in the layers of earth below the city, but horizontally amidst the people as well. The modern day climate of Israel is one of palpable tension. We spent one morning with a gentleman by the name of Dr. Danny Tirza. He was the main figure responsible for the plan and construction of the current wall that separates Jerusalem from the West Bank. (You can learn more about Dany in a recent Forbes article that features him HERE)

The wall itself is constructed from concrete walls that reach nearly 30 feet high, as well as a network of smaller chain-link fences that stretch for miles. The first thing that stands out when you view the wall is that only about 5% of it is made up of the tall concrete barriers whereas the rest is made up of the network of chain-link (a fact you would be hardpressed to find in communication by today’s global media).  

There are dangerous and competing narratives about the purpose this wall serves, and due to the fact that I am far from an expert on the issues I wanted to focus on two hopeful facts that stood out to me from this portion of our trip:

  1. In the end, the decision to build the wall was made after a barrage of attacks on people in Jerusalem that left hundreds of innocent people dead. Since the construction of this wall, the Israel Defence Forces continues to catch people headed towards Jerusalem with explosives, thus hundreds, if not thousands, of lives have been saved as a result.

  2. The wall was constructed in a way that makes it removable if and when the leaders of the Israel and surrounding regions can come to peace agreements.

On every level, this trip has been completely eye-opening. Amidst all of the new learning, the most important thing that I'll be taking away is clear: CONTEXT. I don’t leave with clarity on all my questions, and in many cases more questions were raised. I am not able to see pathways to clear solutions for the layers of issues that pervade the Middle East. However, I am leaving with a better understanding, a more complete awareness, and a heightened sensitivity for the challenges that face Israel and this region of our world.  

My hope for all of us who were on this trip is that we can take this context and information to engage in the issues more fully and lean into productive conversations and solutions.
 


Beautiful Resilience | Day 4

Words by: Joel Bear, Photographer

Photography by: Michael Matti, Photographer

Israel is marching forward. The Arab world is marching backwards. It’s not about a wall, a border or fence but coming to terms with Israel’s right to exists.
— Khaled Abu Toameh, Israeli Arab Journalist
Socality Israel - Day 6 - MichaelMatti-1.jpg

Dignity is the cry from both sides, the cry for the right to be heard. From the outside perspective of the news there's a solution to everything they see in the Middle East yet, from the voice of the people there's a constant problem longing to be solved. Some long to solve it, others deter the problem by perfection, yet it's both sides that need a savior.

Today we spent the day learning about the Israeli and Palestinian perspectives by venturing in Bethlehem, the Dead Sea and St. George's Monastery. All three have this in common, they are holding on to life.

The morning started off by hearing from Khaled Abu Toameh, an Arab journalist living in Israel, speak about 'the situation' as he calls the conflict surrounding Israel. "Israel is marching forward. The Arab world is marching backwards. It's not about a wall, a border or fence but coming to terms with Israel's right to exists." With this there are two Palestinians perspectives on the Israeli occupation. The 'radicals' who believes that Israel doesn't exist and shouldn't exist and the 'moderate' camp, stating you must give us 100 percent of Israel and only 100 percent. One camp doesn't want to make peace, the other can't make peace.

With that view we stepped in the the bus and headed to Bethlehem, a city that has expectation. We met with Christian pastor Dr. Naim Khoury who teaches in a mostly Muslim city. He opened his talk sharing: "To be blessed you really need to bless my people Israel... as a Christian my life didn't belong to me, if I live I live, if I die I die"

"Only God, only God can keep his promises to us....It is God and only God who can prosper. God be the glory and God is able."

"You can't hate the Arabs and love the Jews nor hate the Jews and love the Arabs." When you love Arabs and bring them to the Lord, you help the Jews."

As he's speaking this, we sat in the church in which he has placed speaker on the steeple, to share the Sunday message that reaches out over the city of Bethlehem, a Muslim city. The Muslim religion sends their prayers out over the city over speakers five times a day and this brave pastor shares the love of Jesus to those who want his demise.

Our third perspective was that of a Palestinian refugee.  With incredible love in his eyes he opened his talk with the statement: "You have two options as a refugee either to side with the problem or to be the few and strive to be the solution."

There are humans on both sides of the wall. There are victims on the other side of the wall. Bombs know no race. There are many perspectives about the refugee crisis but to hear his heart of bringing change through love and education was inspiring.

As we left, our mind dwelling on all three perspectives, Jews, Muslims and Christian's, the defining fact was the love for the people. Do you believe that this person has dignity? Is this person a human? Such conflict, yet such love.

One government caring for both sides existence and the other government looking for ones extinction.

As we stepped into the Dead Sea one can only think of the bleakness of the situation, but as I looked around at the growth and vegetation of Israel, there was resonance and resilience that was beautiful, a love that was overwhelming and a passion for peace that was inspiring. 


Loving our neighbor and the stranger | Day 3

Words by: Elena Baxter, Co-Founder of Conscious Magazine

Photography by: Ben Prescott and Zack Melhus, Photographers

We woke our tired bodies to seek the Israeli dawn. Not even the stars had yet retired as our small army of image bearers marched to climb the dusty hills of the Negev Desert. There are few wonders that can compare to a desert sunrise: she brought peace and promise of new mercies. We found the light, embraced the new morning, and were onward to Jerusalem. 

The Mahne Yehuda Market was mayhem, but it was honest and echoed generations of history and culture with the occasional nuance coffee shop. The excitement for the beginning of Shabbat was like hot neon racing through the tight quarters. We were amazed to find that in just hours, the market would empty out to just a quiet stone street without a trace of the former.

The Western Wall was a quick and powerful pause. It is a place of remembrance for Jewish people from the destruction they experienced. We became Israel in prayer and celebration. And we experienced the place of hope that is Israel. Shabbat dinner hosted by Nattie and Michelle of Shabbat of a Lifetime was miraculous. Collectively, we embraced the traditions as we revealed a little more of who we are to one another. Our hosts' unconditional hospitality taught us that we are to show love to our neighbor and to the stranger. We sang and broke bread, and then we toasted, and then we toasted some more and entered into rest together.


From Galilee to the Wilderness | Day 2

by: Jamie Out

Sweaty, covered from head to toe in fine desert dust, and the biggest smiles on our faces; the best ways to arrive to your bedouin style camp tucked away by a long since dormant volcanic crater.

On day two as we headed south towards Jerusalem, leaving the shores of the Sea of Galilee, the scenery changed dramatically from green vineyards and olive groves, to desolate rock fields and moonlike landscapes. The weather changed too. The spring weather in Israel was more relatable to our hottest summer days back home in Vancouver.

The first stop on our itinerary was to Ein Avdat, a nature reserve located in a the heart of the Israeli desert and Zin Wilderness. As the sun beat down overhead, we packed our camera gear, water bottles, and sun screen and walked the mile long trail snapping photos along the way. The highlights were certainly the views of the expansive canyon that looked like a scene from a Star Wars movie and the small Ibex that skirted across the steep hillside cliffs.

As we boarded back onto the bus, the air conditioning was a welcomed friend. Fortunately, we were about to get a lot more wind blowing through our hair as we drove up to Ramon Crater and were greeted by fifteen 4wd razors ready to transport us through the desert.

You could almost hear the anticipation and adrenaline beginning to flow as engine after engine roared to life and we drove off in single file along a twisting dirt track. The dust immediately began flying in our faces, but it didn’t stop the smiles from growing on our faces. As we got more comfortable with our vehicles, the gas pedals were pushed a little closer to the floor and the turns got a little tighter. It was the most fun I’ve had on four wheels. We stopped at some breathtaking viewpoints along the way which shared similarities to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Although I could have stayed the rest of the evening ripping around the desert, it was time to head to our camp site for the night.

We arrived to camp just as the sun was setting. Many of us ran off to photograph the last light dipping below the mountains and found ourselves in awe again of the beauty around us. Dinner was served in a comfortable open air tent and we talked late into the night around the fire. As I drifted off to sleep in my tent I reflected on the amazing day and opportunity that I was given to be here on this trip. We’ve only been here for two days, but it has already been incredibly impactful, not only with the places we’ve visited, but with the people who have come together to make it so unforgettable.


For such a time as this | Day 1

by: Rachael Baxter, Co-Founder of Conscious Magazine

Photos by: Joel Bear, Photographer

For such a time as this. God bless Israel

We awoke to a sunrise draping the Sea of Galilee. 35 creators and innovators traveled far and wide with a purpose to create community and radiate love towards the people of Israel.

MT. OF THE BEATITUDES

Day 1 started with a walk through the Mt. of Beatitudes. As we settled into our standing spot above the Sea of Galilee, overlooking the four-mile long Plain of Gennesaret, we were reminded that the New Testament records Jesus was in this area. There we were, sharing the ground where Jesus walked, taking in the hazy views above the sea, listening to the nature sounds from birds chirping with unique trills to bees buzzing around the flowers. We have followed in His footsteps and this was our moment in history.

While mesmerized by the views, we steadied our hearts as Pastor Parker Green read the Sermon on the Mount told in Matthew 5:3-11.

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. (Matt 5:3-11 KJV)

Pastor Parker shared how this very sermon announced the kingdom of heaven. And the Kingdom of heaven says to us, “despite class, education, appearance and the like, there is a seat at the table for all.” Amen. He continued with, “the Sermon on the Mount speaks to the deepest human need and fear: love and rejection, but as Jesus says, you are blessed if you are rejected.”

We finished with a prayer on the mount: “Thank you for your Son. Thank you for your Son…Help us to be present.”

CAPERNAUM

Next, we were on our way to Capernaum, a place between stone and history. As you walk through the gates you are welcomed by the words, “Capernum, the town of Jesus”. And as you continue forward, you are a witness to the layers of destruction and ruins dating back to a 3rd century synagogue. We joined Raj, co-founder of Israel Collective, in the ruins of a synagogue, where he read John 6:32-33 “Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”, He said, "Guys, Jesus said this in this very spot."

Our day continued on as we traveled to a Christian and Refugee village and met with Shadi, Founder and Chariman of IACA. Shadi is on a mission to save the Aramaic language and help integrate Christians into the Israeli society. We shared a beautiful moment when we recited the Lord’s Prayer in the Aramaic language.

SYRIAN BORDER

We were joined by Eliott who studied political and military sociology and is a military analyst specializing in counterterrorism.

As we stood facing the horizon of the Syrian Border, Elliott shared of the deep conflict and human tragedy taking place among the small country. In the middle of this beautiful land is civil, religious and ethnic war. However, we feel at peace. Collectively, our perspectives are changed. Pray for Israel. 

SEA OF GALILEE

Our day ended with a sail on the Sea of Galilee, a heart-shaped lake set among hills in northern Israel, it is one of the lowest-lying bodies of water on earth.

It was a celebratory evening surrounded by the deep blue hues of the water and the darkening blend of the blue-lit sky. There we were, chasing the last drop of light as the sun slowly set itself behind the mountains, setting the stage for a dreamy evening underneath Tiberias’ star packed sky.

The beauty of the Sea of Galilee is a scene of some of the most memorable events of Jewish history. 


Socality Leadership Summit 2017

Last year Socality was honoured to host its first ever Leadership Summit in Israel with 35 leaders, creators and innovators. This acted as a gathering week for these minds and creators to connect, dream and offer insight into social community innovation today. We partnered with Israel Collective who hosted us and allowed us to create a unique itinerary to our needs while at the same time showing us Israel and educating us around the history as well as the current geopological climate.

We are excited to return with another incredible group of leaders, creatives, and social entrepreneurs who are passionate about bringing change within their local communities. This trip will serve as another gathering week as we come together and discuss developing leadership in our communities for impact.

From May 1-10 we are excited be to sharing live daily recaps as seen through the lens of some of our guests. We hope that these offer insight and inspiration to you around the sights and sounds of Israel, the culture that is and was, and the modern lessons we can all learn from such a historical place.  Below is a list of our guests. Feel free to give them a follow and watch the story unfold through their eyes.


A World of Social Inclusion- Pope Francis speaks about discovering others in this social age.

by: Scott Bakken

Pope Francis has taken to this digital age to share a very relevant message. Typically, the Pope only address people via the Church so to use a contemporary platform such as TED is not only exciting to see, but also completely encouraging that modern forms of communication are being used to communicate such important messages.

Watch the talk from TED2017 here.

As I watched and listened, I was specifically touched by his second point. The Pope states,

How wonderful would it be if the growth of scientific and technological innovation would come along with more equality and social inclusion. How wonderful would it be, while we discover faraway planets, to rediscover the needs of the brothers and sisters orbiting around us. How wonderful would it be if solidarity, this beautiful and, at times, inconvenient word, were not simply reduced to social work, and became, instead, the default attitude in political, economic and scientific choices, as well as in the relationships among individuals, peoples and countries. Only by educating people to a true solidarity will we be able to overcome the "culture of waste," which doesn't concern only food and goods but, first and foremost, the people who are cast aside by our techno-economic systems which, without even realizing it, are now putting products at their core, instead of people.

This modern day is advancing so quickly. We are living in two spheres, earth and the social media stratosphere. When we are at home, out in public, or wherever we are, we are less present in these physical spaces than we are on our social spaces. We are buried in Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram, and we only come up for air for seconds before we descend into the abyss of never ending content.

The real question is why are we doing this? It could be that we are looking for human connection and validation. Notifications engage our endorphins and we are invigorated by likes and social engagement. However, the Pope reminds us in his profound message that as much as we are all looking to be found, so is everyone around us. We all have the same need; to be loved, to be heard and to matter.

The social sphere is here to stay and it is a powerful tool and an incredible way to connect. If we have learned anything from the past, it is that while nothing may be wrong with the system, we need to learn how to balance these worlds and use them to bring people together with a purpose. This will be our greatest challenge, but if we succeed it will be our greatest victory.

Pope Francis goes on to say

In order to do good, we need memory, we need courage and we need creativity. Yes, love does require a creative, concrete and ingenious attitude. Good intentions and conventional formulas, so often used to appease our conscience, are not enough. Let us help each other, all together, to remember that the other is not a statistic or a number. The other has a face. The "you" is always a real presence, a person to take care of.

May we understand the power of our creativity to tell each others' stories and to realize that everyone has a face and a name. When you come up for air from the social world, look another in the eyes, put down the phone, and truly see the 'others' around you. 


Socality Seattle | Community Excursion

April 1st was no joke in Seattle. We had over 150 creatives that showed up for some good hangs and connect with each other while hiking up Rattlesnake Ridge in North Bend, WA. Led by our local community members, Tanner (@tannerwendell) and Maria Stewart (@mariawendellstewart) this whole group gathered despite the rain. Thanks to our friends at Moment Lens who bought tons of pizza so all those hungry kids could be fed after the big hike.

Socality continues to create gatherings paces for people to connect on common ground. In this day and age of social media, so often people can feel more isolate than ever. We are joined to our devices but not to each other, yet we were made for human interaction. These community events are bringing people together for face-to-face encounters while allowing time and opportunity to create together and capture these moments.

Check out the video recap filmed by Kyle Kotajarvi (@kylekotajarvi). How awesome is it to see all the people coming together. Thanks to our co-hosts @charlottlelittlewolf, @joellefriend, @kylekotajarvi, @zmelhus, @hannah.aspen @zach_reed @jermzlee.

If you are looking for your local community, click the button below to find your local Facebook Group by region.


Planetshakers Conference Highlight

We were excited to take part in the 20th anniversary of Planetshakers Conference. This conference was started by Russell Evans with a passion to see young people changing their world and 20 years later the movement is going strong and growing faster than ever.

For Socality, this was an amazing opportunity to connect with the Australian community and meet many of the creative and innovative people who are doing significant work in their local communities.  Whether it was connecting around our photos walls and interactive booth or having deep conversations in and around the venue, we had a blast overseeing community engagement and sharing the stories of those in attendance.

Our Founder, Scott Bakken was invited to share about Socality, its’ origin, purpose, and mission from the stage with thousands in attendance. Along with our time at the conference, it was great to partner with Daystar TV for interviews and panels sessions that will be broadcasted to over 108 million homes in the USA alone. It’s exciting that building community for purpose is a message that is resonating with others and we are so thankful for the opportunity to get it out there through such great partners.

The live conference sessions were broadcasted out through Daystar and these were filled with energy, excitement, and passion from a crowd of world changers.

Downtime provided a few great opportunities to explore the sights and sounds of Melbourne. This world-class city has been ranked as the #1 most livable city and is filled with coffee shops, artisan baking, cafes, and cutting edge fashion. The streets are alive with creativity and this is evident in everything from the architecture to the the ever-changing graffiti walls in the alleyways. If you want to be inspired to create, Melbourne is a top destination. Just hours away, you can escape to the beauty of the Great Ocean Road and awe-inspiring landmarks like the 12 Apostles.

Overall, we are so thankful for our time in Australia and to see the Socality community growing. One of our core beliefs is that we value collaboration over competition. So much of ones success is directly linked to the people you are connected with and we are thankful to Pastor Russell and Sam Evans and our new family at Planetshakers and Daystar for helping grow this global Socality family.

Take a look through the gallery below for a number of images of highlights and people from our time at Planetshakers.


Transformation through Community Impact | Planetshakers

Impacting the community around you is a key characteristic of a successful movement or idea. We were able to sit down with Neil Smith and chat about Planetshakers and the impact they've had in the community locally and around the world. Read more below.

1. Beyond your church walls, how does Planetshakers engage and impact in the community

Planetshakers is active in many spheres of the community, especially contributing to areas of risk and need in the city. This includes planetUNI, our University Ministry that helps with integrating and settling international students, and PlanetBoom, our Youth Ministry that impacts teenagers through schools program and community outreaches. We also have Empower, the community arm of Planetshakers, and one of its focuses at the moment is assisting with settling Syrian refugees into local community.

Outside of Australia, Planetshakers is currently working in Papua New Guinea to bring sustainable change to one of our nearest neighbouring countries. This campaign is called “Believe 2017”, and will take place in August this year. Our strategy is to target the five spheres of leadership, business, education, health and church. We believe in speaking into the mindset of the nation by running leadership training and development. We believe in sustainable planning, employment and development in the realm of business. We believe in developing capacity in the nation through education. We believe making a transformational difference in people’s lives relating to health and hygiene. We believe in developing a church that is a committed to a transformational community approach. We believe that in focussing on these five spheres, we will unlock Papua New Guinea’s greatest strength and asset - her people.

2. What are some initiatives you have supported over the years and can you highlight a few stories?

In 2012, Planetshakers was a part of Carols in Docklands, an outdoor Christmas event. It was a free concert featuring chart-topping artists. We had in excess of 10,000 in attendance.

Speaking of Christmas, every year around December, we also do a gift-giving service in our church, where our congregation bring thousands of gifts to put under our Christmas tree. These gifts get distributed to solo parents, children of prisoners and other families who may not be able to afford gifts themselves.

We also support community causes through our offerings. In 2009, during the Victorian Bushfires, we took up a special offering in our services to aid families affected by the bushfire disaster. And every year, we take up an offering for Solo Parents to help bring joy and provision in the festive season.

3. What local communities does Planetshakers currently have significant presence in?

We have a significant presence at the moment in schools, universities, refugees and other marginalised communities. We run high schools programs in many schools in Victoria, sending our specialist schools team to run motivational and life-skills programs. We have a club on campus in most of the major universities in the state - Melbourne University, Monash, RMIT, Deakin. We run English classes for refugees as well as help them with food and provisions through our “Bag of Blessing” program. In every sphere we touch, we have a multicultural reach; one of the hallmarks of Planetshakers is that we are a “church for all”.

4. How do you see the work of Planetshakers translating/ impacting on a global scale?

I see Planetshakers beginning to step into discipling nations. We are now 20 years into our journey as a movement and 13 years old as a church. More than ever before, we are using all that we have learnt to build into nations. The Kingdom principles we have learnt established in our house can be applied to politics (leadership), business, education, health and, of course, the local church in any community. And God is opening doors for us to speak into nations and have global impact.

5. How do you see the church expanding beyond its own walls in years to come?

Over the years, we are blessed to be able to say that our expansion has been consistent and strong. Our strength has been built over time and we have expanded in capacity through doing the same thing over and over again. In the years to come, we will continue to build in our areas of influence and add to our existing initiatives as we see need and opportunity. The open doors we have encountered in Papua New Guinea is one such example and we expect that in the near future, the global body of Christ will be entering into a greater realm of discipling nations.


Niel Smith is the International Director of Planetshakers.

Follow Niel on Twitter

Connect with Planetshakers Instagram | Facebook | Website