Wildfire Group Processes are roughly broken up into three phases:
Phase 1: Laying the Kindling
In the first phase of a group process, Wildfire program directors spend time with organizers and volunteers from the group in long-distance and in-person discussions to better understand the needs and strengths of the group, build an appropriate team, and develop a curriculum that combines essential trainings with specific content that meets the group’s real needs. During phase 1, the team also works to solidify a cohort of 15-30 people who will undergo the program, and raise the funds to carry it out so that participants can attend the program free of charge.
Phase 2: Striking a Match
The standard Wildfire program consists of three weekend-long seminars, once a month over the course of 3-5 months (depending on specific needs of particular groups). Each is based in or near the group’s organizing environment and combines a unique synthesis of political education, organizing skills training, group-building, and leadership development. The process also engages directly with the group’s active campaigns, generates effective work-plans and practice opportunities for the time between seminars, and strengthens the group’s strategic plan for the future. The time between seminars is spent continuing the organizing work the group is already engaged in with a renewed focus toward long-term goals, attention to themes covered in seminars, and new tasks the group generates for itself in order to practice and experiment with new skills learned.
Phase 3: Spreading the Wildfire
In truth, the real work begins after the program, as the group continues to grow and develop in action, using the tools gathered in training to become a cohesive, visionary, skilled, and politically grounded force in the movement. The Wildfire Project maintains contact with the group by supporting its organizers, offering continued training, connecting it to other Wildfire groups, and consulting when helpful. Most importantly, the group will have the opportunity to participate in trainings and convergences that bring Wildfire groups together to work across issue lines, continue to train, identify common objectives, go through trainings to become trainers themselves, and build shared structures for the movement work ahead.