Some years ago, Natalie Bogwalker and Kaleb Wallace had a vision – a vision of a gathering unlike any that had existed before; a place where people could come together cyclically and trade skills, materials and foods from other geographic bioregions; a place where we could celebrate our hands and the many things that they have learned how to do; a place where we could be wild and free with like-minded friends; a place to co-create a radical and vibrant culture and community of sustainability.
After ten years of building the dream, Natalie announced that she was stepping aside and handing things over to Chloe Tipton, a bright and powerful young woman who grew up here in these very hills. Ever since, Chloe has been working towards building Firefly’s resiliency, stability and its community of support.
Now, Firefly is almost a full-fledged nonprofit organization, we have a new home that we simply adore, and we have a core family of staff members who support and love each other. Last year, Marissa Percoco began training as the co-coordinator to help split the mountain of complexities that arise in organizing as large as the Firefly Gathering. The timing couldn’t have been better, because after the 2019 gathering, Chloe’s health took a turn for the worse.
The succinct story is that Chloe has relapsed with advanced chronic lyme disease, with additional complications related to a severely compromised immune function. In a letter to the board of directors and staff, Chloe stated, “I have only recently realized the severity of the situation. Recovery will take at least a year and will be best aided by reducing my stress and responsibilities. My work with Firefly has been very dear and meaningful for me, and I hope to return in better health.” In this letter, she also announced her resignation from Firefly for the time being.
Stepping into the role of executive director is Marissa Percoco, a longtime member of the Firefly family. Marissa attended her first Firefly in 2010 as an instructor and then became the youth programs coordinator in 2015. For 2019, she became event co-coordinator and will now be our executive director for 2020.
Marissa states that she “is excited about continuing to build a tight-knit web of people who will share the varied responsibilities of Firefly together, as well as a sense of community and family. I’m grateful to have learned as much as I did last year, so that now Chloe can get the time she needs to heal. She’s an amazing human, and we all love her.” Marissa is excited about the opportunity to continue working on many plans that she and Chloe have dreamed up together, as well as continuing on with the Firefly tradition of land-based living, community and skills.
Stepping into the role of co-coordinator is Madison Moore, our amazing site manager extraordinaire and longtime Firefly attendee. Read next month’s newsletter to learn more about Madison and what she’s excited to bring to Firefly.