It’s almost New Year’s for everyone as the calendar prepares to roll over into 2024; but here at Firefly, things are feeling especially fresh. The incredible amount of rain we experienced this year at our 2023 Annual Gathering brought with it a deluge of reflection on our values and how to better align our actions with them. It’s easy in an organization the size and scope of Firefly to get caught up in the flow, and it can be difficult to identify where and how changes need to be made.
This kind of realignment is the challenging and introspective work that Firefly has been focused on since June. As a result, there are a lot of changes in store for our organization and our extended community this year, and we are excited to finally share them!
First, we have a newly revamped mission/vision/aims statement to better guide Firefly on its course, bringing more focus and thus effectiveness to our work. This was a deeply collaborative process for our organization, with many insights and perspectives helping to bring it to life. You can read this updated statement, and check out our main aims as an organization here!
With the help of feedback, we are also revamping how classes are organized, hiring multiple new positions on both our perennial and annual gathering staff to help everyone feel more supported, taking big steps to pay our staff a living wage, stepping up our Board of Directors, and more,
Most exciting, however, is our news about Firefly Gathering 2024 : we’re moving!! We have held three events at Deerfields over the years, and while we are sad to leave the land that we have come to know and love, this is another important shift to move forward in our work and integrity.
And so, The Firefly Gathering is announcing its 6th location in our 18 years of existence- the Wild Human Preserve, located on the beautiful and untamed Toe River in Green Mountain, North Carolina. We are excited for this move and feel very aligned with the principles of our new venue. With stunning panoramic views and an endless riverfront to explore, we feel like this land is going to be a lovely container for our event. We can’t wait to explore the 70 acres of this preserve together, reachable within an hour from Asheville!
Images Provided by Wild Human Preserve
Amazingly, Steve (the land owner) reached out to Firefly right as we were moving to Deerfields to offer us his venue. At that time, we were excited about all that Deerfields had to offer, so we politely turned him down. Since then, Steve has renovated a beautiful 2300 square foot Historic Hay Barn with an open dance floor and stunning views, an 1100 square foot covered stage/pavilion with a large grassy dance space in front, a lovely tiny house, and more…plus, as we swim in the river to cool off between classes, we are likely to encounter otters!
As reflected in our updated Vision, Mission, and Aims, Firefly Gathering envisions a world where everybody is empowered with multi-generational perspectives, wisdom and earthskills, handcrafting a beautiful and harmonious reality in which all beings thrive. The Annual Firefly Gathering is a vital part of our mission to inspire and empower the people of the Southeast by offering opportunities to connect with self, community and the natural world. As a part of this work, we are working with the Original People, talking a lot, listening even more; asking hard questions that are even harder to answer.
It’s not easy work, and sometimes feelings get hurt as we push into tender territory and hold boundaries against a rambunctious and riotous reality. But in the end, the ability to stand tall, shoulder to shoulder, knowing that we do everything we can to create the kind of reality we wish to pass on for generations to come is what guides us. Standing firm in love and freedom, and dismantling greed, racism, sexism, homophobia and other fear-based oppressive ideologies is what keeps us focused and moving forward in these challenging times.
2024 is going to be a big year for all of us. With an election on the horizon, the ongoing Genocide in Gaza and the general unrest in the Middle East, the humanitarian crisis in Sudan and the Congo, Ukraine, the climate crisis, and the multitude of social issues we face as capitalism and colonialism unravel, the importance of leaning into deep connections that nurture our spirits and our growth becomes clearer each day.
This New Year, commit to staying connected, and to co-creating a world where everybody can thrive. The survival of our species calls for a profound philosophical shift in the way we relate to the natural world. Earth and its beings need loving, capable and fierce advocates right now. Won’t you join us?
Learn more about the Annual Firefly Gathering and our upcoming Early Bird Sales for Full Passes through the link below. We can’t wait to see you there!