Central Appalachia: Navigating Uncertainty… | Training For Change

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Central Appalachia: Navigating Uncertainty…

Navigating Uncertainty, Backlash and Loneliness:
a training for Appalachian organizers searching for new tools and frameworks in an era of upheaval

This workshop is offered in partnership between TFC’s Organizing Skills Institute and West Virginia Can’t Wait. The workshop is only open to Central Appalachian organizers. Please see below for more information about who is eligible to apply.

Applications are closed.



The last several years have been upending. 

Many of us spent months behind closed doors, masked, apart from one another.  We lost people, from our days and from our lives. And as the specter of COVID lingered and shifted, political conditions and crises intensified. The creep of fascism, the threat of war, mass shootings, inflation, wildfire smoke, the mystery of AI – dislodging and disorienting news was everywhere.

And while all this unfolded, we faced acute challenges at home. Backlash against poor people, people who use drugs, folks seeking abortions, and trans people escalated, all while many of our meetings became smaller, our groups more fragile, our strategies fuzzier.  

Some of us responded by doubling down, submerging ourselves in work. We met, we marched, we posted. We said to each other, “We must. Now, more than ever.” Others stepped back in big ways. Some moved. Most are just doing their best to maintain. 

This training is offered as an acknowledgement of all of this. It’s offered as a place to take stock of what has unfolded, to open fully to what we’re seeing, to notice how the conditions impact us, move through us, and shape our behavior, groups, and plans. And it’s offered as a place to notice the choices we have in the midst of it all, for the sake of nurturing movements able to hold more complexity of this moment and the moments to come.

If you’re an Appalachian organizer who wants to gain new tools and frameworks for these times, this workshop is for you.


This is a new training, from Training for Change’s Organizing Skills Institute and WV Can’t Wait, designed just for these times. Attending this training means choosing to join an experiment with us.

Participants in this workshop will
  • Explore the conditions we’re operating in, and how those conditions manifest in bodies and psyches
  • Unpack assumptions about control and continuity that underpin our strategies, and try on new frameworks for strategy development in this era
  • Investigate what roles can be played in times of uncertainty, and where you might fit
  • Practice ways of operating, individually and collectively, that support your aliveness, as we navigate shifts and ruptures
  • Gain greater awareness about yourself
Who is this workshop for?

This workshop is open to all practicing Central Appalachian organizers. Due to the level of interest in this workshop, we will not be able to accept more than 3 participants per organization. We will ask groups with more than 3 applicants to help us choose their ideal team.

We will select final participants based on these criteria:

  • Are currently with a group, team or organization
  • Will likely be in Central Appalachia for at least the next 5 years
  • Have an interest in transformational change, both personally and politically
  • Are open to working with the unresolveable, the complex, the mysterious
Workshop format

This is a three day, in-person workshop. The workshop hours for each day are as follows:

  • Day One: Start 6:00pm, end by 9:30pm, dinner provided
  • Day Two: Start 8:00am, end by 9:30pm, breakfast, lunch and dinner provided
  • Day Three: Start 8:00am, end by 4:30pm, breakfast and lunch provided

*Times may be adjusted and shortened during the training to account for group needs. 

Though the hours of this workshop are long, we’ve found that the experiential style of this workshop helps keep people engaged, alert and energized through our time together. We will provide time for short and extended breaks within the agenda and encourage participants to take care of themselves so that they can stay fully present.

This workshop is designed as an experiential package with each session building on the previous. We want to create the best learning environment possible for participants to absorb the combined learning of each session and therefore we do not allow partial attendance.

Throughout the workshop there are multiple opportunities for discussion about specific questions or challenges that you may want to explore. As participants stretch themselves to become more skillful, strong emotions can surface. We do our best to support you to take care of yourself in this workshop and get the most learning out of challenging moments.

How much does it cost?

This workshop has a sliding scale fee of $100-$1,000 based on ability to pay. This fee covers lodging, workshop meals, trainer time and materials. Full scholarships, as well as childcare and travel stipends, are also available on a needs-basis.

Accessibility: Childcare and Physical Access
  • Onsite childcare is available for this workshop. Please let us know in your application whether you will be bringing children, and their age(s).
  • We have limited cash stipends available for parents and caregivers arranging care back home, to make the workshop more accessible. Stipends are offered on an as-needed basis.
  • This workshop will take place at a 4-H Camp. The grounds are relatively flat, have paved sidewalks and gravel paths. Most buildings are ADA compliant. Please let us know what physical access needs you have in the application form. We will work with you to maximize your participation.
What are the COVID protocols?

This is an in-person training. Our COVID protocols are as follows. If you have questions about these protocols, please contact us.

  • Participants will not be required to wear masks, though we will have some available or participants who choose to wear one.
  • If someone is determined to be sick at the training, we will disclose this to the group and ask this person to leave the workshop.
  • If you are exposed to COVID within 10 days before the training, we will ask you to show a negative rapid test the day before the workshop in order to attend.
  • If you would would like outdoor eating and/or private room accommodations due to COVID concerns, please indicate that in your application.