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Grindstone's 20th anniversary

Lynn Harrison — June 1983

Imagine spending a weekend with people who share your dedication :0 a cause: making new friends, discussing the issues, and planning solutions. Imagine being far away from the city, and having a chance for quiet, personal reflection. Sounds good, doesn’t it? That’s what People at Grindstone Island Centre have been doing for twenty years.

The Island is located between Kingston and Ottawa. Ii used to be the summer home of the first admiral of the Canadian Navy, until it was leased to the Quakers for a minimal fee in 1963. When the time came to sell the Island, Diana Kingsmill, who was involved in labour and various social causes, offered it to members of the peace movement who purchased it in 1975.

The Island Centre is owned and operated by the Grindstone cooperative, which was formed in 1976, and now has close to 300 members. All work and decision-making is done on an equal basis, and people can become members by buying shares in the coop.

Weekend workshops take place throughout the summer in five areas of study: the peace movement: coop living as an economic alternative; energy and the environment; tools for social change, including the roles of music and the media; and personal and community value,, involving women’s and children’s workshops. These workshops are initiated both by Grindstone coop itself and by separate organizations who work out programmes and rates with the coop.

Fifty-five people may attend each weekend. Although most participants are members of existing groups, the workshops are also open to interested individuals. Stansead Warren, one of the Island’s three coordinators, says the workshops are a means of Strengthening ties within the movements themselves; the weekends are a time for networking.’

This year there will be three workshops devoted to peace issues. The first, to be held June 3-5, is called ‘Peacemaking: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow’. It will celebrate Grindstone’s twentieth year as a centre for peace education. Those involved will take a historical perspective and benefit from the others’ experience.

The second peace workshop takes place on Augnst 7 — 12, and is called ‘Grindstone Island School for Peace’. This is a chance for analysis of peace issues: examining the causes of conflict between nations, and developing strategies to strengthen the peace movement.

On September 2-5, connections between feminism and non-violence will be explored under the heading ‘Women and Militarism’. The weekend will consist of workshops in such areas as class relations and military policy, planning for continued action in the interrelated peace and women’s movements.

Suzanne Warren says that there has been an increased response to Grindstone’s peace education programs as the peace movement itself has grown. The Spirit of cooperation grows very quickly in a weekend on the Island, and people return to the city having made valuable contact with members of other groups like their own. On thirteen acres there are few distractions. There is a chance for group discussion, individual thought, and a reinforcement of the values already held by people who are dedicated to peace. For more information about Grindstone Island Centre and its programs, phone (416)xxx-xxxx, or write to Box 504 Station P, Toronto Ontario, M5S 2TI.