Catch the Fire: An Art-full Guide to Unleashing the Creative Power of Youth, Adults and Communities

Catch the Fire: An Art-full Guide to Unleashing the Creative Power of Youth, Adults and Communities

by Peggy Taylor, Charlie Murphy


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The key to facilitating vibrant, deep, and motivating programs for youth and adults.

Community, youth, nonprofit, education, entrepreneurial, and religious organizations all have exciting ambitions, but they often lack the creative skills to impact people on a deeper level. Catch the Fire is a complete guide to using arts and empowerment techniques to bring greater vitality and depth to working with groups of youth or adults. Based on the premise that you don't have to be a professional artist to use the arts in your work, this unique book invites group leaders into the realm of creativity-based facilitation, regardless of previous experience.

Including over one hundred stimulating activities incorporating storytelling, theater, writing, visual arts, music, and movement, this detailed guide uses the Creative Community Model to:

  • Bridge gaps and unite people across generations and cultures
  • Build vibrant, creative learning communities with youth and/or adults
  • Fully engage participants and volunteers
  • Develop social and emotional intelligence
  • Take a deeper, more meaningful approach to learning

Drawing on nearly two decades of experience providing transformative programs to empower youth and adults across North America and around the world, Catch the Fire is a powerful and valuable resource and a much-needed reminder that art is for everyone!

Peggy Taylor and Charlie Murphy are co-founders of PYE Global: Partners for Youth Empowerment and developers of the Creative Community Model, a process for building creative, heart-centered learning communities with youth and adults from diverse cultures and socio-economic backgrounds. Peggy is co-author of Chop Wood, Carry Water: A Guide to Finding Spiritual Fulfillment in Everyday Life which sold over 250,000 copies worldwide.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780865717572
Publisher: New Society Publishers
Publication date: 01/07/2014
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 7.50(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Peggy Taylor is a writer, musician and creative development specialist, and is co-founder and Director of Training of PYE Global: Partners for Youth Empowerment. Together with Charlie Murphy, she has spent the past two decades developing the Creative Community Model, a process for building creative, heart-centered learning communities with youth and adults from diverse cultures and backgrounds. Peggy is co-author of Chop Wood, Carry Water: A Guide to Finding Spiritual Fulfillment in Everyday Life that sold over 250,000 copies worldwide. She is co-founder of Power of Hope, a creativity-based youth program in the Pacific Northwest and co-founder of Hollyhock, a learning center in British Columbia.

Charlie Murphy is renowned for his group facilitation and program design work integrating the arts into youth development. He is an award-winning musician with over 30 years experience in the field of experiential learning. Charlie is co-founder and CEO of PYE Global: Partners for Youth Empowerment. Together with Peggy Taylor, he has spent the past two decades developing the Creative Community Model, a process for building creative, heart-centered learning communities with youth and adults from diverse cultures and backgrounds. Charlie is co-founder of Power of Hope, a creativity-based youth program in the Pacific Northwest, and he is the recipient of an Ashoka Fellowship, in recognition of his achievements as a social entrepreneur.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction 1

Part 1 The Call for Creative Community

1 The Creative Imperative 11

2 An Arts-Based Model for Change 25

3 The Creative Spark 45

Part 2 Six Elements of the Community Experience

4 Powerful Beginnings: Building a Community 61

5 Theme-Based Sessions: Bringing Learning Alive 87

6 Engaged Reflection: Making Sense of It All 105

7 Community Arts Happenings: Becoming Creators of Culture 119

8 Conscious Closing: Optimizing the Learning 137

9 Empowering Performance: Getting Our Voices into the World 151

Part 3 Creative Facilitator's Playbook

10 Say It with Art: Visuals Arts and Crafts 165

11 Paint with Words: Creative Writing and Poetry 185

12 Raise the Curtain: Theater Improvisation 201

13 Imagine Change: Issues-Oriented Theater 225

14 Share Our Stories: Storytelling and Witnessing 233

15 Join the Chorus: Music, Rhythm and Dance 245

Part 4 Facilitation Tools

16 Building on Strengths 267

17 Working with Diverse Groups 273

18 Facilitating Across Generations 283

19 Creative Facilitation Checklist 289

Afterword 291

Notes 293

Index 297

About PYE 306

About the Authors 307

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"We need to do a better job of engaging future generations. Catch the Fire gives us hope for a future where young people and all of us are better able to access our humanity and creatively respond to the challenges we face. I encourage anyone who seeks to work across generations to build a more compassionate and empowered world to read this book."
— Bishop Desmond Tutu, South African social rights activist and retired Anglican bishop

"The arts are the languages of the soul that express and define the best and worst of what we are and could be. They are also powerful tools for change. Catch the Fire is full of living examples of how the arts enable us to connect deeply with our own humanity across generations and cultures, while providing us practical tools that can transform us, our communities, and the world around us. (PYE power!)"
— Peter Gabriel, musician

" Catch the Fire is contagious, hot, transformative. If you want to ignite creativity, cooperation and collaboration, if you are engineering world change, this is your guidebook."
— Marika Partridge, Radio Producer, former Director of NPR's "All Things Considered"

"PYE has impacted the lives of hundreds of vulnerable young people in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Catch the Fire brings the underlying principles of the Creative Community Model to life and makes them accessible and engaging. It's a must read for anyone involved in youth development."
— Priscilla Higham, Founder and Program Director, African Solutions to African Problems

"I've seen the positive, health enhancing effects of the Creative Community Model first-hand through my daughter's participation in Power of Hope Camps: increased confidence, personal growth, and enthusiasm for life. Catch the Fire is now making this approach widely available for anyone who wants to have a positive impact on the lives of young people. I highly recommend it."
— Andrew Weil, MD, leader and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, author of numerous books including Spontaneous Healing

"Some people think education is about filling buckets. Peggy Taylor and Charlie Murphy know it's more about lighting fires. Catch the Fire is an unmatched tinderbox for kindling fires of creativity. Proceed without caution. Don't keep away from children."
— Eric Utne, founder, Utne Reader

" Catch the Fire shows you how to tap into the deeper streams of meaning in your work with youth and adults in a way that is joyful and transforming for you as well as those you work with. The Creative Community approach that Charlie, Peggy and their team have honed over the years is both practical and soulful. I believe in these people and this work, and I wholeheartedly endorse this powerful guide to awakening hidden wholeness across the generations."
— Parker J. Palmer, educator, activist and author of Let Your Life Speak , The Courage to Teach , and Healing the Heart of Democracy

"In Catch the Fire , Taylor and Murphy make the powerful argument that not only are the arts an important part of human development, they are essential to being alive. This practical handbook helps us find our way back to ourselves...and each other. And through sharing their experiences of creating spaces that change the world, teach us how to do the same in our own work and lives. A gem of a book."
— Priya Parker, MBA, Innovation Consultant, Founder, Thrive Labs

"Every young person deserves to discover the vision and creativity that is uniquely theirs. I know no better magicians that can show us how to do that than Peggy Taylor and Charlie Murphy. Catch the Fire is the essential guidebook for anyone who cares about young people."
— Joanna Macy, PhD, environmental activist, Buddhist Scholar, author, Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We're in Without Going Crazy

"Peggy Taylor and Charlie Murphy's unique approach to empowerment and leadership unlocks the creative potential within young people helping translate their gifts into real-world outcomes. I have directly witnessed the impact of their model on young people and have been thoroughly impressed. I also have personally experienced their approach when applied with adults. As an experienced intercultural leadership and diversity trainer, facilitator and consultant, I am thankful for the new and innovative approaches that Peggy and Charlie are introducing to the world through this important book."
—Amer F. Ahmed, educator, intercultural diversity consultant, urban arts and social justice activist, poet

"In Catch The Fire , Peggy Taylor and Charlie Murphy offer an inspirational and eminently practical arts-based guide for helping young people heal from trauma, tap into their creativity and aliveness, and move forward with new passion and purpose. By integrating the honoring spirit and practical tools in this true gem of a resource, organizations that serve adolescents will be given the means to turn up the heat — providing a dynamic program that results in more compassionate, hopeful, and engaged young people and staff."
— Robin Casarjian, Executive Director, Lionheart Foundation sponsor of The National Emotional Literacy Project for Youth at Risk, co-author of Power Source: Taking Charge of Your Life

" Catch the Fire is filled with thrilling, enlivening and deeply transformative stories that speak to the power of practices and ideas that fuel capacities for powerful social change through inter-generational connection. It illumines the essence what we human beings can create when we experience ourselves as part of communities that are nurturing, curious, strong, ingenious and filled with the power of love in action. Thank you Peggy and Charlie for providing a map into new territories – both the inner and outer landscapes of a bolder and more beautiful tomorrow."
— Shakti Butler, PhD, social justice scholar, filmmaker, and speaker; Founder, World Trust Educational Services, Inc.

"In my thirty years as a teacher and school administrator in Canada and Asia, this is the most exciting and successful model for working with young people I have encountered. I have seen it work it's magic in such diverse settings as a camp for youth on a farm in rural Canada, a gathering of young people affected by HIV/AIDS in Uganda, a weekend program for teenage urban women, and a class of seventh graders in an International School in Vietnam. While built around the arts, the creative community model is about connecting young people to one another, awakening them to the power within themselves and helping them see the potential they have to positively impact the world around them. Catch the Fire is a must have book for anyone who works with youth."
— Donna Bracewell, former principal of Linnaea School in British Columbia, Canada; teacher at the United Nations International
School of Hanoi, Vietnam

"Charlie and Peggy's approach is empowering not just for middle class youth and adults in North America but is transformational for youth who live in poverty in different parts of the world in a wide range of religious and cultural contexts. It is magical to see divides dissolve as youth experience their shared humanity and acceptance in mixed income groups. In Catch the Fire they now generously make available the tools they use to create unbounded joy and possibility where ever they work."
— Deepa Narayan, PhD, international poverty, gender, and development advisor, author of forthcoming book, Stirring India's Soul .

"Charlie Murphy and Peggy Taylor honor young peoples' yearnings to build a more just and peaceful world by proclaiming: "We don't have to just consume the culture we have. We can co-create the culture we need." By bringing the expressive freedoms of rock & roll to the passionate desires of soul & role, they show how social arts and inner work empower cultural creativity in young leaders — and in everyone willing to Catch the Fire ."
— Rick and Marcy Jackson, Co-Founders, the Center for Courage & Renewal

" Catch the Fire is an extraordinarily important book. Peggy Taylor and Charlie Murphy have crafted an arts-based method for creating transformative community for young people. The method works equally well for people of every age. I have witnessed their work and it is amazing. Catch the Fire shows you how you can adopt the method to your group work."
— Michael Lerner, PhD, President, Commonweal, a health and environmental research center in Bolinas, California

"Peggy and Charlie's programs work brilliantly. I have experienced them myself and seen amazing positive transformations in my sons and other young people. These two remarkable leaders have gone further by making their skills transferable, very effectively training others to lead empowering programs. Catch the Fire takes the process yet further, making their insights and experience widely accessible. It is engaging, clear, practical and inspiring. A treasure trove."
— Rupert Sheldrake, PhD, biologist and author of A New Science of Life and Science Set Free

"Peggy Taylor and Charlie Murphy have created a methodology for unleashing the human spirit that is sheer magic. They are igniting cultural evolution in a way that is teachable and scalable. This book shares their secrets in accessible, generous and effective language and style. The creativity and unleashing of the human spirit they empower, will be one of the emotional revolutions of these times. Every teacher, ceo, counselor, politician, medical professional, and wealth manager needs to read this book."
— Joel Solomon, leader in socially responsible business, President, Renewal Partners

"Everywhere we turn, we find that people are ready to create the future they are dreaming of by rebuilding communities. Catch the Fire offers practical and inspirational tools for teachers, community leaders and ordinary folks to empower communities to come together and engage in fun, creative activities that will build the foundation for greater personal self esteem and dynamic, vital human connections and community engagement."
— Edgard Gouveia Júnior, architect and urbanist, co-creator of the Oasis Game, and Fellow of the Ashoka Foundation

"The Creative Community Model has been a game-changer at Dream A Dream. It has helped us transform our philosophy and approach to "Building a Community of Change-Makers" starting with ourselves. It has brought more authenticity in our work and helped us create powerful transformatory experiences in thousands of young people across India."
— Vishal Talreja, Executive Director, Dream a Dream, life skills program in Bangalore, India

"Filled with moving examples of how the arts can change the world, Catch the Fire tells the inspiring story of one of today's most innovative and successful examples of social artistry: Partners for Youth Empowerment. Taylor and Murphy's excellent book is also a practical guide in how to use the arts for empowerment and community building, complete with innovative and easy-touse tools and exercises so that you too can help your groups Catch the Fire ."
— Robert Gass, EdD, Co-Founder Rockwood Leadership Institute

"Peggy Taylor and Charlie Murphy teamed up 18 years ago, blending their talents and experience to help youth find confidence, leadership, and motivation through arts-based learning. Their approach is magical in its ability to access youth, who universally claim they receive hope, strength, new skills, and love at programs based on these methods. Catch the Fire is a generous book full of wisdom, fun activities and practical tools to assist anyone wanting to use arts-based teaching with both youth and adults. It makes a real contribution in how to help youth grow into happy and successful people. And it's all generously laid out for you to work with and make your own."
— Torkin Wakefield, Co-Founder, Bead for Life povertyeradication program

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