We have running our weekly local gift circle here now for 5 weeks.
And its interesting to observe how it evolves.
We have around 7-11 people show up for each circle so far, with some people being regulars and some new people each time.
We start with a check-in where we share our names and a little bit about how we doing. This helps create a communal feel to the group.
Then we share our needs. We have experimented with doing this in pairs, triples, quads, and also with the whole group. When we do it in smaller subgroups we get a chance to go in depth some more into our needs. Then we bring to the larger group a listing of all the needs we came up.
As we talk about our needs others will often jump in and say I can help with that e.g. someone said they needed a 50 ft ethernet cable and someone else said I have that. Or someone will say they need help babysitting and someone else will say they can help.
There seems to be a natural draw to help out our fellows.
Then we write down on a slip of paper what services we would like to gift into the middle of the circle or to specific individuals. If we put down our slip into the middle, everyone is then free to pick it up to claim it.
So far we have had a wide variety of services and things gifted – massages, money consulting, web design help, marketing help, store help, tarot readings, meals, book help, editing help, dogwalking help, raccoon scaring help :), vegetables, towels, computer ware, toiletries, space heater, a mountain bike, people to hike with etc….
Then at the end we have some time set aside for people to connect with each other, and figure out when they can get together to exchange services.
What the circle has done is created a bit of sense of community. People get to know each other inside the circle, and also outside when they connect to exchange circles. And its given a feeling that we can support each other.