After meeting for more than a year, your Ben Franklin Circle will have formed intimate bonds. Circles may choose to stop meeting regularly or continue to. Either way, it’s important to pause after the first 13 meetings and assess where you are as a group.
Your 13th BFC meeting is a discussion on the final virtue (usually Humility) with commitments. The final (14th) meeting is an opportunity to discuss how these commitments went as well as reflect on the experience as a whole.
Here are some suggestions for how to structure your 14th meeting:
1. Divide the meeting into two parts – the first part is the discussion on the previous virtue as you have done with previous meetings. The second part can be a bigger discussion of the experience as a whole.
- Where have you come from? Reflect back on your initial goals for participating in the Circle. What was your life like then? What were your hopes/fears/anxieties about joining the group and attending meetings?
- Where are you now? What is your life like now? What is your connection to the group now? What has changed for you over the course of the year? What virtue was your favorite/had the greatest impact on you? What virtue did you struggle with most?
- Where are you going? What lessons will you take with you from this experience?
- How do you want to stay engaged as a group?
- Do you want to continue meeting? Here are some ideas.
2. Acknowledge any mixed feelings, the sense of loss and mourning, as well as accomplishment and gratitude. As a facilitator your role is to help the group synthesize and celebrate their experience.
- Allow for more time for the final meeting.
- Make sure to create a way for your group to stay in touch even if you are no longer going to meet regularly. Create a group chat, an email chain, etc.
- Share a meal! One of our Circles ended their final meeting with a potluck dinner. The Host prepared a turkey in honor of Franklin!
- Expect ambivalent feelings. For some it can be an emotional experience. Some may feel some mourning. For more background, this article provides in depth overview of what to expect and how to facilitate a group that’s ending.