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Univ. Becoming More Fully Human
cover Satir Family Camp

An Intentional Community

Elsa Ten Broeck,M.S.W. •
Mary D.Garrison, L.C.S.W.

280 pages
ISBN 978-0-8314-0094-1

Virginia’s Visionary Development of
Intentional Communities

In 1977, Virginia Satir created a community known as Satir Family Camp, which brought families to live together in the wilderness for one week each year. That community continues to this day, as both a living legacy to Virginia and one of her best-kept secrets. This book is the first written account of Satir Family Camp (SFC) and the therapeutic work Virginia did there. It shares the camp’s history and describes how the community has grown and changed over the years. Using stories, illustrations, and photographs, the book demonstrates how SFC utilizes Virginia’s theories, techniques, and teachings to support and guide a unique communal experience now being shared by a third generation of Satir Family Campers.

We use two voices to depict SFC. In one voice, we describe the history and tell the stories; in another, we analyze the different stages of intentional community development. This book shows how a community of families can live together and practice Virginia’s principles for “becoming fully human.” It also discusses some of the significant challenges the community has faced over the past quarter-century .Growing beyond Virginia’s initial dream, the camp has not only survived for over twenty-five years but has thrived even in the most difficult of times. We include an analysis of how Virginia both created some of those challenges and provided the knowledge and skills to deal with them.

Throughout this retrospective, readers find stories and statements that reflect the experiences of Satir Family Camp members as well as friends and colleagues from Virginia’s life. In some places, we have quoted people directly; in others, we describe events that happened at camp. To assure confidentiality, we have changed the names of campers who participated in those events. To help illustrate how the SFC community developed, we have also created certain stories. The characters in those stories are composites rather than actual campers. In all instances, actual or fictional, we have tried to be faithful to the voices of the people who are or who have been part of the community.

Finally,readers can discover how Virginia’s life, principles, and models influenced and shaped the wonderful mystery of this intentional community. After careful study of her work and discussions with her colleagues, we also postulate a model of community development that we believe Virginia might have envisioned.

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