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Turn Around America Project Summary Report

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  • Damian J. Anderson
    *TAP Baltimore, MD March 21,2013* *Turnaround America Project * *Summary Report* Introduction This is a summary report regarding the recent “Turnaround
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 22, 2013

    TAP Baltimore, MD March 21,2013
    Turnaround America Project 
    Summary Report

    Introduction

    This is a summary report regarding the recent “Turnaround America Project” (TAP) strategic 
    planning session held from March 15th -17th, 2013 at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel near the 
    BWI Airport. Forty-eight Americans and two Canadians participated in the highly interactive 
    program with the aim to draft a strategic framework to best address the social, cultural, political 
    and security crises that appear to be overwhelming America and the world. 

    The group included many of the original “Top Gun” AFC leaders, along with numerous 
    professional experts, organizational heads, several second generation unificationists and 
    Unification community leaders. This effort is foundational and anticipates the engagement of 
    manycommitted people who could not be present for this meeting.

    Outreach for the planning session included a special effort to engage and energize young adults 
    who have an interest in social, cultural and political affairs. The time frame for the current 
    planning was based on the 2020 scope of the next seven years. All participants covered their own 
    expenses of travel, meals and accommodations. 

    Following True Fathers Seong Hwa along with the 2012 US elections, it became urgently clear 
    that we must come together, develop a common vision and chart a sustainable course whereby 
    first and second generation activists can effectively work together for the sake of America and 
    the whole world. It was clearly understood that we all share the primary responsibility to be 
    actively engaged with the growth of FFWPU based on a revival of teaching the Divine Principle. 
    At the same time, as citizens who care for our nation, we must improve our capacities to make an 
    impact in society. We also see the critical need and opportunity to connect, educate and activate 
    allied organizations, leaders and concerned American people who represent the “Abel sphere,” 
    which is likely more than 70 million individuals. 

    The TAP weekend grew upon the foundation of a series of working conferences held over the 
    past several years in Las Vegas consisting of former AFC members primarily from Western 
    states, together with more recent working sessions held in New York and New Jersey with UPF 
    and other Unificationists from East Coast states. The common thread of all this work is to 
    effectively organize in order to make impact on the local, state and national level guided by 
    providential patriotism based on the many years of investment of True Parents in America. The 
    hearts of all who attended were united through HDH readings, sincere prayers and spirited songs. 
    Program and Agenda

    From the start, we agreed on the following ground rules: 

    * Alignment: Focus on what God’s Providence needs, how can we best coordinate our efforts.
    * Responsibility and ownership: Be responsible as adult children of God and True Parents.
    * Pro-active: We are here to address how to best move forward based on the foundation TP 
    have established, not to complain about transition issues and conflict.

    TAP Baltimore, MD March 21,2013 Page 1

    * Engagement: This will be a working meeting (and process) that requires everyone’s genuine 
    participation; no irrelevant presentations.
    The desired outcomes and objectives for the TAP gathering included the following: 
    * Kick-off a process to develop a national “Turnaround America” grand strategy by using a 
    trusted planning process
    * Clarify needs to set forth a capacity-building hub to provide content, tools, training and 
    support for individual and collective effectiveness
    * Address the need to unleash creativity and upgrade the professionalism of our people and 
    their networks 
    * Develop a sustainable, organizational framework that is solution-oriented, making positive 
    impact in our communities/tribes, as well as throughout the nation and world
    * Develop a relevant, comprehensive and compelling series of training and communications 
    materials (consider “CAUSA for the 21st Century”), using a critique and counter-proposal 
    approach, to address various areas of family, social, national and global breakdown along 
    with America’s global leadership role

    The agenda of the TAP weekend was crafted by a coordinating team of committed folks from the 
    West Coast and East Coast working groups through weekly conference calls. Below is a 
    summary of what was covered throughout the course of the weekend: 

    * Friday, March 15 – Opening reception and fellowship, sponsored by The Washington Times 
    * Saturday, March 16 – Day to gather intelligence & start shaping ourselves

    Opening comments and orientation 

    Personal introductions

    We started our program with table-by-table discussions of each person's goals and their purpose 
    for being here. These were all noted for all to see on a 4’x16’ sheet of chart paper. 
    Field updates, critical issues, and framing a national agenda

    Overview reports from Mike Smith on the work of the West Coast Group, from Lourdes Swarts 
    on the work of the East Coast Groups, from CPAC attendees and from The Washington Times.
    Aligning with providential priorities 

    Dr. Michael Balcomb helped focus the national church priorities:

    1. Witnessing
    2. Tribal Messiah effectiveness
    3. 20/20 project
    4. Moral Enlightenment
    5. Civic Engagement
    6. Unity of N/S Korea

    The church will be focusing on the top three and the TAP group will focus on the bottom 
    three, which can be defined as civic engagement.

    TAP Baltimore, MD March 21,2013 Page 2

    Leveraging providential assets 

    We then had reports and discussion about the activities Providential Assets like UTS, Barrytown
    College, The Washington Times, The Times Foundation, UPF, AFP, ACLC, WFWP and ICRF.
    Working lunch: Family and Social Landscape

    Cheryl Wetzstein, a veteran reporter from The Washington Times, delivered an overview on 
    family and social issues, including marriage, divorce, adoption, cohabiting, parenthood, teens, 
    sexuality, mental health, substance abuse, abortion, welfare, poverty and family structure. Cheryl 
    gave a compelling report on the state of marriage in the US and discussed upcoming Supreme 
    Court decisions on DOMA and Prop 8 from California.

    Capacity-building planning session 

    The next session discussed the importance of continuing professional development for each of 
    our members and looked at the ideological content available to our members in the war of ideas.
    Dr. David Burgess reported on 'headwing' development, Dr. Robert Beebe addressed the 'God 
    or No God' debate and Dr. Panzer discussed Relationship Intelligence youth education, which 
    supports the Principle perspective on man/woman relationships based on brain research, 
    psychology, social science, as well as public health. This kind of education is also very fundable 
    as he shared that $8 million in grants were received from 1998 to 2013 for education in NY/NJ .
    David Eaton gave an insightful critique and counterproposal of popular culture from a 
    Unification Thought perspective. Jim Gavin outlined the development of a Freedom and 
    Responsibility approach to address secularism and the unbridled growth of government. Tom 
    McDevitt talked about the need to re-establish Americas true identity and leadership role in the 
    world for the 21st century.

    We discussed the many friends and partners we have cultivated over the years and the need to 
    give them some way to solidly connect with and contribute to our work for the greater public
    good. The group discussed the development of technology in the recent years. (PowerPoint is
    dead according to 2nd Gens who were there) The ability to communicate and learn via the 
    internet has made the power of Principle more available to more people than ever.

    It was repeatedly stated, throughout the day, that the group was committed to develop a bedrock 
    series of curricula and training tools, utilizing our best experts, and to work to monetize this into 
    marketable programs, so we have needed resources to self-fund and amplify our core messages.

    Dinner session: Global Security Threats

    Bill Gertz, National Security columnist and author The Washington Times and the Washington 
    Free Beacon gave a comprehensive and alarming summary of trouble spots around the world. 
    His briefing included disconcerting trends in China, jihadist terrorism, Russia, the Middle East
    and security threats in Mexico and South America. 

    Evening reflection, fellowship and prayer

    Tom McDevitt facilitated heartfelt songs, prayers, observations and testimonies, to close the day.

    TAP Baltimore, MD March 21,2013 Page 3

    Sunday, March 17 – Day to further map out our game plans

    Opening session – Dr. Michael Balcomb

    On Sunday Morning, Dr. Balcomb spoke to us next with a heartfelt and frank presentation. He 
    outlined the challenges of our movement, his commitment to help True Mother pull the 
    movement together and his absolute focus to double membership of the church by the end of 
    2013. Dr. Balcomb also shared a special message from True Mother to the Top Gun group.
    His discussion of True Mother’s willingness to do whatever’s necessary showed her commitment 
    to spiritual care for members and real church growth results. Dr. Balcomb affirmed the 
    American tradition of 'Voluntary Association' to proactively work to solve problems without 
    waiting to be told.

    He spoke at length about the role of the elder son in many cultures and especially in Confucianist 
    cultures. True Father invested many years in America, repeatedly demonstrating how a highly 
    effective, God-centered leader thinks and acts. American leaders have been blessed with more 
    direct experience with Father and Mother than the leaders of most other nations. The ‘Elder Son’
    is responsible to make sure the younger children understand the family ideals and to help if they 
    are falling short. They are responsible to act as 'Dutch Uncles' to other families as well, speaking 
    of their experience with Father and coaching them for the ideals.

    How to use a strategic planning model

    We followed a strategic planning model suggested by Peter Foss, former VP of Marketing for the 
    FranklinCovey Company. These sessions were facilitated by Don Sardella, who has been
    working as a management consultant and business development coach for the past 25+ years.
    The strategic planning process helps answer the questions: 

    * 'Where are we now'
    * 'Where are we going'
    * 'How will we get there' and 
    * 'How will we measure our progress'? 

    Step ONE: Where are we now? 

    The group conducted a comprehensive SWOT analysis process (strengths, weaknesses, 
    opportunities, threats) in the morning and had a fast paced brainstorming process. The group also
    mapped the many high level contacts and organizations that are accessible to us.

    Step TWO: Where are we going? 

    On Sunday afternoon, we worked on the 'Where are we going' question. Vision (what we see) 
    mission (what we do), purpose (why we act) and priorities (what is most important).
    Step 3 and step 4 will be conducted on line, after some further reflection and processing time.

    Working lunch – Dr. Michael Jenkins

    Dr. Michael Jenkins, who serves as director of business assets, briefed the group about our
    movement’s businesses. He also expressed his deep concern that we support True Mother in this 
    time after Foundation Day.

    TAP Baltimore, MD March 21,2013 Page 4

    Reflections, closing prayer, fellowship and farewells for now

    One important point should be noted, related to the spiritual atmosphere and core foundation for 
    this meeting. This conference was suffused with an abundance of music and prayer. Unification
    Movement musicians/songwriters Dan Fefferman and Ricky Joswick were there, with guitars in 
    hand, and brought back the early pioneering spirit of American Unificationists with their songs. 
    An interesting fact - most trees (especially interlinked redwoods) have as much of themselves 
    below the ground as above. Their interconnected root systems connect together to nourish the 
    tree above and allows for much greater collective strength and resilience. In the same way, we 
    have appreciated the prayers that people offered for the preparation required to launch this effort. 

    Next Steps and Conclusion 

    The next stage of our work is to produce a draft of inputs and engage participants in prioritizing, 
    then producing, a “strategic framework” to guide further development and its implementation.
    We invite, and hope that all interested parties will participate in this process.

    Our next steps also include a report to True Mother (with photos and testimonies). We will also 
    make our data available to the national council.

    We intend to complete a thorough first draft written plan before March 31st, Easter Sunday. From
    there, working groups can be formed, designed to address key issues with serious practical 
    impact.

    This will include a more detailed inventory of all current and potential affiliations, alliance 
    partners and key relationships, with whom we develop a strong coalition around shared values.
    The coordinating team is committed to continue to conduct bi-weekly conference calls and/or
    online meetings to continue this work. For the balance of 2013, we are also considering a 
    quarterly conference development process, to clarify, advance and energize the process.
    Thank you to everybody and anybody who have contributed thus far to this developing initiative.

    TAP Baltimore, MD March 21,2013 Page 5


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