2016 Workshop Schedule

Workshops/Presentations
Death Fest 2016

Saturday, October 29

Remembering Our Friend – – a Story for Kids

Date: Saturday, October 29       Time: 10:00AM
Senior Center – Exercise Room

Jo Ann Kaminsky will host an interactive puppet show for kids on the topic of Death and Loss from a child’s perspective, with a hands-on creative opportunity.

As an artist in education Jo Ann Kaminsky has worked with elementary and high school students. She co-founded the Art Experience, Inc. as a center for healing and growth through play and the expressive arts. Jo Ann has continued to maintain her studio and private practice as a counselor and art therapist at The Art Experience since 1993. She works with people individually and in groups using art and play as a medium for change. She currently leads groups through the Art Experience, Inc. and collaborates with Circle of Life to provide a therapeutic art group for children who have had a loss in their family.

“Teen Angels Knocking on Heaven’s Door”
Death as a Recurring Theme
in American Popular Music

Date: Saturday, October 29       Time:  10:00AM – 11:00AM
Senior Center –  Terrace Room
Presented by Walter Schmidt

This talk will survey the ways death has been treated in American popular music from colonial days to the present.  Based on the research done in Graeme Thomson’s book, “I Shot a Man in Reno,” we’ll hear and discuss excerpts from songs spanning three centuries, demonstrating how Americans have dealt with what Mick Jagger called “Dancing with Mr. D.”

Walter Schmidt:  A local singer/songwriter who retired from the practice of law 5 years ago.  In 2014 he released an album of original songs, “Big Fat Moon.”   Walter produced the compilation album “It’s Natural: Arkansas Musicians Sing About Livin’ & Dyin’” on behalf of the Natural State Burial Association, and wrote the NSBA theme song “Natural State”.  His song, “Arkansas, I  Hear You Calling,” was selected as a New Song Showcase winner for the 2016 Walnut Valley Music Festival held in Winfield, Kansas.

Round-table Discussion

Date: Saturday, October 29    Time: 10:30AM – 12:00PM
Senior Center – Walker Dining Hall
Led by Kathy Skaggs

A discussion of the evolution of memorial services, alternative means of disposition, and personal experiences of participating in funerals that took place outside the dictates of the conventional funeral industry.

Kathy Skaggs serves on the committee for Religious Education at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Fayetteville and is a participant in the UUFF Women’s Wisdom Circle. She is one of the founding mothers of the Goddess Festival and continues her commitment to the Planners’ Circle to produce that annual event. Kathy is a Ritualist who crafts ceremonies and altars that echo and reflect the essence of sacred events. She often acts as Celebrant at ritual services.

Honoring Your Pets’ Passing

Date: Saturday, October 29             Time: 11:00AM – 12:00PM                  Senior Center –  Terrace Room
Led by veterinarian Dr. Viki Cyphers

There are many decisions we must make in dealing with the passing of our beloved pets.  They have shared a precious time span of our own lives and we want to acknowledge the importance of their love and companionship, and honor their memories. We will deal with the stages of grief leading up to and beyond their passing and the varying rituals of mourning and burial. (Note: Natural cemeteries allow pets to be buried in family plots.)

Dr. Cyphers has been a practicing veterinarian for 31 years, and is certified in animal Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine. Her practice is in Fayetteville, Arkansas where she works alongside her two children, Morgan and Meggy. www.familypetsvetcare.com

Home Funeral Workshop

Date: Saturday, October 29       Time:  4:00PM – 6:00PM                           Senior Center –  Walker Dining Hall
Presented by Jim Bates, National Home Funeral Alliance, Region 6

Jim will begin by showing 15 minutes of a National Geographic Special on natural burial, including a home funeral workshop that was filmed in the Austin, TX area last spring. He will then proceed with a basic hands-on training of how to do a home funeral, with an overview of the paperwork process.

Exploring the Physical, Emotional, Mental, Social,
and Spiritual Aspects of our Dying

Date: Saturday, October 29   Time:  4:00PM – 6:00PM
Senior Center – Terrace Room
Presented by Jan Huneycutt Lightner

Some of our greatest fears and hopes about dying originate within the emotional, mental, social, and spiritual facets of our being. When our personal preferences are unknown, unexamined, and unspoken, deep consternation can occur for us or for the people who are with us while we are dying. By being courageous enough to ponder each aspect before actively dying, we can find profound meaning and our individual preferences.

Jan Huneycutt Lightner holds certifications in grief counseling and pastoral thanatology (the study of death and dying). She has a private practice in Bentonville. Drawing from diverse clinical, therapeutic, and spiritual practices and tools, she provides emotional and spiritual support to people who are in the grips of pain.  www.janhuneycuttlightner.com

Everyone is Dying to be Fully Alive!

Date: Saturday, October 29 Time: 4:00PM – 5:30PM
Arkansas Yoga Center, 1949 No. Green Acres Rd, Fayetteville
Led by: Andrea Fournet  http://www.aryoga.com/

An opportunity to deeply relax through Savasana (corpse pose), yoga nidra (guided meditation), Gong bath, and gentle adjustments.

An E-RYT500 with over 30 years of experience in yoga, Andrea Fournet is the founder and director of the Arkansas Yoga Center, a registered school with the Yoga Alliance. She is a yoga instructor with over 10,000 hours of teaching both group and private sessions mainly focused on yoga therapy.  Andrea is co-author of VariYoga
a book which outlines yoga sequences promoting the six natural movements of the spine, creating a safe, accessible, and sustainable approach to yoga for all ages and bodies.

Sunday, October 30

ARORA – Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Agency “The Gift of Life as a Part of Burial”

Date: Sunday, October 30      Time:  10:00AM – 11:00AM
Senior Center – Walker Dining Hall
Presented by Mary Huss

Exploring myths and realities regarding organ and tissue donation, and compatibility with green burial.

Mary Huss holds Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Education, and spent 31 years in various classroom positions in a public school district near St. Louis, Missouri; was an adjunct instructor for 12 years in the Master’s Degree Program of the School of Education, Maryville University, St. Louis; was an At-Risk Coordinator for 5 years, working with court-supervised and/or troubled students in a public school setting.  She has been with ARORA for almost 11 years, covering the NW area.

“In Lieu of Flowers,
I Request That You Don’t Vote For . . . “
How to Write Your Own Obituary

Date: Sunday, October 30    Time:  10:00AM – 11:00AM                      Senior Center –  Exercise Room
Led by Walter Schmidt

Consider what might be said about you when you’re gone. Now is a good time for reflection, assessment, and some candid humor – – or how to get in the last word.

Walter Schmidt:  A local singer/songwriter who retired from the practice of law 5 years ago.  In 2014 he released an album of original songs, “Big Fat Moon.”   Walter produced the compilation album “It’s Natural: Arkansas Musicians Sing About Livin’ & Dyin’” on behalf of the Natural State Burial Association, and wrote the NSBA theme song “Natural State”.  His song, “Arkansas, I Hear You Calling,” was selected as a New Song Showcase winner for the 2016 Walnut Valley Music Festival held in Winfield, Kansas.

Build Your Own Coffin

Date:  Sunday, October 30       Time: 11:00AM -12:00AM                            Senior Center – Walker Dining Hall
Led by Cindy Jones

Cindy Jocoffin11180nes will discuss information showing the range of burial containers that are indeed legal; have coffin building plans available and discuss construction methods; show photos and provide website links for builders and plans; explain the ways alternative coffins can be decorated and customized and the idea that doing so can be helpful in the grieving process.

Cindy Jones has been in construction related work for the past 25 years.  She has worked at Northwest Arkansas Architectural and Civil Engineering firms as a senior draftsperson, surveyor and construction coordinator.  Several years were spent as owner of CJ’s Designs, designing and building custom homes and commercial buildings in Northwest Arkansas.  Her professional experience also includes building material sales and site work estimating / project management.  Cindy is a board member of Natural State Burial Association helping with property development.

5 Wishes Workbook

Date: Sunday, October 30      Time: 4:00PM – 6:00PM                                  Senior Center – Walker Dining Hall
Led by Pamela Ramsfield

“Advance directives” are legal documents that allow you to plan ahead and make your own end-of life wishes known in the event that you are unable to communicate.  This discussion can sometimes be challenging.  “The Five Wishes” document was created by the non-profit organization Aging with Dignity as a tool to facilitate such conversations.   When filled out the “Five Wishes” document is a legal advanced directive.   Five wishes booklets will be available for participants to complete during the workshop.

Pamela Ramsfield is a board certified chaplain through the Center for Spiritual Care and Pastoral Formation and an active member of the NWA Interspiritual Community.  Upon completion of her master’s degree in Social Work through the University of New England, Pamela hopes to serve as a healing presence in the NWA community in the fields of trauma or grief, loss, and death and dying.

Transitions & Thresholds:
Stepping Through and Crossing Over

Date: Sunday, October 30  Time: 4:00PM-6:00PM                                         Senior Center – Exercise Room

Kathy Skaggs will lead a workshop describing the experience of singing at the bedside at the time of death, also known as Threshold Choir. Founded in 2000 by Kate Munger, Threshold Choir is a network of a cappella choirs of primarily women’s voices: a community whose mission is to sing for and with those at the thresholds of life. www.thresholdchoir.org

This workshop begins with a meditative performance piece about transitions. Maiden, Mother, Crone will be danced and presented by Joy Fox.

Kathy Skaggs serves on the committee for Religious Education at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Fayetteville and is a participant in the UUFF Women’s Wisdom Circle. She is one of the founding mothers of the Goddess Festival and continues her commitment to the Planners’ Circle to produce that annual event. Kathy is a Ritualist who crafts ceremonies and altars that echo and reflect  the essence of sacred events. She often acts as Celebrant at ritual services. She believes singing is one of the best mediums to connect with people and that music can be a very healing modality.

Joy Fox is the creator of Wattle Hollow Retreat Center, she has been a grief therapist, bereavement coordinator for Hospice, meditation and yoga teacher, and a cob house mud builder. She is one of the lovely voices in the singing groups Harmonia and Broad Daylight.  www.wattlehollow.com

DIY Cemeteries

Date:  Sunday, October 30         Time:  4:00PM – 5:00PM                             Senior Center – Terrace Room
Led by Cindy Jones

What are the local requirements for burying a human body on private property in NWA, specifically Washington and Benton counties? Join us for a step-by-step guide for creating your own family cemetery.

Cindy Jones has been in construction related work for the past 25 years.  She has worked at Northwest Arkansas Architectural and Civil Engineering firms as a senior draftsperson, surveyor and construction coordinator.  Several years were spent as owner of CJ’s Designs, designing and building custom homes and commercial buildings in Northwest Arkansas.  Her professional experience also includes building material sales and site work estimating / project management.  Cindy is a board member of Natural State Burial Association helping with property development.

To offer the vision, inform the public, and create a choice.