Healthy Organizing & the Health & Wellness Committee: How Do We Do It?

Esther Wyss-Flamm, Weavers Way Health & Wellness Committee

Mt. Airy Community Health Fair

Lovett Park (adjacent to Lovett Library at Germantown Avenue and Sedgwick Street)

Saturday, June 2, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Practitioners, information, discussions, vendors, food and more!

"The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.” – Confucius

Here at the Weavers Way Health & Wellness Committee, we refine Confucian wisdom to: “The people who move a mountain find more joy and ease when they carry stones together.”

There is likely no mountain as intractable to move as is health care, given the politics of reform along with rising costs and erosion of benefits. When it comes to the Co-op, our members are typically concerned about access to reliable information and affordable complementary and preventive options for health and wellness, especially when it comes to stress management, family nutrition, physical and mental well-being and, of course, sleep. 

At the Health & Wellness Committee, we grapple with these issues as we work on our mission: “To explore multiple approaches to health and wellness that integrate conventional and complementary modalities, to solicit health concerns and interests from the Weavers Way community and to provide knowledge and resources.” 

Lofty mission? You bet! And as is the case with lofty missions, it is easy to feel weighed down by all that loftiness. 

As a spirited, dedicated group of experienced health and wellness practitioners, we learned that to thrive as a committee, we need to not only promote health and wellness for members, but also embody healthy, sustainable ways of working together. 

We thought you, dear Shuttle reader, might be interested in learning about healthy organizing; we’ve thus distilled our experiences over the past years into four guiding principles:

Notice and stay with what flows. pportunities are truly everywhere for information-sharing about health and wellness; the catch is identifying and building on momentum. We have had success with multiple modes — launching questionnaires and mini-interviews to gauge interest, piggy-backing on family/community events, managing information tables at health fairs, organizing monthly panel discussions, demonstrations, sample sessions and mini-retreats.

Pair energy with joy. unning events takes a lot of energy. We have experienced most satisfaction when we commit to events that represent an interesting challenge or good stretch, and when we can feel the joy of sharing our expertise without overtaxing any one of us. 

Build redundancy into every activity. any of us have busy family lives that we juggle along with our own businesses, and we find ourselves coordinating with extremely busy Weavers Way staff members. We have learned to take this into account as we plan, and have created systems of staggered committee leadership, ongoing informal communication, flexible scenarios and backup plans loaded for success to manage the ebb and flow of availability. 

Find time to play. e explicitly make our time together as a committee fun, interesting and, when we organize a potluck, delicious. Opportunities to network and exchange relevant information are built into our meetings. We brainstorm ways to collaborate in formal and informal ways, pool ideas, mentor each other to keep ideas flowing. As we get to know each other, collaborations emerge organically; one great example is the Weavers Way Neighborhood Nutrition Team, spawned from our work and now active at all three Co-op locations. 

May this brief introduction to the inner workings of a Co-op committee inspire you to adapt insights for the groups you are a part of and to join upcoming opportunities: 

If you are a Co-op member with a particular health and wellness interest or question, post a message to our Weavers Way Health & Wellness Committee Facebook group.

If you are a health and wellness practitioner interested in learning more about the committee, contact a committee co-chair: Wendy Romig,, or Trudi Dixon,, and join us at our next meeting, Tuesday, May 22, 6:30-8 p.m., in the Mt. Airy Community Room, 555 Carpenter Lane. 

Finally, everyone is invited to attend the second annual Mt. Airy Community Health Fair at Lovett Park, next to the library at 6945 Germantown Ave., Mt. Airy, on June 2, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. 

Esther Wyss-Flamm, PhD, MEd, E-RYT, is a member of the Healing Arts Studio collective. She combines her work as yoga instructor with mindful leadership, teaches classes and works with individuals and organizations. Reach her at