Fusion 2004

June, Mammoth, and Mono Lakes
and Yosemite National Park

Hiking, Brainstorming, and Small-Group Personal Foresight Retreat

Friday Evening to Sunday Afternoon, May 21-23

Brief Overview of Fusion


Fusion Schedule
Format and Deadlines
Things to Do Beforehand
Confirmation and Invite List
Other Hikes, Future Retreats




Our annual Fusion event brings together an intimate group of high-integrity futurists interested in improving their personal and social foresight on a sustainable budget (see Confirm and Invite List). Our 2002 event can be found here.

Relaxed hiking through the gorgeous Owens river valley, exploring basaltic postpiles, serene lakes, and the awesome Yosemite under spring thaw should stimulate evenings of productive thinking about our personal and collective futures.

We'll be staying at Gull Lake, one of the June Lakes. Mammoth Lakes, which has Gondola rides all the way to the top, is 20 miles south. Yosemite is 30 miles north of us, a short, scenic drive. The roar of Upper Yosemite Falls in spring can be heard and felt all through the valley.

Brief Overview of Fusion

Fusion is a great opportunity to connect with a small, unique group of creative, open-minded, and goal-oriented futurists. The weekend involves deep sharing and assessment of our strengths, passions, weaknesses, fears, and current challenges among high-integrity peers who ideally have similar core values but diverse and complementary skillsets. We seek communications that are both non-judgmental and non-defensive (we don't take offense at any unintended judgments). A major priority of the weekend is for each of us to leave with clearer personal goals, better and more concrete strategies to reach them, and a broadened perspective from the input of other sharp minds.

Great dialog is a challenge. The physicist David Bohm (see On Dialogue, 1996) stressed the importance of "decoupling reflexive responses" and practicing "non-judgmental learning" about others' perspectives on reality. John Kao says the effectiveness of any social network is proportional to the diversity, ability, and commitment (intellectual and emotional) of its members. Our invitation process attempts to maximize each of these elements. You'll meet scientists, technologists, entrepreneurs, writers, artists, and other individuals who are intellectually curious about the future and their role in it. We also seek people who are optimistic, critical, self-honest, and solutions-oriented. Those with spiritual perspectives that are tolerant of secular humanism and atheism are also warmly invited.

In Fusion every participant is a designated presenter. Before the weekend, everyone is asked to write a brief personal profile. Then participants are self-selected into groups of four to eight people. Next you read your group member's profiles (and optionally, skim those of other groups), and are asked to make notes (private thoughts, comments, questions, not necessarily distributed) for each of your group members. Everyone speaks to and gets feedback from their group for 10-40 minutes in each of the three separate sessions over the weekend. You are with your group for the three sessions, but we all come together to hike and eat.

When we do a little homework learning about each other's projects and progress prior to the weekend, the conversation, connections, and advice we get are truly insightful. Your profile also provides a valuable record for increasing your own self-understanding and effectiveness over time. Like atomic fusion, after which our process is named, if we begin with the right material (mindset), and design a good "containment vessel" we can generate far more usable energy than we started with.

One way to get personal satisfaction is to intensively help other people. Fusion is a source of collective intelligence, periodic personal accountability, and great hiking with wonderful people. We hope you can join us this year.

Note on Family and Friends: You are very welcome to bring non-Fusioning family and friends along on the weekend and hikes. They are usually quite happy to give you your own time for the three Fusion sessions. If a family member or friend would like to join in on the Fusion sessions, please ask them to fill out and send in profiles in advance. Filling out your profile, and reading your group's profiles in advance, is part of the process.


Interlaken Condominiums
(On Gull Lake in the town of June Lake, CA). 800-648-5863, 760-648-7705
We've reserved two condos (Units 9 and 10), each of which accommodates up to10 people in beds (doubling up with the beds). The cost per condo is $330 per night, making it $33 per person per night ($66 for two nights) -- very reasonable.

If we get more than 20 people interested in coming, we recommend someone step forward and book another condo. Alternatively, we can accommodate a few more than 20 with sleeping bags.

A jacuzzi and tennis court are located on-site.

Some of us will drive home Sunday afternoon, others will stay an additional night Sunday night. To see who's available to roomshare, call or email John, johnsmart{at}accelerating.org or (650) 396-8220.

Driving Directions to June Lake:
From LA/SD: 5 North to 14 North to 395 North, through Lone Pine and Bishop, and Mammoth to June Lake.
From San Francisco: 580 West to 120 West (make sure the passes are open!) to 395 South to June Lake.
Mapquest Driving Directions
Yahoo Maps Driving Directions

Directions from the Highway:
From Highway 395 (the main road going north), take Highway 158 to June Lake. Go about 3 miles until you get to the June Lake village. Turn right on Knoll Ave (the Tiger Bar and Cafe is on the corner). Continue on Knoll Ave as it bends or turns to the left (MapQuest shows this as Bruce St. after the bend or turn). Turn right onto Leonard Ave (there is a motel at the corner). Follow Leonard Ave until it dead ends at the Interlaken Condos.

We're in Units 9 and 10.

Possible Hiking Destinations:

Mammoth Mountain
Devil's Postpile
June Mountain
Mono Lake
Yosemite Valley
Half Dome

We will do at least three optional hikes. Let us know if you have any to suggest!

Fusion Schedule
Friday May 21 - Sunday, May 23, 2004



Check in starting at 4:00 pm.
Dinner at a local restaurant 7:00-9:00 pm.
Fusion I (in the condos or local venue) 9:00 pm to midnight.

Saturday Morning/Afternoon

Breakfast at a local restaurant 8:00 am.
All-day hike.
Lunch on the trail.

Saturday Evening

Dinner at a local restaurant 6:00pm-7 :00pm.
Fusion II (in the condos or local venue) 7:00pm-11:00pm.

Sunday Morning/Afternoon

Checkout time 10:00am, so pack up before breakfast.
Fusion III over breakfast at a local restaurant 8:00-10:00am.
Hike 10:00am until 3:00pm.
Lunch on the trail.
Say goodbyes to those leaving at 3:00pm.

Sunday Night/Monday
Optional: Some will stay another day.

Format and Deadlines

By Friday, May 7th: (two weeks before) (or as early as you can!)

1. Write your ten question Profile (update it every time you attend). Share as much as you feel comfortable with. Don't worry about style, just focus on content. If you budget an hour or two that's plenty. You might go through each question quickly once, writing just two or three sentences per question, then come back to it a second time to flesh it out a bit more before sending it off. People won't be reading it for great writing, just looking for useful information about you. Email it to johnsmart{at}accelerating.org. I'll get copies out to all your group members ASAP.

Before Fusion I (Friday, May 21st):

2. Read the profiles of all your group members (four to eight). Spend at least 20 minutes per person writing out brief questions to ask them (elaboration, clarifications) and any other notes (advice, compliments, constructive critiques) that come to mind as you read each profile. You might even do a little online research to write down URLs, books, ideas that come to mind for helping that person. Optional: Print out a hard copy of your feedback to give to your Fusionmate. Doing this advance "homework" will give you a deeper sense of the interests and background of your group before we meet.

3. If not already in your profile, outline some personal Passions you'd like to share over the weekend. You might even bring a few favorite gadgets, books, CDs, articles, or web printouts to show and tell. Some Fusioners even loan and mail stuff back to each other after the event.. Try to spend at least an hour outlining your current and planned personal and professional projects, future-oriented subjects you follow, and any interesting events, organizations, people, skillsets, information, or tools you really like, or are investigating and want to get group input on. Optional: Make copies of anything you'd like to give to all your group members.

Before/At Fusion II (Saturday, May 22nd):

4. Reread Profiles. Go over any notes you may have taken during Fusion I. Write up brief Meta responses for each Fusionmate. Do you agree or disagree with others' verbal comments? See more issues to explore? Jot down at least three suggested action items for that person. They may be related to priorities you hear that person proclaiming, or things you think the person may be overlooking. They don't have to be the "most important," just three useful action items, from your perspective. Share those verbally or in written form with each member during Fusion II.

5. Near the end of Fusion II you'll be asked to brainstorm some of your top upcoming goals in front of the group. Afterward, review what was said and put together your own brief written Goals sheet. Think about ways to make your goals: 1) concrete (clear and measurable objectives), 2) manageable (ie, broken into bite-sized pieces), 3) prioritized, (e.g., which are most important), and how to make yourself accountable to completing the important ones. If you are willing to discuss your successes and challenges over the last year, this will bring insight to all of these areas..

Before/At Fusion III (Sunday, May 23rd):

6. Share your Goals sheet (3-10 top priorities) for the coming year with the group. Keep your Goals sheet and all your discussion notes, and bring them to next year's Fusion!

Things to Do Beforehand

1. Figure out your transportation to June Lake. Road Trip with friends? Call us if you'd like to join a carpool or have a space to share.

2. Fill out your Profile (or update your old one) and email it to john.smart{at}accelerating.org by Friday May 7th or you will be bugged incessantly until you do so.

3. Write up 20 minutes of Feedback notes on each of your group member's profiles before the retreat. List and bring any Passions to share.

4. Print this page and bring it to remind you of the rough format of our retreat (we'll probably make modifications along the way).

5. Bring pens and paper and a small notepad for hiking so you can jot down interesting ideas, references, etc., as they come up. We'll continue Fusioning to some degree on the trails, and you can be sure the conversation will be as inspiring as our surroundings!

6. Bring at least a disposable camera so you can capture some of the beauty!

7. Bring a nice comfortable jacket for walking around at night. It can get chilly.

8. Bring munchies and drinks for the trail, and any lunch items you don't want to buy in June Lake, and any food or drinks you'd like to share for the Fusions. Some people like camelbacks for drinking on the trail. Both condos have full kitchens with refrigerators.

9. Pack a bathing suit for the jacuzzi, a windbreaker in case it gets windy, sunblock, and a hat and/or sunglasses. The best footwear would be hiking boots or tennis shoes. Some people like to bring walking sticks.

10. Oh yes... Come and enjoy yourself!

Confirmation and Invite List

We started with nine participants in 2001, had 15 in 2002, and will have 21 this year.

Groups will have four to eight members. You can choose your own group on a first-come, first-served basis, so sign up early!

Group One:
Randy Davidson, moderator
James Dale
Todd Huffman
Kenneth Malpass
Danielle Strachman
Steve Scher

Group Two:
John Smart
, moderator
Jessica Richman
Lisette Sutherland
Peter Russell
Miguel Aznar
Daniel Ford
Monica Anderson
Rion Snow

Group Three:
Iveta Brigis, moderator
Paul Grasshoff
Jeff Thompson
Sandra Russell
Ravin Jain
Jessica Benton
Tanya Jones

We've got about 100 Great Folks on our Annual Invite List.

Know other reflective, respectful futurists you'd like to invite? Send us your recommendations!


Other Hikes, Future Retreats

Other Worthy Hikes

Hike For A Cure (Yosemite's Half Dome, Annually in September). One of our Fusion friends, Michael Worry, has a sister-in-law, Colleen, whose son Anton was unfortunately born with Histiocytosis, a rare blood disease. Due to it's rarity, the disease has little funding. It was Colleen's vision to hike Half Dome each year to raise funds and awareness for Histiocytosis research. They started hiking in 2000 and raised $12K that year. In 2003 they had 98 hikers and raised $40K. This year they are aiming for 200 hikers and $100K in Histiocytosis research funding. If you'd like to hike Half Dome in Fall for a worthy cause, please visit hikeforacure.com.

Future Fusion Retreats

Our Fusion is mostly a Western U.S.-based group, so we are exploring new locations in that area on an annual basis. Particularly attractive are places with nice hiking, beautiful scenery, interesting history or intellectual resources, all conducive to reflection and conceptual breakthroughs. Here are a few future retreat candidates that have been proposed. If you have others to recommend, please do so!

Arches National Park, UT
Asilomar, CA
Big Bear, CA
Big Sur, CA
Cedar Breaks National Monument/Chessmen Ridge, UT
Grand Canyon, AZ
Joshua Tree National Monument, CA
Moab, UT
San Juan Islands, WA
Santa Fe, NM
Sequoia National Park, CA
Steep Ravine/Stinson Beach, CA
Yellowstone National Park, WY

Suggestions/omissions? johnsmart{at}accelerating.org or (650) 396-8220