I have been working at OAP for almost 7 years now, but have somehow never been able to attend more than one day of the People’s Organization of Community Acupuncture’s (aka POCA’s) bi-annual POCAFest. This year though, the stars aligned and I was able to attend a full weekend of POCAFest in the beautiful Marin Headlands, and it was fantastic! For those who don’t know, POCAFest is a special occasion in the community acupuncture world where AcuPunks from all over the country, and occasionally from other countries as well, get together and dance to polka music for 3 days straight, it’s freaking crazy! Ok, maybe that is a big fat lie, I actually did not hear one piece of polka music, though we did talk a lot about all things community acupuncture. There were classes on neuroscience, medical cannabis, community outreach, bookkeeping, and working with kids in a community setting, just to name a few. There was even a class where we talked about bands like Wu Tang and Crass and how their music and culture started underground movements to make big changes in their communities, and how that related to community acupuncture and our underground movements past, present, and future; pretty cool right?!?
I think my favorite part of Pocafest though was getting to spend some quality time with all my wonderful co-workers. Though we all work in the same buildings, it is actually pretty rare that we spend more than a few minutes together between shifts, and this time is usually filled with logistics, eating, and maybe a few jokes to make each other smile. This year 9 out of our 12 current punks, and a few of our old buddies like Cait and Roselle, came out to POCAfest! You could almost say it was a SOAPfest (Sacrament / Oakland Acupuncture Project), though maybe not quite so clean. Together we not only took some great classes, but hiked up into the bluffs, soaked up some sun, wind, and drizzle at the beach, ate delicious food, and hung out around the campfire. It was a great chance to catch up on each other lives, share a few funny stories, and commiserate about all the highs and lows we experience as community acupunks. I left feeling more connected than ever to my SOAP family and am stoked that we have so many gifted and amazing acupuncturists in our community. I feel pretty lucky to be part of this community that we have all created together at SOAP and hopefully you do too.
Overall, I left the weekend with some great ideas on how to improve both my practice and our clinic, and with a rekindled desire to get more involved with the POCA community and help make acupuncture accessible to even more people. If getting more involved and helping spread the community acupuncture love is something you would like to do as well you should check out POCA’s website. There are opportunities for you to volunteer, share your thoughts, and can also become a member. For as little as $25 you can join POCA, support a good cause and get some great kickbacks as well.
This month we are even offering $10 to treatments to all POCA members all month long. What a deal!