The Goodenough Community
The Goodenough Community is a long-term experiment in community formation and
development sponsored by the American Association for the Furtherance of Community.

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Couples Network
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Human Relations Lab
Men's Culture
Solstice Bus Trip
Summer Camp
True Holidays
Turtle Clan
Village School
Women's Culture

 On Friendship

From the inspiration of Kahlil Gibran

Your friend is your needs answered,
your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving,
your board and your fireside,
Where you come with your hunger, seeking peace.

A typical day and more details ...

“The week led me to some very interesting learning experiences
at the edge of where I needed to be. I pushed myself, and
learned a lot and I’m still realizing more as I reflect.”

- Katie S.

“I wanted to have an experience that was a recovery and healing
for me at a time of overstress about work and a hard year
emotionally. The Lab was that, and enabled me to make some
decisions about ways to bring the learning into my life.”

 - Gordon H.

What is a Human Relations Laboratory?

A laboratory is a carefully designed experience in
which you may observe yourself, conduct experiments
in your own life, collect data, and choose what changes
you want to make -- all with the guidance of highly
skilled and compassionate leaders, and in the company
of other “life researchers.” Over the course of a week
a community grows -- a community of people becoming
friends and working with themselves and each
other to improve their relational skills, a community of
friends helping each other along “the road less traveled.”


Attend an open house in which we answer your
questions, get acquainted and get connected so that
when you arrive at Lab, you already know people who
have been through the Lab experience before.
Several weeks prior to Lab, participants will receive a
welcome packet with items of orientation and background
reading materials intended to enhance your
understanding and enjoyment of the theme. Included
will be a list of suggested items to bring for your
personal comfort during the week. You are invited to
bring costuming, musical instruments or other items
that enhance your participation and self-expression.
Your participation is an important aspect of your experience
and the experience of others.
Our staff environment and hospitality team are
dedicated to the needs and comfort of all Lab participants.
Any special needs, such as diet or accessibility,
should be negotiated prior to arrival to ensure adequate

A Typical Day

While each Lab is unique, a typical day for adults might look like this:

- Optional stretching and meditation sessions or a nature walk.

- A healthful breakfast.

- The morning plenary session - includes singing, dancing and working with the theme in the large tent in the meadow.

- Lunch is followed by a quiet time.

- Small group options include a focus on topics from the plenary session, art work, creative writing, play at the river, sports, work on the land, or free time.

- Dinner offers many opportunities to meet new friends and enjoy nourishing, healthful food.

- The evening plenary session for all ages includes singing or dancing and children are invited to share from their day.

- Conversation among the adults continues after the young children leave with reflections on what was learned and felt, throughout the day.

- No day would be complete without relaxing at the “Swamp” – an informal gathering with an open mike for anyone to share a song, poem, or story on stage. Refreshments and snacks, games, and music are all available to enjoy.

For Families:

  •   Imagine having a good talk with other parents about the challenges of raising children these days and asking others how they approach those challenges.

  •   Imagine adopting or intentionally observing another child for a week to learn how to objectively and compassionately observe. 

  •   Imagine adopting a surrogate grandparent or uncle for your child for the week. 

Lab is a wonderful opportunity for learning about your family.  You can ask for all kinds of conversations and craft experiments that help you learn about yourself as a parent and about your children. 

For Children:

Children are offered learning experiences all week.  It is our custom to have older children looking after anyone younger to encourage loving responsibility. Each day will have time focused on working together and helping others, crafts and skills such as leatherwork and archery , learning about nature, building friendships, journaling, laughing, singing and exploring the beautiful land. 

Many creative possibilities are available to you and your family at Lab and Irene Perler would love to customize your Lab experience based on your specific needs.  You may contact Irene at

Food and Lodging

At lab you can expect healthful, fresh foods, lovingly prepared.  Whether you are an omnivore, vegan, vegetarian, or have other food requirements, the staff of Sahale is here to support your dietary needs.

"Meal times were great, the food was amazingly plentiful and so good.  I am a vegetarian and so often, when I go to events it is so hard for me to find anything that I can eat."  Samantha

A variety of housing options are available for individuals and families, including camping.  Please take a tour of Sahale Learning Center 



Register Online

A typical day, youth program, lodging

Short Bios

Sahale  Center


Carl Rogers on Laboratory Learning
By John L. Hoff

A Social History of the T-Group
By Steve Potter

Benefiting from the Presence of Children in Community
By Marjorie Gray

Grace Happens Here: The Human Relations Laboratory By Hollis Guill Ryan





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Copyright © 1998 The Goodenough Community
Last modified: December 25, 2010