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2013 Compassion Games: Looking Back and Forward

By Jon Ramer

What was the result when inmates at the California Institution for Women competed in last year’s annual Compassion Games: Survival of the Kindest?

For the first time in the institution’s history, 11 days went by without a single violent incident.

That’s radical.

So be prepared for more amazing results when the 2014 games return next September. We’re already making plans!

The 2013 Compassion Games were a worldwide “co-opetition” that ran Sept. 11-21. Players chose to do random acts of kindness, or signed up to be a Secret Agent of Compassion and receive a daily mission. Some contributed to a service project organized by a business, organization or neighborhood, or created their own games.

Activities were recorded when players submitted a quick online report. During the 11-day Gift Giving Festival -- the "cooperation to compete" -- there were over 1,200 "incidents" of compassionate action submitted to the Compassion Map.

Here is a snapshot of the total results for the teams that participated in the 2013 Compassion Games.

The 2013 games included individual players from 28 countries. There were 19 community teams who organized local games in 4 countries – the United States, Canada, Sweden, and India. The budget for 2013 was $45,000 and included 24 volunteers. The results were impressive.

  • “Having lived through this new model of responding under stress with compassion; I am capable of adapting a new response. Compassion can become my "default." What an awesome gift!” – from an organizer who helped produce the games
  • “Carroll University is interested in creating a study of compassionate acts, using the Compassion Map to track, and comparing the data to the criminal acts in the city. Also, partnerships in the city are emerging and planning for the Compassionate Milwaukee declaration have begun to unfold.”
  • “Kindness curriculum in schools, getting compassion games at Rikers Island, getting law firms with offices in multiple cities to play.”

And the California women’s prison?

“Inmates and staff want to continue each year but more importantly they are now looking for a way to keep the energies alive all year. Hopefully, with the support of the administration, that will happen.”

New for the 2014 games

Already, plans are being made for the 2014 games, organized as an 11-day Gift Giving Festival inspired by the Potlatch and the Giveaways from the Indigenous Tribes. The Games take place Sept. 11-21.  We are planning to have over 75 teams (communities), recruit 100,000 volunteers, who put in over 500,000 hours of service, serving over 300,000 people. We will introduce leagues for cities, schools, youth groups, tribes, faith and interfaith groups, health care providers, and businesses as a way to organize and participate in the Games. We are raising $300,000 to ramp up the games to be a Global Coopetition and a game changing annual activity that can build momentum year around.

We have launched the Compassion Relays to connect everyone with compassion and herald the Compassion Games. The Compassion Torch symbolizes life, truth, and the regenerative power of the flame of the heart. The Compassion Torch is used as part of the Compassion Relays, and spreads the light of compassion which burns during the Compassion Games.

You carry the torch (the commitment to compassion) in your heart.  You make compassion real by taking note of at least one act of compassion per day for the week.  This can be something you do, something you discover, or something you observe someone else do. Torch carriers pass on the Compassion Torch to others in their community.

There are so many ways you, your family, schools, businesses and community can participate, and, it is fun!  We are looking forward to you being a part of the 2014 Games. Please visit and contact us

Jon Eliot Ramer is an American entrepreneur, civic leader, inventor, and musician. He is co-founder of several technology companies including Ramer and Associates, ELF Technologies, Inc.,(whose main solution, Serengeti, was purchased by Thomson Reuters). The designer and co-founder of several Deep Social Networks,he is the designer and co-founder of Compassionate Action Network International, a 501(c) organization based in Seattle, that led the effort to make the city the first in the world to affirm Karen Armstrong's Charter for Compassion. Most recently, Ramer conceived of and produced the "Compassion Games: Survival of the Kindest" in response to a challenge from the mayor of Louisville to other cities to outdo Louisville's compassionate action as measured by hours of community service. Ramer also serves as Director and Chief Technology Officer at Four Worlds International Institute, with a focus on the Campaign To Protect the Sacred. The campaign birthed the International Treaty to Protect the Sacred from Tar Sands Projects, signed by over fifty different tribes throughout North America. Ramer is also the songwriter and lead guitarist in the band Once And For All.

The Catalyst is produced by The Shift Network to feature inspiring stories and provide information to help shift consciousness and take practical action. To receive The Catalyst twice a month, sign up here.

This article appears in:
2014 Catalyst, Issue 12: Summer of Peace is Here!

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