INTRODUCTION TO THE “THEN AND NOW” SERIES
Visitors touring CoHo sometimes ask how our expectations for community prior to move-in differ from our current day-to-day reality. Comparing “then and now” is the framework for this series of blog postings.
The source of historical perspective is the CoHo newsletters published in 2006 and 2007 (they are still available on our website). This was an intensive time, with the primary focus on actively building the community (both in terms of actual construction of buildings and the collection of folks who would be our neighbors).
What were our dreams in 2006? What is our daily life like now in 2014? First, read the original newsletter (link below), then return to this posting for current perspectives.
CoHo has continued to support a membership process that allows prospective members to get a well-grounded preview of life in our community. Check out our Membership section on our website to view the specific application and agreement forms that folks complete to become Friends of CoHo, Associate Members, Renters, and Members (the process differs for each category).
The timeframe to complete steps is more flexible than prior to move-in but the process still covers the same elements–homework (policies, minutes, bylaws and other documents to review), face-to-face time with the community at meetings and meals, plus check-ins with various teams (HUB which coordinates workshare, Finance, etc.). A buddy acts as a coach throughout the process; the buddy answers questions and also “translates” some of our terms like GAT = Grounds Administration Team.
The final step for owners and renters is a Clearness Committee designed to give people clarity about connecting with CoHo. At a Clearness, the prospective members, their buddy, and a few CoHoots review our Vision and Values, clarify expectations, address concerns, and share feedback from community members. Thus, for owners, renters and Friends of CoHo, the membership process is based on self-selection.
In designing our Associate Member program in 2012, we learned that most cohousing groups require community approval by consensus as a final step for Associates. Based on their experiences, CoHo has adopted that provision.
The final article in the newsletter featured a fun photo from a potluck. Prior to move-in, potlucks were the default. With our meal program up and running (typically 3 dinners and 1 breakfast each week), the emphasis is on meals prepared by a crew, but potlucks are still held about once a month. In the warmer months, impromptu potluck barbecues along The Path and near The Old Oak attract lots of neighbors.