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.
The start of construction in 2006 was clearly a MAJOR milestone in the life of our community. Move-in was another significant step in the fall of 2007. During the honeymoon phase of the first year, CoHoots enjoyed many “firsts” together–births, holiday parties, camping trips, special meals, and so on. So far, we have not shared any wedding celebrations or any deaths.
Consensus training is still being offered every year or so as new folks join CoHo. As we have gained more experience making decisions together, we have tested the strengths and weaknesses of consensus. We seldom use the fall-back of “voting,” so most would likely say that we have made consensus work for us.
In 2006, a visit from future neighbors was the rallying force behind a picnic. Now, it is good weather. Summer usually means a barbecue, either along The Path or near the Old Oak and an informal fire pit. A potluck on the last Sunday of the month is also now a regular part of our meal program. Our Common House team blocks out holiday dates for a year in advance so space/time are saved for community celebrations.
Sustainability is a strong impetus for some neighbors, balanced with caution expressed by others about “green police.” Hopefully, a community discussion will lead to a clearer understanding of how folks experience sustainability-related projects. This is an area where neighbors are powerful role models in their day-to-day lifestyles. Judging from the increasing number of bikes, tandem bikes, and trailers in the Bike Barn, more and more CoHoots are enjoying biking as a frequent transportation option.
The early hopes of collecting and sharing recipes didn’t unfold in an orchestrated way, although there is informal sharing of recipes. Some Head Chefs make the same meal each time they cook. Some Head Chefs rotate through a series of menus. Some Head Chefs repeat some recipes some of the time. Some Head Chefs often create unique menus each time. Diners can sign up one meal at a time, or for a block of meals. This has resulted in a core group that eats most meals, supplemented by other CoHoots who dine on a more flexible schedule (driven by their schedules, the menu, the Head Chef, etc.).
In the fall of 2006, the newsletter schedule shifted from weekly to monthly. The launch of this blog in 2010 shifted our communication to a more frequent, but less scheduled pace.
Over time, CoHo teams and groups have also shifted their meeting schedules. Our Admin Team met twice a month, then once a month, then quarterly, and now twice a year. Our Neighbors Team does a monthly update to the community, but no longer has regular meetings. Some ad hoc groups meet frequently, then take a hiatus or dissolve depending on the project.