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.
Investing time in community generally offers a pretty impressive ROI (Return On Investment).
Neighbors discovered that the “time savers” can add up quickly. Living next door to folks you know and trust makes life’s logistics so much easier. Our CoHoChat email list is a frequent link for folks making requests and offering all sorts of resources.
On the flip side, CoHoots learned that managing a multi-million dollar property and working with the group dynamics of a 95-person organization can’t be done in your spare time.
Our Steering Councils have tackled some of the issues of time drain and helped us focus on how to get things done efficiently, yet creatively.
Some processes are more streamlined and thus require less energy. Other strategies build in breathing room–like having a meeting moratorium during December. Interestingly, some kids are starting to initiate and coordinate projects (in addition to helping with meal prep).
The community “to do” list doesn’t shrink. It’s tempting to think there won’t be many more major decisions requiring lots of community energy/time a few years after move-in, but new issues have a way of surfacing (and sometimes old ones resurface).
Folks considering the cohousing lifestyle might consider how they’ll juggle current/future commitments in order to have the time to enjoy community and also contribute at a pace that works for everyone.
Some of the folks in this newsletter did not end up being our neighbors and some who did have since moved on.
In the excitement of recruiting and welcoming future neighbors, developing an “exit process” wasn’t an immediate priority. However, our Membership Team stepped up and put in place some steps to assist with exiting CoHo. Some steps cover basic logistics–returning mailbox keys, etc., but others focus on the neighbor’s experiences at CoHo and lessons learned.
Turnover can create some new opportunities for connection. Our newest owner purchased a two-bedroom flat, so other folks in two-bedroom flats organized an informal tour to provide tips/tricks and decorating ideas. It was really fun to see how different the “same” unit could look. Our newest owner wasn’t the only one inspired to do some sprucing up.
In the last few years, the community has been using “connection introductions” to help new folks get to know us more quickly. It has also proven to be a way for us to glimpse little-known facts about each other. First, the new folks give a short introduction at a community meeting. Then everyone says “hello” and lists one way they connect with the new folks–place of birth, family life, interests, work, talents, etc.
Now that we owners are next-door neighbors, our preunions and reunions are based less on geography, and more on shared interests. Subgroups of CoHoots have shared beach trips, hikes, camping expeditions, bike rides, and other get-togethers.
Our canine contingent is going strong, although like us humans, some have departed. Jenny (shown in the final photo in the newsletter) is still happy to spend time with CoHoots. She found that living at CoHo yields lots of dividends. Here’s Jenny supervising the placement of the water cistern.