From: HeidiNYS (
Date: Thu, 7 Jun 2001 18:43:01 -0600 (MDT)
Dear Robert,

We've lived at Cantines Island co-housing three years, this Winter will be 
four.   While many of us traveled various distances [some over 100 miles, the 
closest, perhaps 25 miles, for a while till renting nearby, one household 
came in from Washinton DC, 4-5 hours away.]
We had pretty good attendance at meetings for years before move-in.  and we 
met for years and years.  Meetings were generally pretyty good-humored.  And 
long.  Our formatt included an open house/tour,  for potential interested 
folks, then intros all 'round, and dialogue with new folks, then a pot-luck 
lunch!! that would wrap up about 2PM, and then we'd go into committee 
meetings and then the full meeting.  Believe it or not, after all this, 
perhaps one out of three times, most of us would walk to supper together at 
the Chinese Restaurant, just across the bridge from here.  

We formed a lot of connection.  
Recently, almost 4 yrs after move-in, we do have many meetings w'out a 

Our experience, 
all best,
Ruth hirsch 
Cantines Island Co-housing, inviting another family.... we were able to buy a 
small adjacent piece of land, overlooking river rapids.... near Woodstock,  
in the breathtakingly beautiful hudson Valley.

In a message dated 6/7/01 1:01:43 PM, cohousing-l-request [at] 
Message: 8
Date: Thu, 07 Jun 2001 11:39:35 -0400
Subject: Re: [C-L]_Following agreements
To: cohousing-l [at]
From: "Robert P. Arjet" <rarjet [at]>
Reply-To: cohousing-l [at]

I'd be interested in hearing more about  these reasons.  We're still in
the "forming" stage, so I'm not surprised that are a lot of people who
attend 50% of the meetings or less.  I've assumed, however, that once we
are a "real" group, with "real" members and money involved, that regular
attendance will simply be one of the duties of membership.  However, it
looks like in a lot of communities attendance is just not a requirement or
a social norm.  

Maybe I spent too many years on football teams in Texas, but it seems to
me that if you don't show up for practice, you really can't expect to
play.  Am I right in assuming that any consensus-based group with a 40%
attendance rate has much bigger problems than who cleans up messes?  I
can't imagine trying to get compliance on a decision when 60% of the
affected parties weren't there.  To stretch my metaphor dreadfully, that's
like trying to run a brand-new play when only the quarterback, the wide
receiver, and a couple of the linemen were at practice.  60% of the
players aren't going to know what to do, it's going to fail miserably, and
all the people who weren?t at practice will agree that the play was a bad
idea.  The worst part is that in cohousing, there's not even a coach to

I guess what's at the bottom of my curiosity is this: do other people
consider meeting attendance a central requirement of living in a
consensus-based community?  If so, then why is there so much trouble in
getting people to show up? What are those instructive reasons for people
not showing up, and do they generally hold water?


Robert Arjet
Central Austin Cohousing
where we have agreed to accept membership money, but until we have a
budget, we're not allowed to spend any...
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