Re: The dissolving of community, building relationships
From: Herveys (
Date: Wed, 9 Aug 2006 21:38:53 -0700 (PDT)
On August 8th, Rob Sandelin wrote:
"So what are the things your community does to build relationships?  I would
find that an interesting topic for this list.  It might be especially
interesting to hear about relationship building work during real estate
development.  What did you do to reach out and care about each other? To
build the connections and bonds?"
I'm very glad you asked.  We, at CoHo cohousing, have the impression that we
are doing well in this arena.  When someone asks if our community is built
yet, I answer: "Yes, the community is built and we will soon start on the
physical structures."  And yet, I'm sure that we could do more.  So, here's
what we are doing.  
        *       Biannual Wellness Retreats - 6 hour events in which we
refrain from doing any "business" and focus on getting to know each other
and having fun together.
        *       Sharing Circles - when the negative energy level in the
community is rising around an issue, we hold a sharing circle, a time of
listening closely to each other.  No problem solving.  No attempts at issue
resolution, just using our best NVC skills to understand each other.
        *       NonViolent Communication - and speaking of NVC skills, each
of us participates, as a part of the membership requirements, in 13 two-hour
sessions learning NVC (plus homework).  And we commit to using NVC to
resolve conflict.
        *       Monthly Potlucks - to visit and enjoy each others recipes.
        *       Three households who haven't yet moved to Corvallis held a
"preunion" to get to know each other and start friendships between their
        *       Open invitations by members to participate in each other's
lives.  Recent examples:
                        o       In response to the heat wave, a member
invited us to join him tubing the Willamette River, which runs by very near
to where our new homes will be.
                        o       In response to viewing "An Inconvenient
Truth" - a member has been holding conversations in the park with any
members interested in working on what we can do to minimize our effects on
                        o       During the summer, it is relatively common
to receive invitations to join a group of CoHoots to pick (and preserve)
various fruits, to go on a subgroup outing to the beach or just take in a
        *       We have also been using the need to attract new members as
an excuse for getting together even more often, with invitations to
"Welcoming Weekend" events such as picnics, walks on the land and shared
dinners with potential new members.
        *       We have been publishing newsletters primarily as a marketing
tool, but they also act as a way for us to get to know each other better in
our special columns about individual and group activities

And then of course there are the bimonthly general business meetings and
weekly committee meetings, most of which are pleasurable.  (We spend time
and money training member facilitators to make them so.  Not to mention our
annual consensus training for the community.)  We are also learning how to
run committee meetings by consent.

>From what other activities / experiences might we benefit?

Valerie Hervey, CoHo Cohousing
Ever wish you could live next door to your best friends? 

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