Cohousing Open 2020: Still time to join today - Here's Why
From: Raines Cohen (rc3-coho-Lraines.com)
Date: Sun, 4 Oct 2020 05:13:42 -0700 (PDT)
Good morning, cohousers, cohousing seekers, founders, and professionals!

Today is an important day, for a couple reasons.

As I write, I am putting the finishing touches on the virtual
meeting "rooms" where we will be gathering today for the Cohousing Open
2020 cooperative conference-- wallpapering, you could call it. Sure, I'm
also hooking up some Google Docs for communal notes in each room, and a
Zoom Room for each to meet in, but that part is routine.

Every room is named for something you'll find in a cohousing neighborhood;
for instance, our main meeting hall, in this year's Simple Series of
traditional virtual conferences called the "Ballroom," in this case is the
Common House. This is where we will gather for the "Power of Persistence"
keynote today at noon eastern (9 AM PDT) by my friend Marty Maskall, the
recently-moved-in-to-a-fully-sold-community-after-more-than-a-decade-trying-at-two-other-sites
founder of Fair Oaks EcoHousing out here in California. It is worth coming
to hear her inspirational story, which just might help your community see
the way past whatever seemingly insurmountable obstacles lie on your path
ahead.

I've been "decorating" each room with pictures of the element it is named
for, based on photos from the over 120 established cohousing communities
I've visited over the quarter century I've been involved in the movement.

For example, the Common House at nearby Temescal Creek Cohousing in
Oakland, California, is the sign you're in the main gathering space. The
guest room shown in the room of that name is from Shepherd Village
Cohousing in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. The grill lives at Wild Sage
Cohousing in Boulder, Colorado (where the national cohousing association's
Executive Director, Karin Hoskin, calls home). The incredible tool- and
mentor-filled workshop at Pioneer Valley Cohousing in Amherst,
Massachusetts takes center stage in that room. The exercise room awaits
your workout at Prairie Hill in Iowa City, Iowa. And dozens more, Could
your community be in there?

What will happen in these rooms today? What great topics will be covered in
the four sessions stretching over the hours that follow? I'm proud to say,
as part of the organizing team putting this event together over the last
month, that I have absolutely no idea.

Today's agenda is entirely up to you and the other participants, to be set
in a process facilitated by the association's Communications Director,
Karen Gimnig, based on whatever YOU feel is important to discuss. Whether
that's how to make common meals safe in the age of COVID-19 or how to get a
Common House design understood by your planning commission or how to
prepare for wildfires -- your choice. The keynote will be followed by a
marketplace session where everybody present will be part of filling in the
schedule grid.

This "unconference" format, also known as Open Space Technology, is
enormously liberating. We've had the chance at the association's
traditional conferences all this year to hear organized panels of experts
on key topics, selected through a juried, curated time-intensive process
with submissions up to 8 months in advance. This time, you are in charge.
You don't have to be an expert, just willing to ask a question that others
will join you in live discussion and resource sharing. Come with an idea,
or get inspired in the moment. Bring something that you think about every
day, or use the opportunity to explore some new dimension of community that
you don't normally get time to engage. Professionals and previous
presenters are of course, most welcome -- but asked to step back a little
and make room for the diversity of voices that makes the cohousing movement
thrive.

Think of it as Cohousing-L made tangible: the opportunity to take every
thread here and make it into a conversation. The interface lets you skip
around easily -- while you are in one room you can preview the notes for
another room and then switch your Zoom call from one to the other with just
a click. Can't make the whole day? No problem, you can come and go as you
please, and our commitment to each other in hosting the conversations is to
take great notes with lists of folks to follow up.

You can get a taste in the WebChat video that my old Swan's Market
Cohousing neighbor Neil Planchon and I joined the association's staff in
running last Wednesday.

I do hope you will join me there; you can find registration and WebChat
archive links at the national cohousing website:
https://www.cohousing.org/

I did say that today was important for a couple reasons. Another is that it
is, as declared by the Carter Administration, National Citizen's Band (CB)
radio day. Look at the date: "10-4, Good buddy." Get it? Apparently First
Lady Roslyn Carter was big into CB.

It also happens to be my birthday, and while that probably isn't one of the
important things about the day to you, the greatest gift I can imagine
would be for you to join me in participation in this grand experiment.
Thanks!

Raines Cohen, Cohousing Coach, Cohousing California
  EcoVillage Ambassador, Global EcoVillage Network
  living in community at Berkeley (CA) Cohousing
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