Re: Sustainability of community service
From: netipotlady (
Date: Fri, 25 Jul 2008 13:00:48 -0700 (PDT)
Hi Racheli,
Checking the email in the Santa Barbara library. We'll be back Aug. 5th. Have 
had a wonderful two months away from Tucson, mostly in Oregon. Re your email, I 
find that when I feel connection with the community and members, I tend to want 
to be more involved and when I don't I tend to find things to do away from the 
community. With our work system in place now (5 hours per month at this point), 
I tend to do things that don't involve too much interaction with others- pick 
up trash around the site once a week and help with supplies to the panty and 
laundry room (the community?supplies Oasis soap for the whole community for 
doing laundry that waters our citrus). I've gotten burned serveral times when I 
did things that involved people in the community (reassigning parking spaces 
when we put the gates in, and managing the Weekly meal club) so I tend to stay 
away from that sort of thing. Although, I'm thinking of starting a organic 
vegatarian meal club for a meal once a week if there is an interest. We'll see. 
Hope you are having a good summer and hope to see you when we return. Hugs, 

-----Original Message-----
From: Racheli Gai <racheli [at]>
To: Cohousing-L <cohousing-l [at]>
Sent: Thu, 24 Jul 2008 10:04 am
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Sustainability of community service

I suspect that in communities which function well in the sense that 
many people
experience high level of contentment, and where the level of 
conflict isn't too high, people tend to volunteer more and enjoy more 
to the community.
I know that at times that I feel really good about living here, I'm 
more likely to
take on more responsibilities.  At times that I feel bedraggled because 
what of what I
perceive as endless bickering and lack of good will, I tend to shift my 
energies towards other
I'd love to hear comments from others, exploring the relationship 
between the level
of satisfaction people experience in the community, and the level of 
willingness to
contribute time and energy.

(Sonora Cohousing, Tucson AZ)

On Jul 24, 2008, at 9:19 AM, Rob Sandelin wrote:

> Patty Mara Gourley brought up an excellent thread about how sustainable
> community service is given the rest of our lives.  The time required 
> to give
> service to your community is in many cases larger than many people are
> comfortable with.  Burn out can happen if you let it.
> The other day I was noticing in my community that an awful lot of 
> things
> have gotten done without me.  The commonhouse got painted while I was 
> on
> vacation.  The patio got scrubbed, sealed and sanded while I was doing
> family events offsite.  A whole herd of kids got shepherded off to a 
> water
> park. And I did not do any of this. Yet it still happened somehow.
> While attending a dinner party, which I did not plan or clean up much 
> from,
> I talked to some of the people who had been involved in the things 
> that have
> been happening.  Far from being burnt out or discouraged, they were
> delighted and happy to have been able to get those things done. I have 
> come
> to believe that in my community, once you live here awhile, you choose 
> where
> to apply your energy and time, and most people seem to choose to do 
> things
> which gives them enjoyment.  Our childcare is provide
d by a loving mom 
> who
> absolutely loves kids, all of them.  Our gardeners love to garden, 
> sometimes
> spending extraordinary time fussing in the community garden.  I love 
> the
> woods and it is my joy to keep the trails clear. Others apparently 
> love to
> paint, and take care of things.
>> From time to time, tasks arise for which their seems to be little
> enthusasiam. So we tend to hire these out or ask for contributions of 
> money
> instead of labor.  We  are about to build a greenhouse and there are 
> several
> work parties scheduled.  Some people have already donated money, 
> others have
> committed time.  There is both enough time and money to do the project 
> and
> so nobody is held accountable if they choose not to participate.  I 
> think
> this philosophy has served Sharingwood well, generally people show up 
> who
> want to and those who do not do other things at other times and it all 
> works
> out.  Sometimes if things that need doing do not get done we bring it 
> up at
> our meeting and figure it out, but this is rare anymore. Stuff gets 
> done,
> and people seem to be feeling good about it.
> So on a personal level, I never waste my time worrying about who is NOT
> there, but rather enjoying who is, knowing that in many cases, I am not
> there and people are not worried about my absence.
> Rob Sandelin
> 17 years at
> Sharingwood Cohousing
> Snohomish County, WA
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