Annie Lehman of PDX Commons & Coho/US Board Member
I recently returned from the Coho/US Regional Conference in Boulder, CO and I’m still high on the vitality that we shared the entire weekend. Wherever you looked, the almost 200 attendees were talking intently, meeting new people, sharing experiences, hopes, and dreams for the future. Plus it all felt positive, even when we discussed challenges, like managing conflict. What was evident all weekend was the “community” we all strive for - new, old, seeking, building, and living it. There was a fervent sense that this is what is needed right now. It was such a welcome and welcoming feeling. There was an assortment of workshops (from diversity, marketing, fun, affordability, aging, to building net-zero energy and beyond).
My weekend started with a National Board retreat, where we hashed out a revitalized vision for the organization that will help spread the word of both cohousing and what cohousing stands for, in a world that can often feel topsy-turvy. From details like refreshing the community listings to increasing regional representation as we spread our gospel to the fifty states and beyond. If you are interested in getting more involved there is an avenue for you, starting with helping with the East Coast Regional Conference in Amherst, MA (Sept 21st-23rd) and the 2019 National Conference in Portland, OR (May 30-June 2, 2019) [Volunteer Form here].
The conference on Friday had well-attended intensives (such as Bridging Circles, Development 101, Design, Affordability), a welcome reception where the buzz was high even without the free red drink tickets! Saturday saw packed workshops, like marketing or dealing with difficult members (where we all shared our best practices), to designing common house issues and building a great team. Saturday also saw packed breakfast and lunch presentations and more talking with each other. All day long, dedicated professionals and veteran cohousers shared their knowledge and soaked up the energy of dedicated newbies. Saturday night proved popular with the joint dinners out on the town where we met mostly new folks and sampled Boulder’s delicious restaurants. The conversations never stopped (okay, a few of us are introverts, but the talking was pervasive). A happy feeling, smiling faces, the lively dialog just never ceased. Sunday brought packed bus tours to Boulder/Denver and beyond to visit cohousing communities.
I do and did have a feeling that part of this vigor and liveliness is what you might see at any cohousing conference and part of it was, the essential demand, so many of us are feeling for the community it provides to us during challenging world times. All the workshop materials, as well as many existing resources, will be shared soon on this website.
I hope existing communities can support our renewed vision with financial commitments to Coho/US, and individuals will invest in this dream, to grow this collaborative movement, so many of us have chosen to live.