Community, for the Health of It
It’s a wrap. The 2019 National Cohousing Conference that closed yesterday in Portland was a rousing success. Whether you came for two days or four, or were on the conference team for over a year, or supported the effort from afar, you were part of taking the next step toward a world in which caring neighbors are available to everyone.
There is much to celebrate in the cohousing movement. 560 people gathered for the largest conference attendance ever. Nearly 100 people became Evergreen Neighbors, committing to support the cause of greater connection in our world with a monthly donation to CohoUS. Professionals, both new and experienced, expanded their knowledge and skill sets. Forming and established communities found energy, shared experience and new members. The stories of lives changed by community continue to proliferate and many were recorded on video for more sharing. Courtney Martin reminded us all of the incredible power of Extra Yarn in community. (See the children’s book of that name by Mac Barnett.)
In the end though, we came together less to celebrate community than to address the reality that the world needs so much more of it. We talked a lot, both in sessions and between them, about the ways our movement could do more to benefit people of color, people without homes, people of the next generation and people with lower incomes. We struggled together with the challenges of connecting with those populations in community and shared both creative new approaches and the intention to do more.
560 communitarians shared hugs and laughter, ideas and skills, inspiration and energy, empathy in the struggle and hope for the future. As we travel home and begin to apply what we’ve learned, today marks the first day of the real work of conference - the work all of us will do to take what we have learned, the energy we have gathered, and the connections we have made to build more community in our world.
As Karin and Karen are traveling home today, we will be thinking of all of you, inspired by your passion, buoyed by your appreciations, and determined to do even more to make The Cohousing Association a tool for keeping us all connected in this movement as a community of communities. We’re wrapping up an incredible experience, and we’re looking forward to the next time we can be with you: a WebChat on June 19, a Simple Series event in 2020, and of course, our National Conference in 2021. We’re looking forward to seeing you there.