Part of my problem with living here is i lose things. It is like i have a huge home, with dozens of buildings and a myriad of workstations and i could have left it at almost any one of these places. I got a memory stick, promptly lost it and just the other day found it in Pucks room , where i sleep with some regularity. When i looked at it i found all these communities conference pictures i was going to use for a blog post. Here are some of my favs, a bit late.
Rumor has it my illustrious co-dad Sky will be the principal organizer for next years communities conference. He is actually a brilliant choice. He is experienced with the conference management from his previous membership stint. He is coming from a number of years outside the commune and is thus more in touch with what progressive movements are doing beyond the often insular walls of the community. He has been to a bunch of other communities both in Europe and the US. He is a good networker and charismatic.
And as is so often true, the rumor is not true. Sky is happy to be part of the team that makes this event happen, but he is not jumping in to bottom line it, at least not at this point.
As i have written, Janel did a brilliant job organizing the conference this year. Central to her success was not experience in organizing this event, nor being universally capable (tho she is quite capable). Rather she was a titan of delegation and asking people for help. The combination of her charm and tenacity took an anemic event which had 85 participants last year, to a bustling, complex, vibrant happening with over 180 people registered, not including the numerous Acorners, Oakers and workshop providers who attended. Participants are still complimenting us nearly a week later.
Next year, likely Valerie and i will again play our senior adviser with Sky, and some as of yet to be identified bottom line organizer, or perhaps none.
It has been at least 10 years since we have had so many participants at the communities conference, and because of indoor overnight accommodations (which were not available in the past) it looks like we will make more money than we have in a long time.
But neither of these metrics are as important as a number of others. There was a long line of exotic and interesting communities which are forming and looking for new members. There were a significant number of spiritual communities represented in the meet the communities presentation this year and that is relatively new. We still are a dominantly white middle class group, but there are certainly some people of color and economic diversity represented.
And what makes the event magical is the perception that many of these dreams might actually manifest, that progressive and radical participants are finding communities and are find new folks to live with. One participant joked to me “Stop it already with these helpful and friendly people, i have to go back to the real world where it is nothing like that.” And it is a very pleasant crowd and the content from reviewing the transformational components of the occupy movement to what secular communities can learn from spiritual ones, to join or start a new community, were well received.
I explained to Janel the idea of organizer myopia. She was worried that the water was only intermittently available because our well was damaged in the earthquake and adding 160 outsiders for the conference is a significant demand. We had to make a number of quick housing changes to accommodate for mistakes i had made in room assigning. The food lines were long and she was concerned the event might be flopping.
One year at Ecotopia France there were a host of problems. The water line up the mountain broke and there was no water for 200 people. A polish bus had gotten stopped at the French boarder and they were keep a dozen participants from arriving. So of the food which was suppose to come from town had gotten lost and the toilets were not being cleaned and the fax machine had died. A hut of half a dozen organizers were in small building freaking out at various levels and there was an overall feeling of gloom. Then an organizer came in and as people tried to heap their woes on her she batted them off.
“Look i was just outside, there are dozen workshops going on and people are engaged. There are 3 different language trainings that are on going. The coffeehouse last night had talent thru the roof and people were loving their experience here. The fact that what you see is the logistical problems which abound does not mean people are not having a great time.”
Organizer myopia is when you see all the problems with an event and you assume the participants are having the same critical evaluation of it that you are, when often they are not.
Pictures at 11