Open Circle Visit
When i heard that the folks from Open Circle community in Culpeper had asked Kassia, Sky, Roberto and Marta for advice about recruiting is simultaneously annoyed and pleased. Pleased because i love the folks being asked and think they are very clever and annoyed, because as much as i love them i think they are not really recruiters for intentional communities and i have been fairly successfully for over a decade and the Open Circle clan knows this. But i recognized this annoyance as a pointless luxury emotion and put it aside.
On my way back from Death City about a month back i stopped by for a blitz meeting with the Open Circle clan and some local friends of theirs and did a quick intense brainstorming meeting with them.
i asked “What are you looking for? Or how are excited about in growing your community?” They replied they wanted 0rganic growth and to incubating new communities. To become and facilitate multi-generational community.
All these things were music to my ears, since i am interested in developing these things also and in search of allies. I continued my sociocratic style quick go round questioning. “What are the obstacles or binding assumptions you have about this expansion? Could you merge with another community? Could you leave Culpeper?” They had surprisingly few binding assumptions. They would merge with or foster independently a new community. They would consider moving if they had an offer more compelling than what they had. They were excited about local connections both in terms of food production and modeling localism.
I told them that i wold happily volunteer to help them. That my recruiting obligations for Twin Oaks change when my community is full and we then focus more on helping the movement grow than looking at just how to add to our already heavy waiting list. I talked about my own hopes to foster multi-generational community in the central Virginia area, based on consensus and transparency group technology. They were open to exploring further.
They asked me about income models for small communities, i shared my opinion that income models mattered much less than getting the right people. That the collection of people which join will find either cottage industry positions or add new jobs to those done by members of the community. Focus on choosing communards carefully and leveraging your membership into something wonderful. Especially if organic growth means not forcing expansion and them feeling spacious about the process, they could interview dozens of people without adding one, if it were not a really strong fit.
Even though it was a short visit, it was intense and rich and i appreciated these fine generous folx letting me conduct this curious rushed conversation.
Post Script: For the last week Sara and i have been out at the Open Circle Red Cabin, which they generously offered to help us figure out what we are doing next.