On October 23rd, 2014, we updated our
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Goals To begin a genuine community-wide conversation about participation To identify positions and clarify fears and concerns about different positions on participation To see if we can all agree on a brief statement or “vision” about participation
Guidelines To listen to everyone’s ideas and feelings on this topic with care and respect To move from opinions and positions to interests and concerns. Position: "You can't make people participate…” Concern: "Feeling pressured to participate will take the joy out of living here.” Position: “We have to have rules.” Concern: “I feel we are losing our sense of being a community. To speak from your own experience—the “I” perspective
Journal The sheets being passed out have some finish-the-sentence prompts to complement the activities we’re about to do. There’s also space on the sheets for you to take notes.
Re-Imagining Cohousing The goal of this exercise is to help you think about cohousing from a fresh perspective—what would an older and wiser community look and feel like 10 years from now. You’re invited to close your eyes and rest comfortably as I read, or quietly take notes if you prefer. After I finish reading, you’ll have 5 minutes to respond to the first two short prompts on your journaling sheet. When the meeting is over, I’ll collect the sheets and type them up.
Re-Imagining Cohousing You’re invited to close your eyes and rest comfortably as I read, or quietly take notes if you prefer. If you are arriving late please take a sheet and quietly read along.
In one sentence, describe how it felt to experience cohousing 10 years from now with your childhood friend.
Finish this sentence:When my friend asked me what the best thing about cohousing was, I said:
Journaling Please use your journaling as a guide in the next few conversations.
Secret Sauce The goal of this exercise is to guess the ingredients of the secret sauce that makes participation in cohousing either today or 10 years from now an unqualified success. Get into groups of five (bring your journaling sheet with you): For each person: Read what you wrote about the best thing about cohousing. Imagine (or recall) participating in (choose one) a successful workday, meeting, meal or other group activity. What do you think were the secret ingredients to that activity’s success? With one person as scribe, can your group describe the secret sauce in one sentence? If not, list one keyword from each person to describe the secret ingredients.
Discussion: from Positions to Fears and Concerns Let’s say at one end of the discussion about participation we have this position: “Everyone should participate/contribute without exception.” What are your fears or concerns about this position? Why do you feel this way? And at the other end of the discussion we have this position: “Participation should be completely voluntary.” What are your fears or concerns about this position? Why do you feel this way?
Discussion “Everyone should participate/contribute without exception.” Concern: Concern: Concern: “Participation should be completely voluntary.” Concern: Concern: Concern:
Fishbowl Volunteers: the goal of this exercise is for: two people with fears and concerns about a completely voluntary system, and two people with fears and concerns about a completely mandatory system… …to have a conversation with the goal of putting together a brief statement about participation that you can agree to without reservation. One chair is empty—anyone can join the conversation at any time—when one person sits in the empty chair, one person in the fishbowl leaves the group so another chair will be empty.
Fishbowl As observers, we can: Join the conversation by taking the empty seat Observe patterns and themes Write down your thoughts or take notes—they will be an important part of a future discussion.
Wrap-up Identify (from fishbowl and earlier discussions/activities): Patterns & Themes: Areas where you feel we agree: Major concerns on both sides (and in-between):
Next Steps Brief statement on participation? Please pass your journaling to me-please sign if you like. If you heard something important in the fishbowl (or any conversation) that you think is key to our reaching agreement on participation, please write at the bottom of the sheet. The key ingredient is _____________ because.
Evaluation Questions Were the goals accomplished? Did we begin a genuine community-wide conversation about participation? Did we iIdentifypositions and clarify fears and concerns about different positions on participation? Did we agree on a brief statement or “vision” about participation?
Evaluation Questions Were members bored or disinterested? Did members withdraw or feel isolated? What was the overall tone or atmosphere? What was the high point? What was the low point? What expectations did you have from the beginning? Did they change? What worked well? Why? What did not work as well? Any way it could be improved? Anything left out?