Craig Ragland's blog

Is your community represented at the National Cohousing Conference?

We recently started posting a list of all the communities with the number of people who have registered for the 2010 Natl Cohousing Conference (June 18-20, in Boulder, CO):

Its shouldn't be surprising to see people from a number of Colorado communities have signed up - not only is it less expensive (since they have minimal travel costs), but Colorado is one of the six hot-beds of Cohousing develompent.

What may be more interesting is the number with people who are traveling from far away... at this writing, communities from all of the "Cohousing hot spots," will be attending. These include:

  1. San Francisco Bay Area of California
  2. Puget Sound of Washington
  3. Central and Western Massachusetts
  4. North Carolina

The newest hot-bed, with two communities opening in 2009... drum roll please:

Putting your own time and money on the line...

What does it take to for a new group to succeed? One key factor is for passionate people to muster the courage to put their own time and money on the line... and to not wait for it to somehow happen as "the group comes together." It is by witnessing others that we respect and trust that most become willing to take the plunge... to risk success. Today, I got an email from Chuck Durrett asking me to post the following:

Dear folks trying to get cohousing communities started in the United States,

22 days to Conference, 4 days until registration price increase, 2010 Conference planning

That's right, just about 3 weeks to register for the 2009 National Cohousing Conference... and then I can stop relentlessly pounding that drum - my drum hand is getting tired. While you have about 3 weeks left to register for the conference, you only have 4 days to get a discounted price. For on the end of the day of June 8, the price jumps to its final price.

How I spend my time... as ED

The IRS recently required that I specify how my time (and cost) as the Coho/US Executive Director is split across our four "businesses" - Association Management, Conferences, Tours, and Online. I do lots of things and wear many Coho/US hats - some of them are hard to put into a particular "business" as they so often overlap. Some donors (both communities and individuals) want to better understand how their donations are used - something that I lead, under the guidance of the Board of Directors. I thought some of the readers out there in " land" might be interested in some specifics about what I'm up to on a day-to-day basis.

Coho/US Board to meet this weekend...

So the Coho/US board members have started arriving in beautiful Seattle. Eris Weaver now sits across my living room, working on her email as I type. Eris, David Entin, Diane Margolis, and Lisa Poley are joining the Seattle-based board members, Grace Kim and Meg Ludlum for a full weekend of planning and exploring how we can help Coho/US be more effective and successful.
Tomorrow, we meet at Puget Ridge Cohousing and then on Saturday, we'll be at Duwamish Cohousing.

In planning the meeting, our Executive Team, Co-presidents Eris and Lisa and I identified some desired outcomes.

They are:

2009 Conference work is getting interesting

The 2009 Conference team is truly going for it. We recently sold out the early-bird registrations - to the first 50 people. They claimed the best possible registration prices. The next 100 people who register are receiving a $50 discount off the final price. (See pricing information)

Event promotion is getting going with some press releases and some promotional emails. This is likely to drive a number of additional registractions - if you want to attend, don't miss out on the $50 discount.

The programming for event is really looking good. The theme, Growing Community, created a strong concept around which the 30 different breakout sessions of the main conference are organized. There are four different tracks:

Prince Charles advocates a key value of cohousing... but in an Indian slum?

Coho/US recently had to reduce our costs, I added "acting editor" to my other roles. While I make no claim of being a particularly good author or editor, I hope the quantity and utility helps compensate for my limitations.

Part of the editor's role continues to be finding, selecting, and posting the articles in the In the News section. As I did this today, I came across a thought-provoking article that really doesn't fit that section, but is worth reading.

Growing the "Cohousing Movement"

As Cohousers - current and prospective, we are part of something bigger than our specific local groups. Those of us eager to spread the values common to cohousing are sometimes motivated to lend their energy to grow the cohousing movement.

Recently, a small group of long-time cohousers began getting together (by phone) to talk about how we might leverage the current economy and new National leadership to grow a more vibrant movement. We've begun taking some actions that are pretty exciting. One outcome is the new Cohousing Movement's Blog. A variety of authors have said they will contribute to this in the coming months. We have other projects in the works which will be posted on the Cohousing Movement blog as they are ready to surface.

Cohousing Now! issue #1

Well, we did it! Unfortunately, its a good news and bad news kind of thing!

First, the Good News

The inaugural issue of Cohousing Now! was released on the same day that Barack Obama became President Obama*. The first issue was entirely hand-built, basically flat HTML that was carefully crafted on the cohousing website and then turned into email for the issue.

Now, the Bad News

During the broadcast our ISP's Server had severe memory problems... the email broadcast had display problems for some of our thousands of readers. Instead of black, orange, and blue text on a white background, they received black and blue text on a very dark background... we received lots of very nice emails telling us about this - or asking about the display problem... how disappointing to have this come up!

Revised In-the-News section

Coho/US has recently begun more active review and filtering of online news items from mass media for display on the Cohousing Website.

You can see this on the homepage, see the "In the News" section - or the associated pages. This section on the home page include 5 news items. Our webmaster, Catya, made some structural changes that lets us update this section indirectly - so we no longer touch the home page - or the longer list of news items, which can be found here.

To date, most of the news items have been discovered using Google Alerts.

Another source we've started using is the Yahoo News Search

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