Part of the joy and struggle of creating a new community is creating the threads that hold us together. In our society and in our workplace, we often take for granted the structures and rituals that help us identify with each other. Many entrepeneurs have experienced the process of building a business AND a culture from the ground up. Communities aren’t much different.
Many of the activities that unite a community arise naturally as people interrelate. And consciously creating rituals that reflect the community spirit can help too. At Daybreak Cohousing we came together early and often around the joy of sharing and eating food with each other. Many a community can come to a place where we roll our eyes at the mention, or even the thought, of another potluck. And we are no exception. Yet we still revel in socializing together around food. We have a potluck and social time before each of our twice monthly community meetings. Our Development Team has dinner before each of its weekly meetings, whoever is hosting the meeting cooks and we don’t talk business until the meeting. When our Membership Team rotated houses, we used to offer snacks, and we had to be careful to be grateful for a fab spread without getting into a competition.
When it came to creating our first welcoming ceremony for new members, we wanted to keep it simple but also be meaningful. We wanted some kind of symbol that might bind us all together and we settled on the idea of giving personalized aprons to each incoming member. The homespun decorations on the aprons reflect our artistic or fanciful natures. And something we cherish about the incoming member. The aprons reflect our interest in food and sharing that food together. They are simple and playful. And they join us together in the thought of wearing our aprons to cook and clean-up in our Common House. We often bring our aprons to events as a symbol of our togetherness. It certainly is colorful.