Just a week away!

The communities conference is just a week away!

The new fire pit is all finished and beautiful, the living roof we built over the shower is looking beautiful, and we just finished major upgrades in our kitchen! Everything is falling into place and we are expecting nearly double the turnout this year.

Below are a list of workshops and presenters given this year. We have a few more details to finish before we finalize our workshop schedule, so things may change.

Cooperation Is The Ecological Solution

by Alexis Zeigler

Cooperative living is the most effective solution for peak oil and
global warming. We will look at how alternative energy and
conservation strategies can be cooperatively applied to live lightly
and well, and how cooperatives can lead the environmental movement
toward real solutions. We will look at cooperative energy
conservation in a global context, as well as some of the nuts-and-
bolts of different conservation and alternative energy technologies
as they can applied in small groups.

Alexis Zeigler is a self-educated activist, green builder, and
orchardist living in central Virginia. He has organized numerous
campaigns around environmental and social justice issues, built super-
insulated buildings and alternative energy systems, and has lived in
intentional community all of his adult life. More information,
including articles, interviews, and downloadable books, can be found
at his website, conev.org or by contacting [email protected]

How Do We Choose The Communities We Join?

by Irena Hollowell

If you're looking for a community to join, it's helpful to know just
what you're looking for, and it can be helpful to understand why we
each look - and have looked - for different things. This discussion
will be not only a chance to state our preferences for large or small,
spiritual or secular, etc. - it will also be a chance to explore ways
of making this decision, to talk about what challenges and joys we
have found and hope to find on this path, and to come away with a
better understanding of advantages offered by various styles of
communitarian living.

Irena Hollowell daydreamed about starting a community before
she even knew the communities movement existed. Since graduating from
college, she has been living in community - especially the Fellowship
Community of New York - and traveling the world. Her travels have
taken her, among other places, to Auroville, the world's largest
intentional community, and to an Ecovillage Design course in Thailand.
She now lives at Acorn Community, 7 miles from Twin Oaks, and enjoys
working with herbs, walking in the woods, and writing mythic poetry,
among other activities.

Income Sharing: Mutual Aid

by the FEC

In this workshop, presented by the Federation of Egalitarian Communities,
we'll talk about the ways that income sharing and our strong culture of
sharing and mutual aid serve us in times of boom and bust. We hope to
attract a mix of FEC members, members of non-FEC communities, and
economically independent folks to share thoughts and perspectives on
sharing wealth and risk.

This workshop will be presented by members of at least two communities that are a part of the Federation of Egalitarian Communities. Each person will share their own experiences, and the group will include a variety of perspectives on the practice of income-sharing in community.

Community-Builders Clinic

by Sky Blue

Community-building is not something most of us were trained to do. It's our desire for belonging and togetherness, and a desire to live in alignment with our values that drives us stumbling forward. We've all had success and failures building community. This will be an opportunity to share about what we've learned and help each other gain insight into the elusive yet compelling practice of building community.

Sky Blue has lived and worked in co-operative and communal settings for the last 12 years. He currently works as an activist and community-builder in Charlottesville, VA.

Eco- Residence Tour

by Valerie and McCune

Sustainable living on a communal scale. Tour one of our Twin Oaks residences, the largest and most eco-featured. (named Kaweah) The presentation will cover various aspects of living in an ecofeatured house. Included in the tour: solar electricity, solar hot water, zoned high-performance central wood heat, sun-tubes, window quilt insulation and a composting toilet.

Valerie and McCune Renwick-Porter both live in Kaweah. McCune has been a
member of Twin Oaks for 38 years and is a main designer/builder of alternative energy installations in the community. Valerie has lived at Twin Oaks for 18 years and works community outreach, the forestry program and teaching yoga.

Conscious Connections

by Debby Sugarman

In this workshop, Debby will lead a series of experiential exercises to allow people to get to know each other quickly and deeply. The intention is for participants to have fun and get to know each other better at this conference, AND to learn exercises that are easy to lead and can be taken back to your home communities to promote deeper connections and easy social integration of new members. Handouts will be provided with instructions for leading exercises.

Debby Sugarman has been assisting the Heart of Now personal growth course since 2001 (www.heartofnow.org) and is a facilitator for the course. She currently leads Heart of Now workshops in the DC area and is part of the Network for a New Culture which puts on a 10 day Summer Camp promoting intimacy and community-building (http://www.cfnc.us). Debby has experience with Non-Violent Communication and Co-Counseling, and is a trained Zegg-style Forum facilitator (http://www.zegg-forum.org/index_en.phtml), a trained mediator and meeting facilitator.

Conflict: Fight, Flight, or Opportunity?

by Laird Schaub

Does conflict mean your group is sick, or just paying attention?
Starting with the premise that conflict is healthy and normal, we'll
explore options for unlocking its potential using the whole
person--rational, emotional, and intuitive. Rather than talking about "I"
statements or being nice, we'll focus on what happens and what can be done
when things get hot, concluding with a four-step plan for constructive
engagement. Special attention will be given to the advantages of working
in a group and in the dynamic moment, facilitated by those not in the

Should You Start a Community or Join One?

by Laird Schaub

For some people hungry for community life, this can be a fundamental fork
in the road. While starting your own group may look like the clearest
pathway to getting what you want, we'll explore the brambles you'll find
along the way, and lay out the pros and cons of joining versus starting.
There's more here than you might think!

Power Dynamics and Leadership in Cooperative Groups

by Laird Schaub

While meetings are meant to be equally accessible to all members, the
reality is they are not. This workshop will examine why power is
unbalanced, and what a group can (should?) do to level the playing field.
Not everyone is equally comfortable speaking in front of the whole group;
not everyone finds rational discourse their strongest suit; not everyone
can sit still for a three-hour meeting. We'll distinguish between "power
over" and "power with" and discuss what groups can (must?) do to adopt
healthy models of cooperative leadership.

Laird Schaub has been living in the fire of intentional community
since 1974, and active in intercommunity networking since 1979. He has
been involved with the Fellowship for Intentional Community since 1986 and
been doing consulting work on group process since 1987. Excited about what
community living has taught him and others about how to live
cooperatively, today he is a principal in the CANBRIDGE process
collective, making the learnings available to interested groups
everywhere. He can be reached at Rt 1, Box 155, Rutledge MO 63563 ph 660-883-5545 email: [email protected]

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