Outreach is fun!

One of the jobs I forget that I do is outreach/recruitment. I forget it because I do it so infrequently.  I love the energy I get from talking to folks about community though. It’s always so much fun!

This past weekend, Nina and I got to speak at the first annual Jewish Intentional Communities Conference just outside of Baltimore. The folks organizing this event are trying to help kickstart the Jewish intentional communities movement in the US, and they asked Twin Oaks to send a leader/founder to speak since we’ve been around for a while. Apparently, my not-quite 8 years of mostly-living-here-on-and-off qualified.

I was pretty excited to get to go. I think everyone should live in community, but there aren’t enough communities, so I think lots of folks should be starting them. So, a conference that’s explicitly about encouraging folks interested in community to go start ‘em up? I’m so there. I was also excited that this was a non-secular event, as I’m personally interested in increasing the connections between the secular and non-secular communities movements.

The conference itself was awesome. I ended up co-presenting three workshops on various topics that seemed pretty well received. Folks were really interested in income sharing and how we managed to pull that off for 46 years. Also, I pointed a few folks from the west coast towards Emma Goldman’s Finishing School in Seattle, which I love doing because Emma’s is awesome and everyone should know about them. Most of the folks I talked to had never heard of Twin Oaks, the FEC, or the FIC, so I was happy to be able to introduce us to people.

Also, I got to talk to lots and lots of people during meals and various breaks. I’m pretty sure I told the “how I found out about Twin Oaks” story about 2959465 times. Even better than all the talking, though, is that I got to learn sooooo much about all the cool projects people are working on. I was especially fascinated by the folks living in kibbutzim in Israel that are still doing income sharing. It was fun to compare our systems and just learn more about that very influential part of the communities movement.

Overall, it was a great weekend. Talking to so many people who are excited about community reminds me of the stuff I love about living at Twin Oaks. It’s easy living here to get lost in the details, frustrations, and mistakes and forget that, at the end of the day, we’re actually doing something kinda amazing here. Hopefully, next year I’ll get to go back to this conference and hear about the awesome things being done by the new communities that have started!