This post is by Marcia Shaffer, a current Prairie Hill Cohousing resident. The pictures are from several cohousing communities visited during the Regional Cohousing Conference in Colorado.
I attended the Boulder Cohousing Conference in mid-April. One of the workshops I chose to attend was one about having fun in cohousing, and a member of Nyland Cohousing gave the presentation. Nyland has about 135 members, which is one of the larger cohousing projects. Their entertainment committee had a budget of $600 a year. For each year they made a "save the date" list of 12-15 events that they planned to have. Here is a sample of the types of things they planned for: a lawn party, New Year's Eve party, game night in the park, cocktail party (adults only), pumpkin carving, Halloween parade, camp out, Easter egg hunt, Memorial Day barbecue, dessert potluck and game night, ice cream for breakfast, slip and slide (in the summer), Gong show and an annual camp-out in a beautiful park. This sounds like a lot of activity and works out to about one a month. To pull this off they would have one member who would volunteer to plan one of these events and the person asked others to help.
They also had a number of clubs. For instance they had a hot tub club. The community bought the hot tub and then the club members did the maintenance. They also had clubs for poetry reading and one that planned films.
Besides all of these fun activities there were more events. A real popular program was an evening of slide pictures of members involved in activities through the year. They also had house concerts. For these they invited musicians in for a concert and passed the hat. This included jam sessions and drum sessions. The community rated the artists and the artists rated the audience. In addition each year they had an art project for all ages. One year they made mandalas. Another year they made peace cranes. Another project was touch stones made of cement with symbols pressed into them. And of course they had political forums in the common house, inviting the wider community in.
They talked of the T2AO of fun. This meant that you need to have Time and Trust to have fun. Also you need A (to ask) and O (to offer). These two things meant that you need to ask for what you need. For instance one renter wanted more singing. Singing was a huge success. We are spending a lot of time in meetings planning our community right now but we need to look ahead to see all the fun we are going to have.