considering a community

Discussion in 'Communal Living' started by kitty fabulous, May 26, 2007.

  1. kitty fabulous

    kitty fabulous smoked tofu

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    Recently I sent an introduction letter to an intentional community, inquiring about a short visit to see if my family might schedule a longer trial visit for consideration for membership. this is something i have been considering for a long time, although of course i'm not making any hard and fast decisions until after we've visited and have a clearer idea of whether or not this arrangement will meet everybody's needs.

    one of the reasons why i am considering this particular community is that they are actively seeking single-mom families to correct a gender and age imbalance. i still have a few questions and concerns, most of which of course can only be addressed by a visit to the community itself and actively participating in it for awhile, but some of the more general questions about community life i hope some of you can answer here.

    my biggest concern is about finances. my family has just won a small settlement in a lawsuit over my mother's death. before committing myself anywhere, my first priority is getting past debts taken care of, including student loans. i am also planning on investing in a van to convert to veggie-oil so i will have some sort of transportation for my family. the community i am interested in is an egalitarian community. does that means it is income-sharing, and if so, what happens to my savings of whatevers left after taking care of debts? the answer to this question won't necessarily determine whether or not i consider membership in the community so much as how i go about paying off my loans beforehand, whether or not i do it all in one chunk or set up a payment plan. i am trying to consider my children's future as much as my participation in the community. the van, my crafts business, and whatever's left after the debts are paid are resources i'd gladly share with th right community, as long as i have a crystal clear picture of what my financial obligations and expectations are.

    which brings me to another question i have about income-sharing communities. obviously, if we were to join a community, we would be looking at long-term committment. but suppose, after a few years, for whatever reason, our family decided we needed to move on? a security deposit and first month's rent for an apartment is a big up-front expense. we may also need the typical "new apartment" items if we have been sharing things like dishes and furniture, etc.

    a good community should have a path out as well as a path in, correct? i am really kind of hoping to be able to settle somewhere without having to think about leaving for once, and yet it's something i do need to consider for my kids' sake. if our family gets a limited amount for spending every week, as i've noticed is normal practice in income-sharing communities, how are we going to be able to acrue the savings for a place to stay should we have to leave for whatever reason?

    these i guess are my biggest concerns. i have been "warned" by various people who may or may not know what they're talking about regarding communities that if i join an income-sharing community, they will "take" our family's winnings or that we will "lose" our resources to the community. some of the concerns mentioned are a bit paranoid, others may be more legitimate. i've been married and divorced twice, and experience has taught me that this kind of committment deserves the same sort of careful consideration. is there some way of protecting my family's assets should the arrangement with a community not work out? i don't begrudge my responsibility of sharing, but i do have to consider my kids' financial future should the situation not work out or should we need to leave eventually.

    of course, i have yet to get the response to my letter so this may not even be a concern if they are not income-sharing, or if it is determined up front that we won't meet each other's needs.
  2. oldwolf

    oldwolf Waysharing-not moderating Super Moderator

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    aho kitty -

    presume you looked this up...
    you should be able to keep something out for "mad" (moving against domination) money - though specific communities may frown at it - if they do warning bells should ring
    Some communities fully acknowledge the almost need for each memeber to be independent as well as fully committed to the community while you are there....but so many of us also have been bitten by the nomadic bug and realize that we are all community.

    you've been blessed with uncommon intelligence - use it before you leap.
    Or not - you draw your lessons girl - lessons do not have to be hard knocks - they can be unfolding opportunities.

    Blessings Be with you along your Way

  3. Bucket Von Harmony

    Bucket Von Harmony Member

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    Hello Kitty

    I have a strong guess of which community you are applying to.

    I lived there for 3 months and now live at on of the sister communities just miles away.

    To make a long story short:

    You hold ownership of all your old property outside of the community, and do not use it while you live there.

    Any interest you recieve from your previous assests is considered income, and all income in the community is shared. So if you are earning interest, that interest goes into the community pool.

    When you leave, you begin the use of your pre-existing assets.

    The emphasis is on being fair, on trying to prevent a class system.

    At my community, there is a provision for people who own rental properties to divert a large amount of the rental income towads maintaining the property. There are several rules and compromises like this to help people maintain what they have built up when they come to community.

    The community your going to has a much smaller population, and is therefore much more flexable in reaching compromises.

    What's important is to not have a set of Haves and Have-Nots on the farm, or for people with access to resources to have more power or authority over peoplw who do not.


  4. oldwolf

    oldwolf Waysharing-not moderating Super Moderator

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    thank you bucket
    It is always so much better, more whole, and complete when the answers come from those involved within those things questioned.

  5. kitty fabulous

    kitty fabulous smoked tofu

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    Bucket, yes, I'm pretty sure that's the place! I've just PM'd you. I'm sure most of the questions I have will be answered when I'm able to visit. I feel very good about this, I just want to be certain I know what I'm getting into and what the expectations are.

    I contacted them last year but did not feel ready to commit to a visit yet because I decided wanted to support myself independently for a year so that I'd be more ready to give of myself to the right community, and to allow my children time to adjust to the transition of divorce and stabilize a bit. I've done that now, and am now in a position where I feel rather strongly that it's time for me to open up and consider where I want to share my energy. Just that "it's time!" feeling, you know?

    I really feel good about what I've read/heard about this place so far, and hope we'll click, but I don't want to rush in and make any hasty decisions. Their smaller size really does appeal to me, as does their craft business (I am a sculptor and have an artistic interest in recycled metals and found objects.) I like that I can keep my savings and contribute the interest, allowing me to protect my family's future and contribute financially to the larger whole at the same time.

    oldwolf, as far as the "moving against domination" concern, I really, really don't get that kind of vibe from these people. I've known people happily involved with their sister community, which has an outstanding reputation. But I do have to take into consideration things like family obligations (I still have one ageing parent, who thankfully is cared for for now), my kids' changing educational needs, or just plain feeling the need to lovingly move on for whatever reason. I would not have even considered sending in my intro letter if I felt fearful or uncomfortable about these people in any way. This is the same community I was considering last year when I was writing to you from my cousins' house. I just feel better able to contribute in a whole-hearted, healthy and mutually fulfilling way now than I did then.

    Back then I had a concern about supporting myself and having a place to live. Right now, not only am I supporting myself, but my ticket sales are also helping to support a theatre center I believe very strongly in. I could afford to live anywhere I want to, at least long enough to get settled. I could even afford go back to the Catskills, which is tempting, and believe me, I've thought about it a lot. But it sort of feels like I'd be moving backwards to return to Woodstock/Kingston, as much as I love, love, loved it there and I'm sure my artwork would thrive in the galleries. But right now I'm excited that I have skills, resources and energy to share, and I feel like I want to be putting it into something bigger than just our little family. Expanding our ideas of family and home, and being a part of a larger, like-minded whole. Based on the needs expressed on their webpage, I really think I could make a fulfilling and meaningful contribution, in addition to learning and growing myself, should everything work out and we prove to be a good fit for each other. Like I said, it really feels like it's time to start considering where my offerings might be best needed & recieved.

    (oh, and btw, oldwolf, that's my little bug-catcher in my sig pic, playing with the wizard capes at the Strong Museum of Play. Can you believe he's 9 now???)

    I have tons more questions, I'm sure, many of which I can't articulate yet, but I'm sure they'll all be addressed in time, should we be able to schedule a visit. It sure felt right to email the intro letter, though! It's been about a week, and I haven't heard anything. I noticed on their webpage updates they've got some new interns, so I imagine they're probably busy. How long should I give it before calling? I don't recall how long I waited before calling last year.


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