More Changes at Twin Oaks: 40 years and Counting...

By Valerie

In the last ICSA bulletin, you read about the shifts our communal economy has undergone, as we lost the largest customer of our primary collective business (hammock-making) and our subsequent shift to our secondary industry, tofu-making, and an increase in work outside of the community. We're still in the process of weathering those changes, although our financial picture has strengthened and we're back on solid ground in that realm again.

The latest driving force of change is in our population demographics. "Exodus" may be too strong a word, but in the past several months, a relatively large number of our older, longer-term members have announced plans to leave the community. Losing people that have half- jokingly been referred to as "lifers" is having quite an effect. Many hold positions of responsibility that are quite central to the community, and our remaining members over 50 are anticipating a loss of peers. We'll also lose some of the valuable perspective of those able to take the "long view" of community living via their own personal experience. Interestingly, this is all happening at a time when we've reached our maximum population capacity, and are looking at starting a waiting list.

Currently over 50% of our members have lived at Twin Oaks for four years or less. This, in a community that will celebrate it's 40th anniversary of existence in June 2007! We have an abundance of energetic members in their twenties, and we're working on attracting more people aged 35 and over. As always, we're also interested in any internationals (hint, hint) coming our way. We'd love to see you here.