Check out some of the things I've done to create public community below. Wherever I go, I love connecting people and creating space for community to form. Much of this work happens on a small scale: bringing together a group for weekly dinners, intentionally introducing people I think would like each other, making sure newcomers to the area know about events and organizations that fit their interests, enticing old friends to rent a giant mountain house together for a reunion weekend. What I do naturally in personal relationships, I also love to do on a larger scale.
I was so honored to receive this award from Sustainable Woodstock, a fabulous local nonprofit devoted to sustainability of all kinds, for economic development: "For advocating for opportunities for young adults and creating affordable workspaces." This was in recognition of the work I had done to establish the YALHT club and pop-up coworking days.
I created the Ottauquechee YALHT Club: A Facebook group for 20- and 30-somethings to find each other in this region. Hearing phrases like: “There are no young people here.” “The town is pretty much made up of retirees and second-home owners.” “Dating is impossible.” “I told my kids to move away so they can find a job and a partner.” I knew I needed to help change the story. While the population does definitely skew older than average, there are plenty of wonderful young adults—and opportunities for them—in central Vermont.
The group quickly grew from the 30 young adults I knew to over 200 in less than a year, and it continues to attract new members. We occasionally do events together (one year we had monthly potlucks, but people got tired of cooking ...), and frequently try to recruit each other for participation in all the great things we’re busy with! A huge benefit of this group is just the awareness that we’re not alone.
Thinking about how many people use coffee shops now as a place to work around other people and away from home--a coworking space is like that. Cozy, convivial, and full of community. I helped open coworking spaces in Vermont and created this logo featured here for the project.
Vermont is an ideal place for coworking spaces that showcase the area’s unique, independently minded mix of creatives, techies, and other professionals. Coworkers of Vermont is a group of people who are working to make Vermont a vibrant and viable place to live and work, bringing jobs to the area by creating them ourselves.
For more news and info, see my Pop-Up Coworking event and check out the group's Facebook page.