[Editor’s Note: This is a copy of our regular community newsletter. If you’d like to sign up, email us at hello@compasscohousing.com.]

We just love the cherry blossom season!

It’s the first big sign (for us, anyway) that life is springing forth from the earth once again, the winter is now behind us and we can look forward to warmer, sunnier days.

Of course, it also means the start of gardening season again. And that’s something keeping many of our cohousing compatriots busy this time of year.

That’s a big part of cohousing, by the way – living with people who are interested in the same things that you are.

We have the gardeners. And people who can play music. There are those who are great at crafting things and others who know their way around a tool shed.

There’s even a budding beer club for all those zythophiles out there.

In that spirit, we bring you the following feature article. Written by one of our early members, Brittany, it’s a quick summary of why people choose to join Compass… and why you may just want to consider it too.

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7 Big Reasons to Join a Cohousing Family

By Brittany Harris

#1: So many different skills all in one place.

No one is good at everything, but everyone is good at something. Your neighbours each bring a skill set to the table that they’re happy to offer to others, and their abilities are as diverse as the people themselves.

Wouldn’t it be great if you knew someone who could lend a hand in areas where you struggle? Or help you with something you just don’t want to do?

Maybe you need to hem a new pair of pants, make a cutting board, plant a garden, debug a computer, make a birthday cake or deal with a wasp’s nest.

Our “amateur experts” will bring not only their keen minds but also the right tools for the job. Many of these tools will be easily found in the craft room, workshop, garden shed and kitchen of the common house.

#2: Learn a new skill from an expert.

Spend a bit of time with us and you’ll soon notice that cohousers are helpers and teachers – they love to pass on their skills. So, if you’ve ever wanted to learn how to knit, decorate a cake like a pro, make a quilt or even learn how to play the dulcimer… we’ve got you covered!

#3: Social clubs galore.

Part of living in a group like ours is finding others who share your passion and interests. Cohousing is meant to support people’s creative interests and help you connect with likeminded individuals.

At the heart of this lies a number of social clubs that meet together in the lounges, great hall, music room, workshop and craft spaces offered by the common house.

Here’s just a small sample of what you can expect to find in Compass:

  • Book club

  • Board gamers

  • Parenting support group

  • Brewers group

  • Cinematic appreciation club

  • Gardening group

  • Walking group

… and plenty more. (Indeed, even though we’re not yet all living together, members have already teamed up to form such groups.)

#4: Celebrating, cooking and breaking bread together.

When you walk into Compass’s Common House you step into our great room and kitchen.

This is where we will celebrate holidays, wish each other happy birthday, grab a coffee together, cook up a storm and eat abundant pot luck dinners.

Eating with others is a cure to loneliness or even just a nice break from the hum drum; it’s an excuse to talk, to reflect on the day, to discuss recent events and to acknowledge each other’s successes.

#5: Caregiver support.

Caring for children, or someone who is sick is difficult, stressful work. It can be made doubly difficult for those of us who live far away from our family support system. Oftentimes what you need most is a break.

Someone trusted who can take on this role for a few moments, or can pick up one of the many daily tasks that fall to the wayside is always a welcome idea.

You will naturally develop these trusted relationships as part of the group. People who live alongside you are usually willing to step up to help out. They will take on child care when it gets too much, pick up groceries or make a meal when you come out of the hospital.

Being stuck at home with the kids with no adults to talk to can be isolating. You are not alone in this experience and cohousing creates many opportunities to meet up with other parents to discuss parenting woes (and offer up solutions).

#6: A sense of security and safety.

Knowing that you live in a place where everyone is watching out for your family is invaluable. It creates a deep sense of safety and security that is fundamental to meeting your basic needs.
If you go away for a week, there is someone to watch over your place and water your plants. You can get on with your day knowing that when your child is playing in the courtyard, (with your permission) there is always an adult keeping an eye on them.

There will be dozens of other people around them who they can turn to for support and to intervene if they get in a fight with their friends.

#7: Motivation to exercise.

We know we should do it more, but gosh darn it if we don’t let life get in the way.

So why not hold yourself accountable by committing to do it with a friend?

Compass members are looking forward to joining in on dance and yoga classes or a walking group. Some members are also planning to donate their exercise equipment to turn our common house flex space into a state-of-the-art gym right at your fingertips.

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Thanks for putting this together Brittany!

So which club would you join?

The walking club? The Compass crafters? The parental support (i.e., free childcare) group?

Let us know what interests you and get to know us a bit better too!

The best way to do that is through an info session. You’ll learn about cohousing in general, Compass specifically, and all of our members too!

As usual, by Zoom from the comfort of your own home.

To register, just head to the site here or email either Doug (doug@compasscohousing.com) or Michelle (michelle@compasscohousing.com).

And that’s all from us. We’re off to enjoy the cherry blossoms while they last!

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