by Paxus Calta
Perhaps you are thinking about what you should be doing over Labor Day weekend. You have decided it is too expensive and too much hassle to go to Burning Man. You could visit your relatives, but Thanksgiving is looming and that is really a much better holiday for that activity. You could stay home and watch some sporting spectacular on TV, with teams you don’t especially care about and with perhaps too many advertisements between plays.
Or you could come to the Twin Oaks Communities Conference. It is reasonably priced, it has no commercials, you won’t get fine dust in everything you own, and, unless they are pretty cool already, you probably won’t see any of your relatives.
But rather than talk about what won’t be there, let’s explore some of what will be happening at this year’s conference.
The event is a mix of different types of content and social/cultural aspects. The content comes in three big forms. There are scheduled workshops, the schedule for which is at the bottom of this post and the detailed descriptions can be read here. [You need to click the arrow by the workshop titles to open up the full descriptions].
There is Open Space, which allows the participants to design their own workshops and present them. While the scheduled workshops are all on themes directly related to communities, the open space portion of the event can be on any topic which participants are excited about. In the past this has included permaculture, polyamory, anti-oppression work, a critique of Occupy and how to dumpster dive.
The other formal piece of content to conference provides is the “meet the communities” gathering Saturday morning. Everyone who is in a community (including ones which are forming) gets 60 seconds to introduce what they are doing. Then all the representatives distribute themselves in the main gathering area and put up little signs or put out other information on their place and answer questions presented by milling participants. There might be 30 or 40 communities represented. And you might just find the one which is a great choice for you.
There is lots of informal content. Experts and adventurers at meals talking about their experiences. Late night chats around the fire, about how happy we will be to not hear so much about Trump and concerns about Hillary. There will be new friends and romances. Smokers will chat comically or conspiratorially in their little area. Coffee and early morning rituals will bond new allies.
While the information provided would be sufficient reasons to come to this event – the culture, fun and personal connections seal the deal. For many people the conference is brushing up against the very different way of living at an income sharing, secular community which has deep sharing agreements. The communities conference dance on Saturday night is one of the best dances Twin Oaks has all year. Mud pits beckon.
Here is the scheduled workshop program
Saturday: 1:30 – 3:15 PM
Saturday: 3:45 – 5:30 PM
Sunday: 9:00 – 10:45 AM