A few weeks ago, a handful of former and newer NICA board members gathered to discern the direction of Northwest Intentional Communities Association (NICA) in the Pacific Northwest. During our time together, we honored Rob Sandelin for his contribution to NICA and the Communities movement. Rob was one of the founding members of the organization and recently died after a long illness.
The dream for a regional network was birthed in West Seattle’s Camp Long back in 1992, and NICA incorporated in 1993. The same year, we watched the interest in communities growing, as the FIC’s International Celebration of Community conference was held in August ’93 at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. This large 5 day event spurred new cooperative ventures. There were potlucks and community fairs being held in the Seattle area. It was a lively time for dreaming, gathering like minded folks, working diligently and building communities.
The organization’s role over the years changed. The last few have been rather quiet. However, GATHERINGS have been the constant thread, with various topics of interest to current community members as well as folks who were looking for a community to join. We held day-long and some multi-day events, offering different modes for exchange, and our locations most often were community sites an/or camp grounds for weekend activities. Early on, when many of the area’s cohousing communities were being established, they were looking for members. As communities were settling in and filling their homes or rooms, the need for the gatherings changed.
By 2000, there was another wave of enthusiasm, and NICA’s focus was on having a larger multi-day event to focus on the relevance of cooperative culture and the concept of living sustainably, which was markedly enhanced by shared effort, rather than as an individual. That culminated with the 4-day “Co-Opportunities Northwest: A Sustainable Communities Conference” at Seattle Center, in October 2001.
A decade later, activities quieted down a bit, at least among those who attended our events, and our gatherings were often more focused on how to live together well in community. We explored what patterns work, how to network with others related to community activities, values re-clarification and revisioning, the concepts of Enough and our Interdependence.
Now we have a smaller set of board members and we admit we’re pretty Seattle-centric. We haven’t hosted many events outside of the Seattle area for a couple of years. We did do 2 public panel events last year however, and we have helped spread the word about IC events in BC, CA, MT, OR, and other parts of WA.
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