Greetings readers! This is my very first blog post entry and I’m excited to give you a glimpse of life at Village Hill Cohousing from the perspective of a parent of a young child. My family, which includes me, my wife and our now 4 year old son, moved here in June 2023. We were eager to start getting to know our neighbors and build community with other families with young children in the Valley. Before arriving here, the community set up a welcoming play space in the smaller dining room, which we also refer to as the “kids room” in the Common House. It has books, toys, art supplies and a cozy futon mattress on the floor. Since our unit is small, we spent the summer moving between our home, the kids room and, of course, the great outdoors around VHC, to find places to play in and explore – and get a respite from the heat.
As summer came to an end, I began planning for Halloween – one of my favorite holidays! I decided to organize and host a kids Halloween party in our Common House. I partnered with the Neighborhood Engagement Team (NET) “up the hill” in the greater Village Hill condo community and we planned a combination adult costume parade and outdoor gathering / kids crafting and games party. We invited folks from the larger Village Hill neighborhood, cohousing, North Commons and from my son’s school. Despite rainy, chilly weather on the day of the party, it was a huge success! Members of VHC volunteered to help set up and run activities, including limbo, pumpkin painting, and a “no hands, hanging donuts” eating contest. People contributed snacks, cupcakes and apple cider. My wife, Annie, aka “DJ Annie RUOK” DJ’d the party and it was so much fun to see people letting loose and dancing in costume!
Our community continues to be conscientious about COVID. We utilized HEPA filters, open windows, a ceiling fan and a CO2 monitor to increase ventilation and monitor air flow. It was a little chilly in the room but the young people did not mind and it gave us all an excuse to dance to stay warm!
As winter approached, a small team of us decided to throw another kids-centered event called the Welcome Winter party. We were particularly interested in inviting families from North Commons to participate; part of our effort to build relationships with the renters in that building and to open up our Common House to more community-building events. One of the event organizers from North Commons, Starrcrystal, made an amazing spread of (mostly) vegetarian food and Mariel (VHC resident) got a big pizza to share. We set up a couple crafting activities, the most popular being “Make your own tissue paper lantern.” And once again, the amazing “DJ Annie RUOK” DJ’d for us. And yes, the limbo stick made another appearance!
We hope to have many more family-centered events at VHC as we continue to think of ways to make our community welcoming and accessible to parents of young children and to celebrate our fabulous young people who are such a joy to live in community with!