Last year a bus full of people from all over the country came to visit Treehouse. They were all attending the annual Co-Housing Conference in Boston. It was our first busload of visitors since we opened in June 2006.
I was the official Treehouse greeter, welcoming people as they got off the bus and came into the Community Center. We all moved into the Gathering Space where we celebrate all of our community activities: birthdays, teas, pot lucks, artistic events, adoption parties, and so much more.. After people settled in at our 8 round tables I shared The Treehouse Story.
The audience was inspired and asked wonderful questions. One lovely woman from Utah came back to visit a few months later and decided to move to Treehouse. She will be a great community member: engaged, interested in living in an intentional multigenerational neighborhood, friendly, open, child-centered, and completely aligned with our mission and vision.
Today the bus pulled up again. I stood at the front door of the Community Center and welcomed folks as they stepped off under the portico. After we settled into the Gathering Space I began to share the Treehouse Story. As I was talking, the power of this remarkable 10 year journey hit me in a way that it never had before. Maybe it was how much we had grown as a community over the past year. Perhaps the reality of what we had accomplished rang true in a new way. Whatever the reason, standing in front of this attentive audience sharing our Treehouse history moved me deeply.
I started from the very beginning – the evening when my husband handed me the newspaper article about a little 5 month old baby being kidnapped from his crib in broad daylight. I wove in vignettes from 1998 – 2008, all the way to yesterday’s Iced Tea Party.
I thought about all of the learning that Treehouse has provided us with. I thought about all of the fabulous people who have showed up on the journey. Then all of the generosity, kindness, grace, flexibility and support that I have been the recipient of. I thought about the kids, their families, Treehouse elders, our partners, board members, the volunteers, and our stellar Community Facilitator, Kerry Homstead.
It has taken vision, dedication, tenacity, and determination to bring this vision to fruition. And we did it! We launched, lived through the first two years, and are now beginning to think about the possibilities of home ownership and scalability.
I love our annual visit from the Co-Housing Tour. People come in curious and go away inspired. They encourage me to continue the work and stay focused on the prize – the well-being of children. When they leave I wish another bus would pull up so I could continue sharing the story about how one five month old baby boy inspired the engagement of so many people.