“I’ve seen the people in this community fill in the blanks when needed. When someone is carrying a heavy load, neighbors swoop in from all sides to help. Its refreshing to see, and experience, that there is no one alone during the hard times, yet you can just as easily step away for solitude and then you are always able to come back to friendly faces.” ~ Kira (Member since 2000, arrived at age 1.5 yrs)
Children have been a vital part of our community since the beginning. Creating a safe and nurturing environment for children has always been a big part of our vision. There are many advantages to raising children in an intentional community. Children here get access to the expertise, wisdom, care, resources and love of many adults. As a parent, it is also a good place to get support and advice from other parents. The children themselves have historically formed their own community and end up supporting and teaching each other. The woods, garden, commonhouse, and play areas all provide safe places to play and explore. As the kids grow older, Indianola is a very safe town to roam and the beach areas are awesome for kids of all ages.
All the residents here, including renters, have a community chore. We have a history of being creative about finding chores that match the skills, interests, and motivations of the people doing them but there are also some chores that just have to get done. Examples of current chores include: a garden team, grounds team (weed-whacking, mowing, leaf raking, and grounds maintenance in general), facilities (tending to our water system, common house structural, electrical, mechanical, and plumbing systems, maintaining the hot tub and sauna), common house cleaning team, and a few other individual chores that people have created to match their interests/skills. In this way, we live our vision of sharing resources and time.
Wise Acres values age diversity. We currently have members from 5 to 70 years old. We have historically had children through grandparents. Members have been born here and several members have lived here through the end of their life. We value the input, energy, and fresh perspective that new members can bring. We also hope the wisdom we’ve gained through our experiences with community over the years can be shared. Because it is common for intentional communities to move towards age homogeny, we pay attention to, and strive for, creative ways to maintain the diversity we cherish. We are hopeful that rental units within our community can help provide opportunities to this end.
There are two regular meetings that happen each month. The first one happens on the second Wednesday of every month (except July and August) and we call it “Viz/biz” (short for visioning and business). This is where we make decisions about the details of living collectively. Per our bylaws, decisions are made on a “consensus minus one” basis, but in practice we have a adopted a system that strives for full consensus. This is one venue where we seek ways to bring innovation and creativity to our structure as outlined in our vision statement.
Inclusion is a multifaceted concept. We strive to hold the space for coexistence of different perspectives, opinions, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, racial and ethnic diversity, and gender identities. In practice this means cultivating openhearted listening and a willingness to sit together, with a spirit of inclusion and neutrality, through difficult conversations. In this way, we make manifest our commitment to honor individual differences.
Because we plan to live together over the long term, and because we are committed to deeply connected and interdependent relationships, we have cultivated a culture of proactively identifying and working to respectfully resolve conflicts, big and small. Ideally, our commitment to each other is to catch things early and not let the roots of discord take hold. This connects us back to our vision by reminding us to listen to each other with openness and humility, committed to working through hardships we encounter as individuals and as a community, and to build trust through love and forgiveness.
We practice sustainable gardening without the use of pesticides or herbicides. We have a covenant against individual households using chemicals in their yards. We steward 14 acres of forest land greenbelt around our developed property.