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Occidental Oriented - March 2015


Occidental Oriented - March 2015

Occidental, as quaint and unmarked by time as it appears from the outside, has never been a static environment. Change comes through Occidental quietly, affecting those who are watching for it. For as much of my childhood as I can remember, I have been a member of the Occidental Community Council, and even at age 5, I was watching for change. The year before I entered the public school system, the old Salmon Creek campus closed its doors. Change. And then it became the space it is today—the homes and offices and sweet little art gallery where I used to volunteer—back when I had that kind of time. Change came slowly at the old school, and for a while now, it has been creeping towards the Community Center across the street.

In my 8th grade year, a group of interested individuals created a group fondly known as THC, or Town Hall Committee.  Our efforts at figuring out what to do with the building were rather unsuccessful, but they began a conversation. Sometime later, the Occidental Community Center Advisory Council was formed at the request of the County Parks Department. Their mission is much the same as ours was—to figure out what to do with the underused building. They have created a great set of plans, which will be presented at a public meeting on June 13th in the gym at the Community Center. The time has not yet been determined. They are requesting about $12,000 for the project—which may include expanded programs managed by the YMCA, possibly relocating the local County Library, possibly having classes offered by the SRJC at the center, and an extension of the local senior services managed by the Community and Family Service Agency. I just hope the figure out a way to regulate the temperature. If you’re interested, the Advisory Council meets the first Tuesday of each month at 6:30 pm. You can contact Steve Kay at for more information.

“Change depends on reawakening to our interdependence with the natural world” reads the home page of the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center’s website. If you’re looking to change up your normal routine and get closer to nature, you might want to consider a permaculture design course offered by the OAEC. You’ll learn “how to design sustainable, regenerative systems in balance with your home ecosystem.” Their spring class runs from March 21st to April 3rd. If getting closer to nature isn’t your thing, but you would like to improve your workplace, their Facilitation for Group Decision-Making is weekend workshop that “will give you practical tools to enjoy more effective and participatory meetings in your non-profit, your business or your community.” Later in the summer, the OAEC is offering a workshop on healing, both spiritual and medicinal.

But before the summer sets in upon us, we have to get through spring, which is arriving earlier than anyone expected. In the spirit of that, today I have donned my blue and white plaid sundress, and am headed to Healdsburg to eat lunch and see In the Next Room at the Raven Theater. Have a lovely spring!