How Mount Mansfield Villages Was Conceived
Thirty years ago a group of women who were friends and neighbors formed a book group. They called themselves the Pleasant Valley Book Group because they all lived in a beautiful valley at the base of Mt. Mansfield called Pleasant Valley. Half of them lived in Cambridge and the other half in Underhill. They were in their 30’s and 40’s, working professionally and/or raising families and once a month they gathered at someone’s house for a potluck meal, wine, conversation, and discussing the book they had read. Some of the conversations centered around taking care of aging parents and dealing with nursing home placement or assisted living arrangements.
As the years rolled by and family dynamics changed (kids to college, grandkids arriving, job changes) they began to talk about their own future around aging. One member because of her job, was well versed in what was available and also what was not available for aging people. “We’ll form a NORC!” she said. “What’s a NORC?” we all asked. “It’s a Naturally Occurring Retirement Community”. The concept was a community of small houses centered around a community building with shared services. While the idea had some merit, we all agreed that we wanted to stay in our own homes for as long as possible and continue to connect with our community, friends, and neighbors.
Fast forward to 2015 and many of the members are now retiring but fully active. An organization called the Village to Village Network was helping communities form virtual “villages” where neighbors help neighbors safely stay in their homes. Cambridge and Underhill are very similar in demographics and geography. Each town is at the end of their county where services may be more difficult to get. So the seed for forming a village started to germinate and from that Mount Mansfield Villages (MMV) was formed. Three of the book group members are on the Board of Directors of MMV, and the vision is to recruit volunteers and members for our village to sustain the organization. “I’m going to volunteer now,” one of the members said, “because I want to know that Mount Mansfield Villages will be there for me and my husband in the future, should we need it.”
Please consider joining Mount Mansfield Villages as a volunteer and/or a sponsor... or as a full member if you are in need of services.