Bend, Oregon is a community that attracts retirees from all over the country because of its beauty and numerous recreational opportunities. These include great skiing, hiking, and biking trails, a number of golf courses and fishing in rivers and mountains lakes. Remaining in this beautiful, scenic area is certainly a desire of each of these seniors.
In 2007, a group of friends decided they would like to have a plan as they continued to age which focused on remaining in their homes as long as possible. One Sunday over brunch they decided to pool their money and send for the manual published by Beacon Hill Village. From this publication, they wanted to learn if starting a Village in this area was feasible. Meanwhile a similar group of friends who gathered for a potluck dinner once a month also had the same discussion. One person who participated in both groups arranged for all parties to discuss the Village concept. A meeting at the local library resulted in participants contributing to a start-up fund and the formation of a board.
This founding board managed in the next year and a half to make a business plan, a constitution, a successful application for non- profit status (a 501c) and ensure all member volunteers. The launch of High Desert Village was in May 2009. Since that time, membership has grown gradually with word of mouth by satisfied members. Our Village is somewhat unusual because we have no paid administrative staff. All members are volunteers including the person who manages the phone. Our “office” is virtual and also managed by a volunteer.
This means that yearly dues are minimal, $120.00 for an individual and $180.00 for a couple.
We have three yearly meetings including a pizza lunch, a picnic, and a potluck or a dinner at a local restaurant—all expenses supplied by our membership fees. We also have recently started meeting at one of the local brewpubs (Bend is known for their micro-breweries) or a coffee house for smaller, more informal get-togethers. We have recently started a hiking program, and have many other exciting programs in the works.
We are reframing aging and redefining the experience of aging in Bend, Oregon.