Community For Social Change!
Allegheny Crest Intentional Village takes a unique approach to combining social change, personal growth, rural revitalization, and ecological sensitivity.
Our main activity is producing events that bring in a wide range of people, and these events change lives! Participants have said: “‘normal’ is not normal anymore”; “opening doors that I didn't even know existed”; “truly people who accepted me unconditionally”; “I fell in love with myself!” (We jokingly say that we measure success by how many people go home and quit their jobs.) Whatever skills you have can be used to help create these amazing spaces.
We see this outreach, where we actively engage with people outside our community in intense and growthful ways, as essential to having a significant impact on the larger society. These events help improve our skills for living together and connecting with each other, as well as providing exciting opportunities to gain new skills, explore new ideas, and make powerful connections with new people.
Our events are focused on creating and building consent culture, supporting gender diversity, encouraging self-exploration and personal growth, and learning effective action for social change. Some of the events we produce include Gender & Beyond, New Culture Summer Camp, and Polyamory For All Seasons, and we host other events that support our values, including ones based on Non-Violent Communication, Sex-Positive Educator Training, and Emotional Intelligence, among others.
Located in the West Virginia Potomac Highlands, less than 2.5 hours from Washington DC or Pittsburgh, ACIV combines spectacular mountain settings and crisp, clean air with reasonable access to major metropolitan areas. Our land currently includes a retreat center with 20 acres of lush, pristine river valley, and 3 acres of mountaintop with three houses, a 24-unit motel, and a general store.
Allegheny Crest is based in humanistic values such as equality of opportunity, social action, the primacy of consent, personal growth, and compassionate service. What makes us a village, and not only a community, is active outreach, local integration, radical acceptance, and porous membership:
Local Integration. We reach out to those who already live nearby, providing services, working with them, playing with them, building connections in whatever ways work best, and becoming an integral part of the local people’s lives.
Radical Acceptance. People who would never think of discriminating on skin color or gender often unconsciously discriminate against people with different verbal styles, work patterns, thought processes, or priorities. Discovering these blind spots and creating a welcoming environment for *all* people is a core part of our work in the world.
Porous Membership. Many communities have a strong line between members and non-members, have strict limits on visitors, and a structured membership process—all within the context of defined property lines. Membership at Allegheny Crest can take any form that human relationships can take, from client or casual acquaintance to event participant to short-term volunteer to full residential membership—and individuals can shift their relationship as their own needs and growth require. Porous membership allows people to connect in many ways that allow for mutual benefit for the person and the community. This also spreads the community’s influence and connections much more widely.
We are also distinctive in our approach to governance and abundance:
Compassionate Anarchy. Rather than needing group approval for every initiative, each person has full authority to act on their own—and the responsibility to discern who will be affected and how to incorporate their concerns. Compassionate anarchy fosters individual initiative, allows greater personal freedom, and replaces centralized control with a dynamic negotiation process.
Abundance. We value and support abundance in every aspect of life: emotions, economics, energetics, social connections, and time.
If you are an independent-minded and energetic person who wants intimate community while contributing to cutting-edge social change, you may find your home with us.
Many of us have connected through New Culture experiences (www.cfnc.us): workshops, open houses, weekend events, and ten-day summer camps. There are intentional communities and businesses across the country and beyond that have been built on New Culture insights; here, we are taking it to a new level.
Our existing businesses that form the economic base for the village, including Abrams Creek Campground & Retreat Center, the Mountaineer Motel, and the AC General Store, are all located near Mt. Storm, WV. The work is quite varied, and includes every aspect of producing, managing, maintaining, and improving our existing businesses, properties, events, activism, and educational programs.
Play and connection are also core and conscious activities; *balance* is a primary goal.
Members can select a living environment that best suits their needs: resident on our properties, member of a group house, living in a separate house or apartment that they rent or own, or whatever best meets their needs. Residents who choose to be part of the core economic base are provided with room and board (and medical care in many cases), as well as assistance in creating independent income opportunities in a cooperative environment.
Because there are no zoning or building code restrictions, Allegheny Crest is an ideal location for using alternative construction techniques, land use, energy generation and management, sustainable design, and much more. We already have a geothermal heating and cooling system for the motel, and geodesic domes for large group meeting spaces; we are excited about exploring other projects that move us more towards sustainability.