The issue of ageism is very relevant today. Both older and younger adults often view each other quite negatively. It is definitely different from years ago when there was much more social mixing between the ages.
We discuss stereotypes in our community very openly as is our right under the 1st Amendment. However, it is one thing to describe a stereotype, it is another to reject a person based on stereotypes without giving them a chance.
Prejudice is when a person is automatically rejecting another based on stereotypes of their particular demographic group.
When it comes to older versus younger interns, we have had more challenges with the former.
However, once they send in a good application, we try to give mature adults a chance. While we do describe patterns in human behavior, we give every good applicant an opportunity to prove themselves.
We look for volunteers and interns who are idealistic and passionate about growth in all phases of life; who believe that they can work to make a difference in this world, but are pragmatic about it.
Younger people tend to be more idealistic, but there are many mature adults who have not yet given up their dreams of making the world a better place. We want those people!
Try this informal survey to see if you think the Hedonisia community would be a good fit for you!
a) Are you able to follow instructions and feedback from someone who is younger than you? Older people bring age and experience but can sometimes be condescending to younger folks because of those same traits. Most of our volunteers and Interns are in the age range of 18-40. This has been a challenge for some older volunteers who resent being given instructions by someone younger.
In the past, knowledge was passed on from generation to generation. However, in today's modern world the information flow often goes the other way with young people making new innovations and teaching their elders. In this fast-changing world, the youth have different areas of experience which are equally valuable.
We want the experience and wisdom of age combined with youthful enthusiasm, idealism, and willingness to learn!
b) Are you coming to learn or be a 'consultant'? Some have tried to use their age and experience to act as a ‘consultant’ and tell us what we ‘should’ do! Instead of someone who says 'you should do this, you should do that' we look for people who are excited about learning in a community of individuals, not just their own vision on how things should be done. Hedonisia is a collaboration of ideas of from many people. Show that you respect the community and can 'fit in'. Then we are much more open to hearing new ideas and suggestions. Applicants who are professionals should always remember we offer a volunteer program and internship. We are NOT seeking consultants to ‘whip us into shape’!
c) Are you LGBTQ tolerant? As a community of individuals, we respect open minds towards those with alternative lifestyles as long as they don't infringe on the rights of others. Many seniors with more traditional attitudes tend to be less tolerant of homosexuality or transgender or polyamory. We welcome LGBTQ and poly into our community so obviously, that could be a challenge!
d) Have you ever lived in a community setting? We are a community of adult individuals who take personal responsibility for themselves and how to respect others and shared spaces. Community living can be a challenge for a person who has mostly lived alone or in a family household.
d) Are you aware of the Hedonisia Consent Culture Community Guidelines? At the Hedonisia adults share communal spaces and work together. This leaves a lot of room for personal interaction. However, many adults, men especially, are not aware that their behavior can constitute sexual harassment. We stress that sexually harassing behavior is not tolerated.
e) Do you have particular needs based on your age or health?
- Medical Needs. Older volunteers often have medical needs that might not be met when living in the rainforest , For example, the community eco-toilet is located a few hundred yards away from most lodging spaces which means walking in the night to get to the toilet! That might be too much distance and can be a challenge for some adults.
- Volunteer Dorm Spaces. Most volunteers and intern community members sleep in dorm spaces consisting of two beds. This has been a challenge for some older adults in the past who often prefer to sleep in their own space. Private lodgings can be arranged at an additional cost.
- Basic & Rustic Jungle Lodgings. Our eco-huts and tents have charm but they are definitely not luxurious! While this is not a problem for most of our volunteers, we often get more needs and requests about the lodgings than we can handle from older volunteers.