recently contacted the people involved with the timebank in Anacortes,
and went to one of its meetings. It’s a great group endeavor in
Anacortes and the county our town resides in. It’s called the Fidalgo and Friends Timebank and is described
as helping people live well with virtual currency. (Fidalgo Island is the island where the town of Anacortes is. So the name Fidalgo is sometimes used in group programs that are ongoing in the town of Anacortes.)
For those unfamiliar with timebanks, the one in Anacortes I believe is pretty typical, and I love it. People trade time doing favors for each other. It’s different from bartering in that “stuff” isn’t exchanged, such as a bicycle for a winter coat. But rather, time. Some examples of what people offer in the timebank in Anacortes are wreath-making workshops, hauling stuff with a pick-up, babysitting, repair services, a lady who comes to your home to show you how to make homemade yogurt, and so on. With me, I used to be a full time Reiki practitioner and I now just do it occasionally by appointment, so I offer that service of my time to those interested.
For however many hours you give, it's recorded, and you then earn that many hours from the timebank -- it doesn't have to be a direct exchange with the same person. That way, if I need an old refrigerator hauled away, I don't have to hope the guy who hauls it happens to want Reiki.
Here's what I really love about the timebank in Anacortes: While we put up what we're offering -- such as my Reiki, we can also go on to see what one-time services people need to see if it's something we want to do. For example, one lady spilled sawdust all over her house and just couldn't get the motivation to clean it up herself, so asked if someone would come spend an hour working with her. There's something about company helping that makes drudgery tolerable.
That way, I can earn lots of hours from the timebank even if not that many folks are into Reiki. So I don't feel so vulnerable each time a faucet leaks or I need someone to fix my computer.
The timebank in Anacortes does a background check on members, and does an even more rigorous one for people planning to work with kids and the elderly. I don't think every timebank in the country does, but even though it takes time and is more paperwork to fill out -- it makes me feel safer. People who might not have a troubled background, but who are also slackers are also naturally weeded out by the work it takes to become a member.
Our timebank is a great group activity that builds community:
yes, it helps people save money, I think there’s a far greater service
being done with this great group activity. It builds community and
networking. That can’t help but bring a sense of peace and safety where
one lives. In fact, that is the timebank’s main stated goals, which they
list as to: Strengthen the fabric of our community; Serve people and
give them a means to serve; and establish new relationships and meet
real needs of our community. The Anacortes timebank is a branch off of
our local Transitions group: Transitions Fidalgo & Friends. The
Transitions groups are programs under a non-profit organization
encouraging community members to gather for ways to make their towns and
neighborhoods more sustainable while also building a sense of local