We are not yet into the full movement of the guest season but this has been an intense moment for us. Single guests have been joined by groups who animate the weekends, several church groups but also yoga and musicians. The villa, the guest apartment and the restored theater/chapel are ready for the work ahead.
Our offer of hospitality again this year emphasizes simplicity and retreat, contact with nature, a setting where people come together. Many of course use Casa Cares as a springboard to the treasures of Tuscany, but some are able to slow down and enjoy the treasures right here in our historical villa surrounded by the terraced olive groves. Especially appealing, for example, is the four kilometer walk past the 13th-century Sant'Agata church and the huge estate where we buy our chianti wine and press our olives.
This is normality. What has not been normal has been the intensity of work on the future of Casa Cares. Those who have followed us in the past months know that this is a time of change. The impetus comes from a phase of retirement into which Antoinette entered a couple years ago and in which I am soon to join her.
Because of this change of administration after thirty years of relative stability, our board and the national church are looking forward and asking, “Now what?” The study group active the past half year has presented their proposal—a drastic renewal of the hospitality with major renovations of the structures and at the same time the insertion and integration of a social service element.
All is elaborated in a 50-page document available upon request. What the proposal clearly means is that there a lot of work to do in the coming months. That work is on two parallel roads. Priority is assuring that the guest work continues positively through 2015 and 2016. This year is very busy with the next promising the same.
For the Casa Cares beyond 2016 we now need to await the approval of the national church, because this is a major commitment and investment for the future. The proposal seems to many both valid and exciting. The proposal will be considered no later than the synodical assembly of the national church at the end of the summer. Approval, of course, cannot be taken for granted, but, if approved, the work will begin in earnest soon after the assembly. The structural changes and, just as important, the changes in everyday operation are significant and complex.
Are they possibile? Time will tell. Casa Cares is fortunately blessed with a capable and committed staff. Tha same can be said for our administrative board of seven persons, who have on their shoulders the legal and moral responsibility for the work.