The goal of the membership process is to ensure alignment between the community’s vision, values & mission and your vision and values. The membership process occurs in stages. This allows both members and the community to “try on” different levels of engagement, with opportunities to evaluate the match along the way. Higher levels of membership lead to greater rights and responsibilities, including the privilege of living at Common Ground Ecovillage.
Stages of Membership
This is our first step in exploring your association with Common Ground Ecovillage. We ask you to fill out the JOIN (Jump On IN) Form, which initiates the process of thinking about living in community. We’re also interested in how you learned about us, and your level of interest. We welcome you to attend our workdays and collaborative skills trainings, and to observe our circle meetings, where much of the work and decision-making of the community gets accomplished. Read and use our Advancement Checklist, which is your guide in getting to know our community. We expect that you will spend one hour per week or four hours per month learning about the community and participating in activities at this stage.
We hope you will be interested enough that you will then proceed to the Exploratory Membership level.
The purpose of this phase is to dig deeper in exploring the alignment of our visions. At this point you are also invited to join our online documents portal which is full of information about our history and documentation from meetings, proposals, and decisions as they happen. We will assign a ‘buddy’ to help you navigate learning about the community and building relationships with the community and its members. At the same time, we invite you to join functional circles and actively contribute to the work and life of the community.
At this stage, you are able to be elected to and serve at the general circle level, as an Elected Representative of a functional circle. The general circle is the governing body that creates and approves policy for the entire community. You will be asked to contribute one hour per week or four hours per month (this includes work days), minimally, to support the community at this stage. This is in addition to time spent continuing to participate in activities as you continue to get to know the community and our members.
Working together allows us to get to know one another on a deeper level, to confirm or modify our understandings about each another, and ultimately deciding if we (you and the community) are a suitable match. Exploratory members are also encouraged to begin paying nominal dues at this stage to support the community’s development process.
Click here for the Advancing to Exploratory Membership: A Step-by-Step Guide.
When members are confident they want to live in at Common Ground Ecovillage and look forward to living in community, they then apply to become an Engaged Member. At this level, you can buy into the cooperative and reserve a living unit. This stage is very much like a commitment to marriage. At this level, we are working yet more deeply and continuously to develop the level of trust needed to be able to live in harmony with each other and the land. Also, at this level, members have more responsibility and opportunity. For example, Engaged Members often increase their responsibilities and decision-making in the functional circles, including serving as Operational Leader of a functional circle. Engaged Members are also able to be elected to and serve at the general circle level, which is the governing body that creates and approves policy for the entire community. We are also continuing to work together on developing the skills for collaborative work and resolution of conflict. At this stage, you are expected to contribute a minimum of two hours per week or eight hours per month (this includes work days) to support the development and life of the community.
Click here for the Advancing to Engaged Membership: A Step-by-Step Guide.
Full membership is the final stage—living on the land, participating actively in many activities, and sharing in all of the joys and difficulties of living in community! We buy the land together, make investments in infrastructure, and do all the work necessary to manifest our vision. We intend to keep costs as low as possible, doing much of the work ourselves. This is really an administrative stage that takes place automatically once an Engaged member buys into the cooperative.
NOTE: Although we expect that this would occur very rarely, the community reserves the right to rescind the membership of an individual at any stage of the membership process, following a set of procedures detailed in a separate document developed and approved by the community.