The goal of the membership process is to ensure alignment between the community’s vision, values & mission and the individual’s vision and values. The membership process occurs in stages, each stage gradually increasing the rights & responsibilities for both the community and the individual. This allows both members and the community to “try on” different levels of engagement, with opportunities to evaluate the match along the way. 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.
The four stages of membership at Hart’s Mill are:
- Exploratory Member
- Associate Member
- Engaged Member
- Full Member
See below for an overview of each stage. Also check out the Rights and Responsibilities for each stage, as well as the Application Process. You might also be interested in looking at our conflict transformation process.
The purpose of this phase is to get to know one another and explore the alignment of our visions. A current member will be assigned as your ‘buddy’ to answer your questions and keep you informed. Once you have your buddy, you are an Exploratory Member! Exploratory members are invited to actively attend and participate in community gatherings as described below, to whatever extent is desired. You are also welcome to join our online documents portal which is full of information about our meetings, proposals, and decisions.
The Associate Member stage allows you to participate in our community formation work with a relatively low level of commitment, thus giving you the opportunity to “try it on for size”. The purpose of this phase is to create a situation in which you can work together with current members in the many tasks of bringing the community into being. Working together allows us to get to know one another on a deeper level, to confirm or modify our intuition about each another, ultimately deciding if we (you and the community) are a suitable match.
When you are feeling quite certain you want to join our community and feel ready to fully commit yourself to the work, you can apply to become an Engaged Member. This stage is very much like an engagement to be married. And at this stage, we are looking for individuals with the skills and resources to start “building” our community. The purpose of this phase is to allow us to work together fully for the length of time needed to develop the level of trust required for a community project of this magnitude and expense.
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! Participation at this level is very much like being married (whereas Engaged membership level is more like being engaged to be married). We will buy 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. Though we have an option on the land that we intend to execute in 2016, no homes, running water, or other essential elements of permanent dwelling currently exist. Thus, there are no full members at present in the Hart’s Mill community. Specific criteria for full membership, including financial and labor requirements, are currently under development.