Meeting Minutes: January 2013

Dear Friends,

It was good to see you today.  Thank you, Ute, for volunteering to open and close our meeting and Vanessa for playing time keeper.  We didn’t have a volunteer for a note taker so I am taking the liberty to do so.  Chime in with your comments if I missed something since I am working off my memory rather than any notes.  I felt this was a pivotal meeting for our group and wanted to ensure the notes (even if not complete) were published for those who didn’t have the benefit of being present.  This NEW email list is our most current list of members.  Please use this one so that the members who have withdrawn will not be bothered by future emails.

First and Foremost, “Happy Birthday to Madison!”.  We missed seeing you today and had a special heart cake to wish you well (see picture).  Hope you had a wonderful celebration.

This meeting we experimented with new tools and processes (agendas, worksheets, timer, talking stick, speaking from the heart and being more open with each other – hum, I might have taken this last one a bit far?!).  We also added an intentional beginning and end to our meeting format.  These changes were put in place in response to the growing frustration of the productivity of our meetings.  Let’s see how we did….  please fill out the attached survey so that we can all get a sense of whether this format worked and if we should use it in the future.  I will publish results.

Much of the meeting focused on commitment  – how much is each member committed, how each member is showing it in his/her own way, what is needed, what is expected, etc.  Therefore, this might be a good time for each member to assess their commitment to continue and what that would look like for themselves.  I suggest after this “internal review”, each member makes a decision and a firm commitment to either be an active participant in the group, or to not participate at the current time.  I welcome other people’s suggestion as a next step…..please share if you have an opinion on this.

Attached are the meeting minutes which includes a list of Action Items needed from each member.  If you choose to become an active participant, please complete these items. The deadlines I placed on the action items are based on my availability to collect and consolidate/publish replies from everyone. If someone else would like to take on this task, they can feel free to change the deadlines to what suits them.

This “structure” is not set in stone…I am merely making a suggestion that I believe will help move us forward and frankly that I heard people wanted and needed at the meeting.  I am open to hearing your suggestions and hope this added level of structure  is helpful to those who asked for this support.

Thanks, Everyone!


SURVEY on meeting process – please send replies back by Jan. 14th.

1) What differences did you notice this meeting vs. prior ones? Positive ones? Negative ones?

2) How did the tools help or hinder our productivity, creativity, and the process?  Tools = agenda, worksheet, timer, talking stick, open and close of meeting.

3) What would you keep about this meeting? What would you change?

4) What new things would you like to see in our next meeting?

5) What role can you take on at our next meeting in addition to being an attendee?


EcoVillage – Meeting Minutes for General Meeting on January 6, 2013

Written by: Judy

Attendees: Judy, Ray, Jonathan, Victoria, Alana, Ute, Laurie, Lois, Joe, Tiff, Barbara, Joelle, Jennifer, and Vanessa. The children designed ecovillages in the playroom.

Visiting Members: Jennifer, Judd, Hilary, Ira, Gail and Marla.


1)      Confirm that you will remain an active participant of this group.  If you agree to be an active participant, please do participate by completing these action items.

2)      Submit your worksheet within 24 hours if you have not done so.  I only received 3 at the meeting.

3)      Sign up for at least one committee, preferably two.  See a separate email for sign up.

4)      Read these meeting minutes and add your comments as warranted.

5)      Attend upcoming “Working Weekend”.

6)      Complete “Reading Assignment”.  This will be sent to those who didn’t get a hardcopy at the meeting.  It’s a flowchart of the steps we need to take to build our ecovillage. Source: Creating Co-housing book.

7)      Complete the survey on meeting process by Wednesday.

For reference, please see accompanying agenda for format as we mostly followed the agenda items.  We experimented with several new tools in managing our meeting this month; namely, a written agenda, a worksheet, timer and a talking stick.

1)      Ute started off our meeting with a passage from Genesis Farm.

2)      The profits from our successful Holiday Bazaar was $1,550 + $800.  The $1,550 is being delivered by Victoria and Jonathan to The Santiago family tomorrow morning along with the hand-selected gifts to Maria and her boys.  Judy shared the gratitude expressed by Maria during her conversation with Maria yesterday.

3)      The group voted on the three options for the remaining $800.  Option A – give to Maria, B – give to a second family, and C – use as seed money.  After some discussion, the majority voted for C.  We now have $800 as seed money.

4)      The discussion around this decision focused on the fact that our communication was not clear at the end of last month’s meeting as to what we would do with the money raised.  Some members believed it would be used partially as seed money and others believed it was 100% donated.  It was agreed that this ambiguity was the cause of controversy and conflict and it was NOT a question of integrity that played a role.

5)      Given time constraints, we decided to shelf the following topics for later: standing meeting time, idea for seed money, process for new members.  Instead, Judy will collect all replies from the worksheet.

6)      Each member shared their level of commitment and what prevents them from being fully committed.  A large portion of the group noted that the lack of infrastructure and clarity of tasks prevents them from taking further action.  Others noted the lack of trust that the other members are truly committed.  Finances were also cited as a factor inhibiting full commitment.

7)      We welcomed the new members and shared each members’ contributions (near and long term) so that we could give each other a sense of the group’s core competencies/skills.  We also invited members to comment on their (absentee) partner’s skills and competencies.

8)      We voted to plan AND attend a “Working Weekend” at which we will spend two days working together to complete tasks that will bring us closer to our dream.  The Tiffany’s generously offered up their home for this.  Judy also suggested a “neutral site” so that Barbara and Tiff can participate without the obligations of playing host.  A potential venue can be the Waldorf School.  Further discussion needed on this.

9)      Sophia presented her EcoVillage design which Ute commented resembled a “Mandela”.

10)   We concluded the first half of the meeting in a group circle holding hands listening to the song, “One Seed” and “Grateful Heart” for the second half.

Unplanned Discussions

Many members commented about the need to balance “heart” and “business”.  There was a greater urgency than ever expressed for the need of more “infrastructure” and decision making process.  Governance, ground rules for group behavior, different levels of membership, defining who is a “current member”, and having more business formats were mentioned as well.  These are all topics that should/will be covered in the Working Weekend.


1)      All members will decide if they wish to remain an active participant in the group.

2)      All active members will complete the Action Items requiring their attention (this is the list at the start of this meeting minute).

3)      Judy will get feedback from new members to ascertain their interest level and whether they will join us at the next meeting.

4)      Volunteer needed to set next meeting date/time.


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