Joan Linney has been a member of Monan’s Rill Community for 20 years. She is a trained facilitator in the Ecology of Leadership program, and is currently half finished with the 2-3 yr. Northern California Facilitator Training Program. She produced a series of 8 public education forums on climate change.
You can contact Joan through Monan’s Rill email: info(at)monansrill(dot)org
Nuts and Bolts of Community Structure: Committees as WD40
Monan’s Rill is a Sonoma County Community that is 40 years old. Members collectively own and maintain the land, all the houses, a community building, and a garden/orchard. Our overall community structure and committees (Process, Finance, Building Maintenance, Land Plans, Garden, Membership, and Participation) have developed over the decades.
Here are brief descriptions of the committees. Process committee members try to keep a finger on the pulse of the community and our interrelationships. This committee also initiates the discussion of timely community issues that don’t get aired at regular business meetings. Finance oversees our yearly budget and makes recommendations to the community about finance and legal decisions. Building Maintenance oversees the maintenance of all 12 houses and the shared community buildings. The Land Plans Committee acts as a clearinghouse for projects that impact the land and/or community; oversees care of our infrastructure such as water, sewers, fences, etc.; and educates about fire safety. The garden committee (Tiller Rillers) oversees the garden. Membership oversees the recruiting of new members and the membership process when we have visitors who are exploring the possibility of membership. Finally, the Participation Committee oversees all aspects of participation in the community including planning work days and keeping the community informed about needs and accomplishments.
We will present our community structure with a focus on our committees and the relationship between committees and the plenary. This presentation will include a handout that describes the mandates of the various committees. We will then invite participants to think of problems or issues that they might be having in their own living situations. Participants will each choose one committee to join and they will participate in a brief problem solving committee discussion focusing on one or more of the participant problems that are brought to the committee. After this brief period in committee discussions, committee conveners will report back to the whole community where we will demonstrate a plenary discussion, showing how we attempt to move committee work forward—including how we might send the issue back to a committee with a specific charge. We will end the session with a full group debrief and reflection on key learnings.
Attendees will get an experiential sense of our committees and how they function in service of the whole community. And they may even get some ideas for moving forward on real problems or issues that are occurring in their own living situations.