Exciting News and Updates Mar. 2, 2019

Today we will hold our 3rd “mission circle” meeting. A mission circle is similar to a board of directors. Since we are using Sociocracy 3.0 as our governance system, this is a name often used to describe the circle that performs many of the same functions as a board.

I feel really excited to be sharing updates with this wonderful circle which is made up of Cliff Mikkelson, Scott Masters, Rob McNeil, Kyle Luzynski, and myself.

Here are the announcements that I will be sharing. The first item–I just heard about this morning, so not even they know!

  1. We Are Meeting a Need! Direct Action Everywhere is going to start a campaign similar to the way that Bernie Sanders did his. They will use Slack.com (yay–we are starting to use that!) and a weekly call so that everyone can share knowledge, resources, and strategies. They want to encourage small groups to get together to run with this.

    I feel happy because they are not needing I am going to get the link where we can sign up and be a part of that. I learned this on the monthly donors call that is held every Sat. morning. I asked Wayne if they were going to encourage people to start community circles and he was very happy that I asked this question–and acknowledged that I came to Berkeley and helped get this project off the ground!

    He said they will definitely be encouraging people to connect, build friendships, and be there for each other. And they still haven’t gotten as much training about healthy community circle building as I would like. They need us!

2. Our First Course. I hope to have an outline for the 3 hour course, Skills for Building Healthy Communities (working name).  Cliff has completed his 20 minute section on Oneness, and Sky and I are going to meet tomorrow to talk about moving this project forward. Cliff is going to help with editing and giving feedback–two things he is great at!

3. Cooperation With DxE: When Wayne answered my question about community, he spoke for about 3 minutes about how essential it is for animal rights activists to have a place where they feel a sense of belonging. “50% of activists leave the movement because of burn out and feeling a lack of support,” he said. I am so excited because now we can support the Ban Fur movement, which is truly becoming international, with our healthy community building skills.

I will be joining the weekly calls and getting on the Slack channel. I will also find out who is in charge of this, and see if we can have a channel on healthy community building! I will offer to be in charge of this channel. I am really glad to be reconnecting with DxE.

4. Limited Liability Corporation: I’m 99% sure we will be forming a Limited Liability Corporation for the Vegan Utopia Ecovillage.  The reasons are as follows:

a. It is one of the simplest legal entities to form. Easier than a non-profit
b. This is highly recommended by Diana Leafe Christian, author of Creating Life Together,  one of the leading experts in forming intentional communities. You can find a document she has written about legal stuff and communities here. Plus, she is our coach! She owes me about an hour of time, and she has agreed to look over our final documents and give recommendations and feedback.
c.  Kickstarter campaign check list recommends creating an LLC.

I am going to take this course about how to start an LLC and see what I can do on my own. I might get a lawyer to look at it if necessary.

5. I am getting a notebook together in order to stay more organized. There are three major projects that VUE is working on and I want to be able to put resources and notes in the notebook, as well as create folders in google docs. Here are the three main projects which each have google docs that are serving as check lists for me to work off of.

a. Community Building Checklist: Recently I re-connected with Diana Leafe Christian, and she sent me a whole slew of google docs that I can edit and adopt for our community. This check list was one of them. I have written updates as to how we are doing on the check list.

b. Kickstarter Checklist: Kyle and Rob agreed that they want to help with creating a crowdfunding campaign in order to raise the $16,500 which is owed for the property, and about $20,000 to finish the infrastructure on the land so people can semi-comfortably live there. I am excited that social media presence is important for successful campaigns. With Chris’s help, when he worked for me, we have large followings on Youtube, Twitter, and Facebook. Also, since we have been around for almost 3 years, that gives us credibility as well. Did you know we have one video on hugelkultur gardening that has over 80,000 views?

c. Learning Center Description:  This document describes all the things that we can teach at the learning center. Many of these classes are ones that Cliff, Amrit and I can teach. Amrit is not able to be on the Mission Circle as this time, but she wants to be a resource person.  We still need to figure out a name for the Learning Center, especially since in the beginning it will be on line. Also, we want courses to appeal to both vegans and non vegans, and we are figuring that out as well.

Thanks to circle members for helping do research on the best platform. I am leaning towards Teachable. Here is a link to a review by a person I trust. $29 a month is the basic fee for unlimited courses which I think is doable. This is so exciting–to think that we can attract people who are interested in VUE who are teachers and want to do courses even if they don’t live here.

5. Thank You,  Mission Circle Members! I just want to thank all the members of the circle for being so faithful in showing up and being supportive. Their encouragement, presence and advice has motivated me immensely.  I connect with Cliff, Rob, Kyle and Sky throughout the week to get advice and ideas. Amrit has contributed to ideas as well, plus we do an emotional release session every Friday which helps me to stay emotionally healthy.

We are all working together so wonderfully! Building friendships as we work on projects is the way to build healthy community!

6. Co-founders Meetings: Cliff and I have kept our commitment to talk every night unless we have a meeting. Except for one night when his phone didn’t ring, we have met every single day, and this has really helped us feel as if we truly are co-founders–not just me running the show! I am getting better at writing down the things we talk about so that we can be more transparent (a very important aspect of Sociocracy) and organized. The minutes of our meetings can be found here.

7. Sociocracy Class Report:  I was thinking about dropping out of my sociocracy class because I wasn’t learning as much as I wanted, and my time is so precious. But I am sensing that it will be good for me and the group if I finish the class.  However, we will be talking in our next meeting about adopting Sociocracy 3.0 as our governance system. You can find out more about why this is different from basic Sociocracy here. Although in my class I encountered some disappointing dynamics which didn’t seem congruent with sociocratic principles, my experience gave me more confidence to go forward with trying out the various structures and skills.

Plus, I saw first hand what the weaknesses of basic Sociocracy were, so I could more intelligently embrace Sociocracy 3.0. I had been exposed to S-3 first, but because they didn’t have as much training as the Sociocracy for All organization, I thought SoFA was the way to go. Now, S-3 has a lot more videos, the explanations are clearer, and they have revised some stuff.

I see that all of the skills and structures that S-3 offers, and gives away freely, can be used in our Skills for Building Healthy Community course. I also love that they encourage people to improve upon the skills and structures they share in such detail on their website and change them however we like. Maybe they will use our changes! And maybe we will add more skills to the tool box.

8. Today we will go over the Friendship Pledge and have a simple ceremony where we share in our own words what the pledge means to us personally. Today, March 2, 2019, will be the official beginning of the Mission Circle where we make a commitment to each other and to the project to work together for the next 6 months, at which time we will review our commitment and see if we can make a longer commitment.

Our two previous meetings gave us an opportunity to all get to know each other better and get a taste of what it will be like to meet on a conference call every month and stay in contact throughout the month. Our one hour conference calls were so harmonious and uplifting, and we got a lot done in an hour.  A description of what it means to be a Mission Circle member is found here.

9. Weekly Reports: I need to make a checklist of what to include in the weekly reports. I am going to start posting them on a blog, and encouraging everyone to subscribe to the blog so that mission circle members will get notifications about new blog posts, and be up to date on everything. This also will be great for people who are interested in being involved who want to hear updates. I am ready to prioritize my time to keep people posted. Partly this is because it is a foundational part of Sociocracy 3.0, and because I want people to see how we are evolving and how exciting it is to be involved with this.

I would love it if you would write any comments and let me know what you are thinking and how you felt about this blog post.






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