Thanks for kicking off the conversation Travis, and welcome to the forum Emily!
Great call on DBC Membership being the working group to reactivate and further work on defining tenure as a membership benefit.
The path to tenure has been discussed a lot so far and many of us have been walking the avenue as we build it, but nothing has been formally drafted, let alone proposed and approved. Potential members arrive or request to join us in many ways and the first step is always advised as simply showing up in service to the vision and mission.
Of course the vision and mission is the long game, the world where we have all earned our tenure with a community or network that recognizes our contributions and our rights as fully vested members enjoying a life where our needs are met through the embodiment of an eco responsible and regenerative lifestyle
With that said, we would be well advised to approach this from beginning to end, instead of coming backwards from the finish line. By crafting the overall road to membership we can demonstrate how someone who may be requesting tenure got there, and made a path for those who will follow. This draft below summarizes at a high level what we have been experimenting with to date (by being the experimental trailblazers):
Ecotourist Phase (visitors, guests, family, friends, those just passing through to “check us out”)
This is better known as the dating period. Short term visitors and guests who come to lend a hand and get to know the people, projects and processes. These folks require the time and energy of a coordinator to provide information on where and how to show up, a guide to give a tour and educational overview, in many cases people coming through in this phase consume more energy than they are able to give back through funding, materials, service or other intangible offering.
Often family or friends of members or those with loose member network affiliations, to date presence and participation is often not fully tracked or credited and this period can be of widely varying length depending on the past experience, current intention, and emotional intelligence of the individual. This has long been an area of contention and a lesson we have learned to respect is “quality over quantity”. While some ecotourists can and occasionally will be converted to members or even residents that move on to tenureship, the value of ecotourism lies in the message they carry with them out into the world and their own networks.
A subcategory of the ecotourist is the digital nomad, a growing population that is now legally recognized in Costa Rica and other nation-states with it’s own Travel Visa (and requirements/benefit package).
Sidenote, many of the people I meet of high calibre and capacity to carry us all toward shared vision/missions are nomading between Costa Rica and Portugal, and are of a … greater age and experience - see “Slowmads ”: os novos nómadas digitais querem calma e também viajam por Portugal. Devagarinho | Teletrabalho | PÚBLICO
A positive experience that has fond memories and clear connections, combined with an understanding of the vision/mission and capacity to convey it warmly and wisely is our goal here. Spreading ourselves too thin, and not being able to meet the expectations of an ecotourist can leave a bad taste that goes into the world so we do need to be somewhat methodical in accepting requests from ecotourists.
Orientation Phase (Month 1)
Contributors who have demonstrated interest in a long term relationship, and are showing up in service to the community through the following avenues:
- Participate in DBC work parties or action days on a land node (Hands on the Land/HotL)
- Attend scheduled DBC circle meetings and/or working group sessions
- Volunteer to provide a needed service to a circle or land node in the DBC
Credit for the service must be claimed by reporting it to the circle administrator in a timely manner
Completion of an Orientation period must be verified by requesting it be added to a circle meeting agenda, and getting no objection to whether the contributor is fully oriented
Apprenticeship Phase (Months 2-3)
The first three months of consistent contribution are best applied by working directly with a member or team such as a working group, land node, or active project within the DBC.
Mutual Mentorship Phase (Months 4-12)
This phase is marked by starting at the celebration of completion for previous phases in some form. They will not all look alike, the transition from ecotourist through apprenticeship to mentorship. An individual entering into a Mutual Mentorship with the DBC will have the following characteristics:
- A both demonstrated and stated desire for membership in the DBC
- An understanding of the DBC vision and mission as well as the constitution of the APDC
- Healthy relationships with multiple members, and a mutually established desire to continue working with one or more for the remainder of the year commitment to share skills for collective growth
- Some degree of self-sustainability, regenerativity, or skill bundle that meets a proposed and prioritized need within the DBC and affiliated land nodes
Mutual Mentorships at this time are primarily known as “Stewardship Roles”, usually they have a stipend associated which means there is probably an approved role within a circle, and therefore an approved proposal. Some Stewardship Roles come with other benefits such as housing, support with a project listing on Giveth and social media to attract scholarship donations.
A Mutual Mentorship requires a documented commitment between participants, which may or may not need require a fully vetted and approved proposal through a DBC Circle in whose domain the mentorship lies.
Mentorships so far have been largely experimental and it will behoove us to look at past and current mentorships to harvest learnings and further refine the process for applying, accepting, monitoring and completion of a Mutual Mentorship.
Land Steward Residency Phase (1-5 years)
Years 1-5 of service can be carried out at various locations that may or may not already be registered member land nodes within the DBC. Mainly because we don’t have any Land Node members yet, only honorary status that can be granted to Diamante Luz for providing the hub and home base for DBC and to HOME Farm for cultivating excellent community leadership and a residency program for aspiring land stewards.
Residency term can be shortened through contribution of valued assets to the Collective, including time / money / skills / materials.
Tenured Resident of a Trusted Land Node
This comes after no less than 3 years of recorded and recognized service.
It requires a formal application process as well as approval by both the Land Stewards in Residence and the Trustees of the Land Node.
Trustee of an existing or newly acquired land node
Some people may come in immediately at this level by procuring land and putting it into a Land Trust that fits within guidelines yet to be established by the DBC or other aligned partner entity yet to be defined… Others may earn their way into this responsibility over time and through participation.
OK this is about as far as I can take it right now… comment away and let’s see if we can use this as an outline for drafting an actual Membership Protocol document?
Much Love! Dani