by: Diana Leafe Christian
Earthaven founders were emphatic about naming things differently than in the world of business and bureaucracy, to take the edge off any harshness and also to bring real meaning into our administrative activities. So instead of calling our corporate officers by the usual names, we called the Weavers and gave them four elements to embody: Earth, Air, Fire, Water. Earth represents the natural and built physical infrastructure of the community, air our outreach, communications and membership-related arenas, fire is the soul of the community, from governance to process, and water refers to the flow of money, credit, community service and our alternative currency, Leaps. Not long after creating the Weavers and their elements, we discovered an African village term, “Orgbo” (or “Orbo”), for community service clans or teams, and we’ve been calling our four element arenas plus the fifth sacred one, Spirit, by that name ever since.
Thanks to the fine volunteers who staff the Earthaven Office & Trading Post — and especially Kimchi Rylander, Earthaven’s new Administrative Coordinator — our community is becoming better organized in all the “Air” ways. Kimchi’s goal is to meet our need for ease, clarity for all of our committees with Airspinning functions. She also hopes that working in the Earthaven Office/Trading Post will offer an excellent opportunity for members, work-exchangers, and interns to contribute their gifts and talents.
Three milestones of her first month as Administrative Coordinator:
(1) All members of the Trading Post staff are well-trained and at your service four days a week. At the moment, our visitor-welcoming, office-managing, Internet-providing, snack-selling volunteers include Suchi Lathrop and Sue Stone (co-lessees of the Trading Post with Earthaven), redmoonsong, Mana, Kaitlin, Eli, and Ohbeeb. Three other volunteers — Alice, Melissa, and River Otter — also offer valuable Airspinning help to the Earthaven Office. In the near future the Office & Trading Post will be open Saturdays too. Have you been to the Trading Post lately? The joint is jumpin’.
(2) The first step is already accomplished — All of Earthaven’s documents are now all in one place electronically (Earthaven’s computer) as well as physically — a historic moment! (Thank you, Kaitlin and Kimchi.) “Our goal is to have online access for all members someday,” Kimchi says. “This will next require our researching a method that is affordable and secure, and then, creating a plan for maintaining online access of records. When that day arrives, any Earthaven member will be able to look up any community document or decision online, from ByLaws or Agricultural Guidelines to Council and committee minutes.”
(3) Important aspects of Earthaven’s management are getting handled like never before. Earthaven Office/Trading Post volunteers and friends are not only welcoming folks to the Trading Post — Earthaven’s unofficial social hub — and offering services from Internet to photocopying, renting videos, and buying chocolate-covered almonds, but also performing the many necessary tasks any ecovillage needs. Each function of the Earthaven Office has a focalizer who delegates the activities for each function: Earthaven’s online Calendar (Melissa), designing the new Mailroom (redmoonsong), posting Council and committee minutes in the Trading Post and Council Hall (Kaitlin), handling visitor inquiries (Mana & River Otter), and indexing minutes so Council participants can look up any past decisions (Sue and Ohbeeb). Kaitlin is organizing and archiving Earthaven’s documents electronically; Kimchi and Ohbeeb are organizing and filing the hard-copy versions. Alice and Kimchi are handling visitors’ waiver forms and keeping our visitor database current. Eli and redmoonsong are handling recycling for the Office/Trading Post, and Eli is in charge of its firewood logistics.
Mailroom manager redmoonsong notes that our mail is being delivered to boxes in the mailroom trailer by Nicolette, just as it was before getting our new mailboxes on Another Way. Soon we’ll see additional mailboxes in the trailer, shelves for packages, a desk for sorting mail, and a place for visitors to pickup handouts and articles about Earthaven. As weather permits, the outside of the trailer will be washed, primed, and painted so it will provide, as redmoonsong says, “a blank canvas for the next phase.” (To offer ideas and help, see redmoonsong.)
The Airspinner Orbo manages the community’s communication, internal and external, which means it helps Earthaven folks find out about meetings and social events, get snail mail, use the Internet, and look up community agreements and decisions. Airspinner committees or managers welcome visitors, offer tours, manage the campground, publish Earthaven’s newsletter, respond to media inquiries, welcome and orient work exchangers and other non-member residents, thank and orient Supporting Members, and process and train folks on the Membership Track.
This is so much work that the 2009 Weavers created the role of part-time Administrative Coordinator to oversee these tasks. This of course helps other Orbos too, since all Orbos’ committees have minutes and need these Airy services.
As Administrative Coordinator, Kimchi will soon be implementing other plans and projects to help Earthaven function better. Stay tuned . . . more Air Reports coming in future issues.
Diana Leafe Christian, who lives in Earthaven’s Forest Garden Neighborhood, is the community’s Airspinner for 2010. dianaleafechristian.org http://www.EcovillageNews.org
|Photos by Will Rogers, who is an apprentice at Useful Plants Nursery.