#YearOfCommunity - Your questions: How can I join the community?
The entry process to a community varies from place to place but especially in the case of well established ones it tends to be long and complex, as the newcomer needs time to learn what living in a community means. It's fairly different to what we are used to and it requires us not only to learn, but also to unlearn many things our society taught us.
In Arterra there are three steps you need to go through to join the community:
First contact with the community - visiting the community for a few days, just to have a sense of what this place is about. You can visit it during the open days, organised 3-4 times a year or as a friend of one of the people who already live here.
Participatory visit - if you are seriously thinking of joining the community, after the first step you can apply for a participatory visit which can last between 1 and 3 months. The goal is to really see what it means to live in such a place on a daily basis. You can do it all in one shot or spread this time over the year and spend for example two weeks in the summer and two weeks in the winter, to experience the different vibes and rhythms. During the participatory visit you will have a chance to join different circles and contribute to daily tasks of the community.
Official entering process - after the participatory visit you have to leave the community at least for a month to have time and space to digest this experience. If you are still interested to continue, you can apply to start your entry process. If there is no objection from the community side you are welcome to come back. The official entry process takes around 1.5 year during which you gradually get more rights and responsibilities. The first 3 months are to settle down and experiment with different operational circles (check the article about sociocracy - link below). After three months you are expected to choose the 2-3 circles you want to join organically. You are also allowed to pick your permanent apartment and your quota for renting diminishes a bit. After the 6th month you get access to the community folders with all the documents and you are allowed to join monthly community meetings. After 9 months you go to the next phase - integration - and you are welcome to join the management circles, firstly as an observer, then sharing your opinion but with no right to vote, and finally with full rights in decision making. Before this process was shorter. Based on the experience, Arterra recently made it longer, so people have more time to understand how the community functions, learn about sociocracy, and develop the skills needed to find their place here. And yes, it really can take that long, maybe even longer.
In other communities the entry process may look different. In small or recently established communities it may be easier and more spontaneous, in big and very structured communities it may require participation in a specific training (often quite expensive) before you actually can apply. In some cases ownership is involved, so buying a piece of land or a house or some other kind of investment is required.