Resident-owned communities are cooperatives that meet a very special need. The owners of manufactured homes typically rent the land where their home is sited from a private park owner. This means that the park owner has the power to change rents and make decisions about infrastructure that have a huge impact on a community’s quality of life. When residents purchase the park together, they take control of those decisions for themselves.
Of course, living on land you own with your neighbors and running a business together is a powerful experience. The national champion for organizing resident-owned communities, ROC USA® (https://www.rocusa.org/), provides a solid curriculum and suite of tools to help these co-ops succeed. As with many tools, however, it is necessary to learn to wield them with skill. And there are many techniques to learn that contribute to cooperators’ ability to work effectively as a team.
Columinate has a small team of organizers, trainers, and governance specialists who work specifically with resident-owned communities. The team offers “bench strength” to ROC USA®, and ROC affiliates work by providing communities with temporary team members who pitch in to do the work of community organizing, governance coaching, and co-op education and training.
Education and training: the heart of cooperation! For the residents who own and govern their communities, there’s a lot of learning to be done to support effective cooperation. In addressing these needs, Columinate consultant Marcia Sprague, of Agape Enterprises Ltd., is a powerhouse, providing community and board trainings that have real impact.
Marcia says her career has taken her down many innovative and challenging paths. She worked as a health care provider, a teacher, and as the executive director of a grassroots, non-profit homeless resource center, before joining ROC NH (New Hampshire) in 2013.
Marcia says, “The one theme that has carried through all my diverse paths is the opportunity to design and present workshops and trainings. I love taking an idea or need and creating a training that others can benefit from. For example, in the 1980s, when I experienced humiliation as the result of not being assertive, I read, studied, and practiced, then created an assertiveness training program for college students (I think I’ve just dated myself!). I’ve designed “authentic” public speaking workshops, leadership training with ROC NH, communication classes, and many others. This makes me feel alive and look forward to doing more of it!”
Get in touch with Marcia Sprague here
Learn more about Columinate’s “bench strength” offerings for Resident Owned Communities here