Kumanu May 2023

Kumanu May 2023

( following Board meeting of 18 May 2023 )

What’s been happening

It was a quieter month for the Board as a whole. We’re grappling with some gnarly issues but some useful things have been finalised.

One of these was the arrangement for Georgia Borwick to stay at the Centre while continuing her employment and working remotely. She will share Bellbird with our resident caretaker, Tracy, and use the opportunity to deepen her practice and contribute to the Centre. The arrangement is for 6 months initially, with monthly reviews.

The work of building the Teachers Cabin continues apace. This project is independent of, but fully supported by, the Board. We are in the process of sorting out the details of the Cabin’s ongoing use and maintenance.

What we are reckoning with

A major piece of work at the moment is preparing a matrix to clarify Who Pays What. Over the years, different rules have applied to different people, and the situation has become pretty complex. There are 3 main areas that need sorting out: the position for facilitators on multi-facilitator courses (MFCs); the position for volunteers; and the situation with Category 2 retreats. (We categorise retreats as Category 1, which areled by teachers in the Namgyal lineage/tradition and Category 2, which are run by outsiders.)

The feedback on the MFC consultation was clear that MFCs play an important role in developing teachers and in making the offering of retreats more viable for members of the community. The Board wants to make the financial position of facilitators fairer and easier. We’ve agreed that MFC facilitators (up to a maximum of 3) will have free food and accommodation, as is the case with solo teachers. The cooks fee for them will need to be collected through the resource fee component of the course cost.

The situation with volunteers is difficult to pin down, mainly because it is evolving. Tracy currently manages volunteers in a sensible and pragmatic way, but curly questions regularly crop up. To what extent can or should volunteers participate in retreats? Can retreatants avoid paying for accommodation by doing voluntary work during or outside a retreat? We haven’t nailed this yet, but hope to soon.

The final can-of-worms is Category 2 retreats. Brooke (admin caretaker) is finding that over time different rules have been applied to different Category 2 retreats, and it’s reached the stage where it’s sometimes difficult to know whether or why a retreat is treated as Category 1 or Category 2. We’ll be working on this over the next few months.

Other important things we’re working on include:

  • Assessing how our insurance cover works and whether it needs to increase
  • How to get a calendar onto the website that shows all the events scheduled at the Centre (at the moment, you’d think from the website that nothing at all is happening after August)
  • Upgrading the kitchen in Mike’s caravan so volunteers can use it, and getting a stand-alone ablution block
  • Keeping the covid and refund policies up-to-date on the website

What we need help with

The AGM is on Sunday 23rd July. For the past few years the Centre has hosted a hui for the community on the Saturday before the AGM. This year we’re taking a looser approach and will just invite the community to come and spend time together at the Centre, to share ideas and stories, eat and talk together, meditate and mull. We would like someone to co-ordinate arrangements for the weekend. This will mainly involve liaising with Tracy and Brooke, and finding a cook. Anyone want to try out course-managing on a mini scale?

At the AGM we’ll need to appoint new Board members. Tim, who has served as Secretary for a number of years, is stepping down, and so am I. We need a range of skills on the Board, and no-one has to be able to do everything. It would be wonderful to have three new members, and particularly to have former Board members return so they can share their knowledge and experience with newer members. Please do get in touch with any Board member if you want to find out more about what’s involved.

Finally, the Centre always needs people to help with the physical work of maintaining our beautiful land and buildings. We’ve decided to employ a builder to do some of the skilled maintenance work required, and Simon volunteers almost weekly to do many of the jobs formerly done by our land caretakers, but we could really do with additional help. Tracy Abbot(centrecaretaker.wangapeka@gmail.com) is the person to contact about this.

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