Participants in our resident owned communities events get to network with and better understand one another—sometimes through thumb wrestling.
Participants in our resident owned communities events get to network with and better understand one another—sometimes through thumb wrestling.

Staff note: Bill Hodgkins, a board member who lives at Wardtown Cooperative in Freeport, Maine, recently attended a CDI sponsored network event in Waterville, Maine. This event held was held for the eight resident owned cooperatives (ROC) currently in Maine. These network events are planned for ROC residents for networking with one another, learning about ROC business structure, and to hear from local resources in the state. The residents drive these events to help promote wellness in their unique network of resident ownership. Information covered at each event is different each time, and the agenda includes items from how to handle difficult conversations to knowing if your oil tank is safe and compliant with local regulations. Bill talks about his experience at a recent event here. —Jo-Anna Jackson – Technical Assistant for Cooperative Development Institute

This last Saturday, November 12th, Carol and I set out for Governor’s in Waterville, (Yum), for a meeting and training for all Resident-Owned Manufactured Housing Communities in Maine, sponsored and lead by ROC USA and the Cooperative Development Institute. A couple of dozen folks from several of Maine’s communities were there.

We started the day with some coffee, tea, fruit and delicious pastry, a few housekeeping items, then straight into an amazing class titled “Dealing with conflict and difficult conversations” lead by Gary Faucher, National Training Manager for the ROC USA Network. Gary is an extraordinary trainer and made this subject come to life with some very interesting and out-of-the-ordinary exercises including some thumb wrestling and hand-to-hand combat—well, maybe combat is a strong word. We all came away from this part of the day with a new understanding of our own emotional buttons and how they play into the difficult situations that we face every day. We are blessed to have such an excellent leader and teacher that lives close enough so we can take advantage of his talent.

We all agreed that we ate like kings and queens, learned some valuable skills, and came home with a lot of great information.

ROC network participants engage in hand-to-hand "combat".
ROC network participants engaged in hand-to-hand “combat”.

Next, it was time to dive into pizza and desserts for which this restaurant is so famous. They did not let us down… Then Peter Moulton took the stage. He’s from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. His job with that department is about the remediation and prevention of oil spills from residential oil tanks. We were all astonished to learn that oil spills from residential oil tanks happen on average more than once each and every day in the State of Maine. But we also learned that the news is not all bad. Peter also administers several programs that replace old and dangerous oil tanks and taught us how to tap into these programs for our communities.

The day ended with a discussion of what our groups would like to see for trainings and guest speakers in the future. There is good stuff coming down the pike… As for this day, we all agreed that we ate like kings and queens, learned some valuable skills, and came home with a lot of great information. I personally want to thank Gary Faucher, Jeanee Wright, Jo-Anna Jackson, ROC USA, and CDI for their work on this and future chances for learning and fellowship, and to remind all who read this that these functions are available to all members of Resident-Owned Communities. You do not have to be on the Board of Directors or even serve on a committee—yet!

—Bill Hodgkins – Wardtown Co-op

Learning to ROC with Maine’s 8 Resident Owned Communities
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