Creating a Welcoming Chapter Culture

No Image Description

To help your chapter feel more empowered to create a space where all volunteers feel welcome and valued for the identities they bring to your chapter, this training provides recommendations for how you can set up an opening statement or community agreement to help with your team.

TOC and Guide Section
What are Community Agreements?

“A consensus on what every person in our group needs from each other and commits to each other in order to feel safe, supported, open, productive and trusting… SO THAT we can serve our volunteers (or communities) well, do our best work, and achieve our common vision.”

- Adapted From The National Equity Project

For more information see the helpful National Equity Project website on Developing Community Agreements and Implementing, Monitoring and Repairing.

are an aspiration, or collective vision, for how we want to be in relationship with one another. They are explicitly developed and enforced by the group, not by an external authority, and as such must represent a consensus.

Norms are the ways in which we behave and are currently in relationship to each other, whether consciously and explicitly or not.

Rules are mandated and enforced by an authority, and do not necessarily reflect the will or buy-in of the group.

Types of Community Agreements

Relational community agreements are about how we want to be in relationship with each other (e.g. speak your truth using "I" statements; stay present; listen fully; seek out multiple perspectives).

Operational agreements identify procedures or structures we all agree to use (e.g. start & end on time; limit cell phone use; include process observations at each meeting; end with clear next steps).

CCL Group Examples:

Climate & Culture Action Team Pledge

1. We leave our judgments at the door.

2. We acknowledge our imperfect thinking and accept that we are here to educate before we react. 

3. We remain mindful and appreciative of all gender identities.

Differently Abled Action Team

1. We will not engage in personal attacks.

2. We will give everyone an opportunity to speak.

3. We will take space and make space.

(Listed on their team’s CCL Community Page)

Examples & Chapter Opening Statement

If you want to start with an opening statement, see this example that our chapters have found helpful in centering their group meetings on shared values:

We always assume that we have people here with different life experiences. If you are a conservative, you are welcome. If you are a progressive, you are welcome. Whatever your political affiliation, age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, language, ability, or background, we welcome everyone who wants to work towards Congress enacting major climate legislation. As a result, for the purpose of our meeting, this is a reminder that we’ll keep our comments and work focused on building this common ground. 

Press play to start the video (33m 58s)
  • Karina Ramirez
  • Joy Sullivan
  • Rachel Porter
Have you completed this training?
Let us know if you've completed this training! Your progress will be logged in the Action Tracker so you can reference a list of trainings that you've completed.
Log your training
To Print
Chapter Organizing, Communicating with Others