The updated edition of The Block Club Handbook is available by contacting Operation Weed and Seed at 313-868-5136. The handbook explains how to start a block club, basic rules of parliamentary procedures, a model constitution and much more. Additionally with the registration form block clubs are contacted FIRST on new information, for instance new grants, projects, law enforcement matters, new businesses, resources available to the community for instance homeowner remodeling dollars, prescription assistance, assistance on paying utilities, and much more.
Updated: June 2003
INTRODUCTION TO COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION
This booklet is a guide to forming neighborhood organizations and block clubs. Highland Parkers can be proud of their civic buildings, expressways, and the other improvements that city government has in the planning stage. However, a really fine city must be safe, healthful, and an enjoyable place to live through all of its neighborhoods. You and your neighbors can join other Highland Parkers in creating and keeping the kind of neighborhood you want. A neighborhood organization is one of the most effective ways to do this. A neighborhood organization works something like a club with meeting, officers, and a program of neighborhood I improvement projects. It is a way you and your neighbors can get together to decide what should be done in your area to accomplish things that are difficult or impossible to do alone. A neighborhood organization is a group of persons in a geographical area who have decided to plan and work together to improve their homes, streets, alleys, schools, and generally, to make their neighborhood a better place in which to live, work, and play. It is also a way in which men and women who participate can become better neighbors, better citizens, and more democratic Americans. A block club may be a neighborhood organization whose members come from the neighborhood and whose purpose is to solve problems of the members. The key to organizing is getting members who will develop and carry out programs. ft is important to know how best to get human beings to work together as a team, to make each feel a part of the team and want to participate. Voluntary participation and creative citizen leadership is the key to the development of strong communities97 and communities are made up of people who live in neighborhoods, those who are at the grass roots of community organization. HOW TO BEGIN Step 1: FINDING PEOPLE TO GET STARTED - THE LEADERSHIP TEAM You can't start a block club alone; you have to get help from others from the very beginning. If you have friends on the block, call them first and ask for their cooperation. If you have no friends nearby, it's a good idea to make a list of people you have met at the PTA, the grocery store, the Laundromat or other neighborhood gathering spots. You may be surprised to discover how many of your neighbors you really do know. But, if you don't know anyone, start making acquaintances with people at some of the spots mentioned above. Talk informally
with people about the neighborhood. You may be able to pave the way for developing a leadership team of four or five people who share concerns and feel a community organization will be beneficial to the neighborhood. Invite the leadership team to meet in your home to help with plans and arrangements for a meeting of everyone in the block or area. This small planning group should do these things: A. Discuss conditions in your block and neighborhood that might straighten your good surroundings. B. Decide whether you want to work together to organize a block club to improve these conditions. C. Decide the boundaries of the proposed organization. D. Set a time and place for a meeting of all the residents within the proposed boundaries to be held in a home, church, school, or union hall. E. Agree on a plan for inviting everyone to the meeting. Step 2: THE LEADERSHIP TEAM--HOW CAN WE GET MORE PEOPLE INVOLVED The first job of the leadership team is to organize a way to contact other people on the block. There are a number of communication channels used by block clubs 97posters, flyers, announcements in community or church newspapers - but for the very first block club meeting personal contact is best. Advantages of personal contacts: Personally calling on a neighbor makes him feel you are interested in him. ft also assures him that if he comes to the meeting, he will not be a stranger. He will know at least one other person-YOU. The personal visit also gives you a chance to explain what a block club is, and give your ideas on what it can do. ft also gives you to hear what your neighborhoods think and what they would like to do. Furthermore, if your neighbor personally promises to come to the meeting, he will have a greater degree of commitment to show up. He can also suggest other neighbors who might be interested, and you will be able to use his name to introduce yourself to the other neighbors. How to make personal calls - teams: Many people prefer to go with another person to make calls. This is where the leadership team comes in. You can divide the block up into sections and assign each team of two or more to visit specified sections, a team of two or more to visit specified sections, a team of two people can support each other. Usually one
might have ideas the other might not think of: and they can talk about their experience afterwards to improve their method of approaching people and to figure out ways to involve the new people they have met. In addition, a team-member can act as your 93conscience94. You won't want to break an appointment because you know you can't let the other person down. Deciding whom to call on and what the boundaries should be Though eventually you may hope that everyone in the area will be involved in block activities, remember that there is always room for growth. Make decision on where to start.
The actual boundaries of the organization could possible be only half of a block, one side of the block, both sides of the street facing each other, both sides facing on the alley, or even a single apartment building. The boundaries will depend on such factors as how large the block is, population density, size of available meeting places, and the nature of the problems in the neighborhood. For example, if your problems center around alley up-keep, you might want to organize residents on both of the alley. The group should be large enough to tackle your problems with some assurances of success, but not so large that there is little chance for people to get to know each other, let alone swap ideas.
Once you decide on boundaries, you should proceed to contact everyone who lives in those boundaries: owners, renters, new corners, and older residents. In later agreeing block standards, and in enforcing those standards, all the residents will depend on each other. Even the potential "trouble-makers"... ones who don't count the grass, put the garbage in the can, or keep up the exterior of their property, should be contacted. It's only by getting these "trouble-makers" to join that they can be influenced and persuaded to conform to the wishes of the rest of the neighbors. Remember though, that such people should never be invited to the meeting to be lectured about their undesirable behavior; it is by including them in the decision-making about what will be good for the whole block that they will come to live by better standards.
No matter how much you may enjoy calling on people, some will be harder to reach than others. For example, newcomers often find it difficult to call on someone who has lived on the block for 20 years, since the "old resident" might think such a call implies he hasn't been keeping up his property very well. Almost everyone finds there is someone he'd rather not call on, which is a good reason why a leadership team is needed. One way to make sure you will use an effective approach is to have a "calling practice" in advance with the leadership team. The practice session can help you better detect how you might unintentionally "insult" someone, and can also tell you what "selling points" work best.
What to say when calling on people First of all, introduce yourself as a neighbor and explain the purpose of the call. Tell the new person that you've been talking with other neighbors who are interested in starting a block club, and explain your hope that he will come to the first meeting. Emphasize both the opportunity to know neighbors and the fact that problems can be solved through the organization. some people will want to socialize; others will be interested only in problem-solving. Actually, most successful block clubs include both kinds of programs. It is important to stress from the very beginning the value there is in setting up a block club. The continuing block club gives people the feeling of being part of a community and of sharing aims and ideas with neighbors; it also provides the machinery for working out immediate and long-range problems as they arise.
Step 3: THE FIRST MEETING
After the leadership team has contacted the neighbors who will be prospective block club members, they should decide on a temporary chairman for the first meeting, and they should decide on an agenda for the first meeting. An agenda is nothing more than a list of things to discuss or do. since you will have already talked to many neighbors, you should have a good idea of what their concerns are. Here are some things you will probably want to include in the first meeting agenda:
Step 4: ELECTION OF PERMANENT OFFICERS AND WRITING THE CONSTITUTION
As shown above, temporary officers are elected at the first general meeting, usually for a period of three months. In that three month period the Constitution is written, the membership increases, some projects are decided upon, and some temporary committees may be functioning.
Once the Constitution is adopted, it sets the rules for electing permanent officers, defines their duties, and outlines the period of time they may serve.
The Constitution Committee should prepare a constitution for presentation at a general meeting. The constitution is written telling the purpose and goals of the organization; membership requirements; rules by which the organization will be governed; and the duties of officers and committees. At the meeting, the proposed constitution is read and changes or revisions made. The members vote on its adoption and, once adopted, the constitution can only be changed according to the methods written into it. Since a constitution is not easy to write, a model constitution is included in the Appendix of this booklet for reference.
Step 5: EXPANSION
After you have organized your own area and have completed some improvement projects, you may find that people in nearby blocks are interested in working with you. They should be encouraged to form their own organization rather than become members of your group. When several nearby areas are organized you may then wish to work together to form a neighborhood council. You will probably find it helpful to interest local clergy, school principals, school community agents, service clubs, businessmen and other community groups in working with your neighborhood council. By representing more people and serving a larger area, a neighborhood council can meet challenges and problems that are too complex for the individual block organization.
Step 6: HOW THE ORGANIZATION WORKS - GOALS AND OBJECTIVES
You now have a permanent organization that meets on a regular basis. There are still many unanswered questions. How are meetings run? How does your group select and reach its goals? Where can you get assistance? The answers to these questions will determine how well your organization works. The difference between the purpose of the block club and its goals is not always spelled out clearly. this can lead to conflict between members since they might not be able to agree on specific actions for the group.
Your neighborhood needs adequate and modem facilities for your family's everyday use-shopping outlets, schools, churches, and parking easily and safely reached. It needs convenient access to other parts of the community as well as protection from heavy traffic and commercial and industrial nuisances. The continuing value and livability of your home depends on what neighborhood character is established and how well it is maintained. Most everyone will agree that it is worthwhile to make a special effort to improve your neighborhood, especially if you plan to continue living in it. The only way to improve your neighborhood is to get rid of the things that make it less desirable and to secure more of the things that make it a desirable place in which to live. Goals should be clear, specific and meaningful to the neighborhood. Seek out problems the neighbors want solved; tell the members and neighbors about the goals so everyone will know them and help, but stress that cooperation is important in achieving the goals. Have a number of goals so that accomplishment of a few goals does not mean the end of the organization. Block clubs must have people who are willing to serve as leaders over a period of time, but they must be qualified to carry out the decision of the club and not just their own wishes.
If you follow the steps in this booklet, you should be able to organize a strong community group with a minimum of difficulty. Once you have organized your group, you should also register it with the City so that you will receive an official certificate of registration. Register your group by calling or writing to the:
Operation Weed and Seed of Highland Park 12541 Second Avenue 2nd Floor Highland Park, Ml 48203 (313) 868-5136
Every successful organization has well-functioning committees. Why is this? What seemingly vial roles do committees play in an organization? Committees are specialized working units, with specific functions to perform. In order to be successful, each member must understand the purpose of the Committee and how accomplishing the purpose will further the aims of the organization. There are two general types of Committees: Standing and Special. A standing committee is one that will exist as long as the organization exists; its job is a continuing one. A special committee is appointed for one specific, short-term purpose - when the purpose is accomplished, the special committee is no longer necessary.
Block Clubs generally contain the following standing committees:
1. Membership and Sick 2. Projects 3. Program 4. Code Enforcement (Code Education) 5. Newsletter
And from time to time the following special committees:
1. Constitution and By-Laws 2. Nominating 3. Committee to organize and advise a Junior Block Club 4. Any other as needed by the organization
Councils contain these additional committees:
1. Publicity (standing) 2. Organizing (standing) 3. Clean-Up Parade (special)
Committees are generally selected in one of two ways: The President of the organization will start appointing people to the committee, in which case the first person named is the Chairman; or the President will only appoint the Chairman and ask him to select his committee. It is always acceptable for individuals to volunteer to serve on a committee.
The chairman of a group is responsible to see that they meet, that ev&yone understands the purpose of the group; and that they carry out their responsibility. He is also responsible to report back to the organization (preferably in writing), making either progress reports or recommendations for the group's approval that-will result in ACTION. As chairman, he is a member of the Executive Committee (or Board of Directors), which consists of the elected officers and are for a one-year period, after which time they can be reappointed or replaced at the discretion of the new President.
Committees meet at a time convenient to the members and a time other than that of the full organization. They meet as often as necessary to accomplish their assignment, usually once a month, and individuals are generally assigned some responsibility to carry out and report back upon. The chairman always prepares an agenda for the meeting. A committee is like a flight of stairs, each fulfilled responsibility and report is a step bringing the group closer to its goal.
MEMBERSHIP AND SICK COMMITTEE
It stands to reason that the more people on the block who participate in the organization, the higher the degree of success. The membership committee contacts all residents in the block and attempts to:
(a) Acquaint them with the organization's program, either verbally or with literature; (b) secure their cooperation; (c) ask for their ideas, suggestion, complaints; and, (d) encourage them to come to the meetings where the group can take some action.
If they learn that some person has a particular talent or ability, which may be of assistance to the group, they should ask the person to come to the meeting and help others. If possible, members should stop by a new person's home and walk over to the meeting with him or her, help new members get acquainted with people, past and ongoing programs, and future plans; see if there is some committee they may be able to contribute toward, and have that chairman talk with him or her. The job has three aspects; recruiting, orientating, and keeping members.
The job will be made easier if the committee maintains membership files:
Examples: Prospective Members Card: Name, address, phone number, affiliations, special skills, abilities, interests, date of contact, outcome of contact.
Membership Card Name, address, phone number, business address, business phone, birth date, education, skills, special training, interests, membership in other groups, preference of work in organization, preference of person to work with.
Membership Record (could be kept on back of Membership Card): Jobs done, date, comment, offices held, committees chaired, committee memberships, attendance (frequent, occasional, rare), degree of participation (very active, fairly active, inactive).
Dropped Out of Lapsed Members Name, address, phone number, dates of membership, activity record, work done, comments.
From Interview (to be put on back of above card): Stated reason for leaving, major satisfactions while a member, major dissatisfactions, recommendations of ex-member, comments.
Membership is often combined with the Sick committee because in talking with people, this committee is usually in a position to know it there is illness, death, new birth, etc., in a family. If the budget will allow, a block club should have cards to send these families. If there is a Newsletter Committee, it should be given this information also. Some groups go further and send flowers, food baskets, or offer other assistance. This is a matter of group budget and choice.
This Committee should make a study of the block and find out what problems exist. It should find out from the Membership Committee what complaints they have received from residents. It should ask the President for time at a regular meeting to have the members voice their complaints or share their problems. These should all be listed and taken into committee for study, where the problems should be broken down into two categories: (1) general, overall block programs (e.g., littered alleys, lack of grass, most houses needing paint, insufficient lighting, destructiveness by children, vacant and littered lots); and, (2) specific, individual violations (e.g., a garage ready to fall apart, a sore with unsanitary alley, a dog owner who allow the dog to run loose, a house with broken steps).
Information on the specific, individual violations should be referred to the Code Enforcement Committee in writing (see section on Code Enforcement Committee). Information on general, overall problems will become the projects of the block club, the Committee should break this category down into: (1) problems that will require communication with a City agency (e.g., Water) and refer that to the President with the recommendation that he or someone of his choice follow through, and (2) problems for the entire group to work upon. One project should be selected, and recommendations written for ways to carry it out. this report will be made to the block club, a motion made and seconded to adopt it, by the group. If the report and recommendations are approved, they must result in action program. Once this project is completed, the committee selects another from the list and follows the same process. A new group should start with small project that can show fast results, and gradually take on more difficult and long-range problems, It is usually best to handle one problem at a time.
The purpose of this group is to bring order, enjoyment fulfillment to the club's activities. It should be familiar with services available in the community and the total city. What social agencies and services are in the community that the people may not know about?
What people living in the community have information of value to the group? What departments of the City have speakers and films on topics of interest and value? What are the film resources of the public library? Where can a projector and screen be obtained? Who could operate it? This information should be gathered and programs planned to complement the work of the Project Committee and to give the people a better understanding of codes and ordinances. For example, if an alley clean-up campaign is being planned, the Program committee should try and secure a speaker familiar with alley sanitation. If the project deals with youth activities, ask the Boy Scouts, of Boys and Girls Club, or other agency for a speaker.
During and after a program watch for and listen to audience reaction. Were they interested in some parts in all the program? Draw up a questionnaire. Find out what the people liked, didn't like, and why.
The Committee should make the contact for speakers or films (followed by a confirmation in writing) two or more weeks in advance of the speaking date. They should get information on the film and/or speaker in order to make the introduction, and give the speaker some information about the group (their interest, accomplishments, and what topic they want him to speak on). If the group has a Newsletter Committee, information on speaker, film, or topics should be supplied to it.
Remember that often a speaker's time is limited. If your meeting time is 7:30 p.m., ask the speaker to be there at 8:00 p.m. so that the business meeting is almost completed when he arrives. Have a discussion or question period after the talk. After the speaker is through, let him know that he is welcome to stay, but that if he has other commitments, you understand. Always thank a speaker verbally at the meeting and, if possible, with a letter or note afterwards.
CODE ENFORCEMENT COMMITTEE
The Code Enforcement Committee's first function is code education. ft should utilize every available technique: movies, lectures, personal contact, literature, etc. The committee should become familiar with city codes and ordinances, and the departments that enforce them. If the members of the block club have complaints about specific individual violations they should be given to this Committee, which will then check on the condition to see if violations really do exist. If there are violations, several methods of attempting correction can be used:
(1) Personal a. Individual contact b. Committee contact
(3) Complaint to proper agency
When an offender is approached, either personally or by letter, it should be assumed that he does not know that he is in violation of a code or ordinance. Approach with literature, if possible a smile, and some information about the block club's goals - you may find a new block club member. In some cases you may find a person willing to correct the violation but unable to do so because of financial or physical reasons (aged, handicapped, unemployed). Investigate to see if the reason is correct. It so, and with the individual's permission, refer the situation to the project committee, where the block club members can assist their neighbor to make corrections.
If these methods fail to achieve voluntary code compliance, it becomes necessary for the benefit of those who meet the standards set by the City and the organization to ask for enforcement by a City agency. If the block club belongs to a Council, they should report the condition to that Code Enforcement Chairman, stating what they have done to correct it and ask for further assistance.
The Code Enforcement Chairman should become acquainted with the Inspector at the Public Safety Department, key personnel at the departments of Public Service, Water Department, Recreation, Housing, Senior Citizens, Inspections, Community Development, as well as the Mayor and Council so that they can work together for the peace and safety of the community. Often people hesitate to call the Public Safety or other City agencies, therefore, members of block clubs may call their Code Enforcement Chairman with their complaint to the Public Safety Department or proper City agency.
The more people who know the City codes and ordinances, the better there will be the cooperation and compliance. Give such information to the NEWSLETTER COMMITTEE.
The basic ingredient of a good group is good communication. The Newsletter Committee's main job is to keep everyone informed of the organization's purpose, program and projects. It should also give recognition to members doing an outstanding job; give information about City codes and ordinances, programs going on in the neighborhood and in the City that would be of interest to the members; and give information about birth or illnesses, etc. in the neighborhood.
Many misunderstandings grow out of word-of-mouth communications. With each telling, something is added or left out. A good newsletter can correct this problem since all news and information will be in writing to everyone, and will eliminate some of the confusion or rumors caused by other methods of communication. It also keeps the goal of a group before it, and shows the progress being made toward the goal.
Each committee member should have some definite responsibility assigned. For example, John writes on codes, May checks with the membership committee, Bob writes projects, the President sends in news and the Chairman collects - coordinates and rewrites for the typist.
Paper and stencils should be paid for from the group's treasury or by selling advertisement space to neighborhood business. If a member of the group is experienced at typing stencils, ask this member to do the typing job. If not, find someone with good handwriting. Of the many group members, someone is sure to know where they can find and use a machine to run off the newsletter. Perhaps a local church or school would do the job if the materials where supplied. If you are near City Hall, that office often provide mimeographing services, but you must supply the paper and stencil. A group comes into being for a purpose - it has goals. When people lose sight of the purpose and goal, or don't see how they are working toward them, they fall away. Good newsletters will help keep members interested and active. SPECIAL COMMITTEES, you recall, are short-term, one-purpose committees. The following two are found in every organization:
CONSTITUTION AND BY-LAWS COMMITTEE
This committee sets forth the foundation for the organization to build upon. Constitution and By-Laws should contain the following information:
1. Name of group and boundaries 2. Purpose(s) of group 3. Conditions of membership 4. Dues, if any 5. What officers the group shall have and who shall be on the Executive Committee or Board of Directors 6. What standing committees a group shall have 7. Meetings (when held, quorum, annual meeting for election of officers, special meetings) 8. Statement of duties of officers and standing committee 9. Terms of office and methods of election 10. How to amend the by-laws
After the committee has drawn up a constitution, they are to bring it to the membership, read and discuss each article, make necessary changes, and vote upon it. when the constitution and by-laws are adopted, copies should be made for all the members. If this is not possible, copies should be made for the officers. The Committee's job is now finished. But, the statement of purpose and goals set in the constitution should constantly be kept before the membership through the Newsletter Committee.
The Nominating Committee may be elected by the membership or appointed by the President. The job of this Committee is to select a slate of candidates to put before the membership. Further, nominations can then be made from the floor. The Nominating Committee should prepare ballots, with their slate on it and blank spaces next to it for names of people nominated from the floor. After nominations are closed, the ballots are distributed, marked and returned to the Committee. They tabulate the votes and report back at the same meeting. The new officer are installed at the next meeting.
This committee has a big responsibility - they must try to get the best people to fill responsible jobs and they will find some people refusing to do so. Friendship must be left out of their deliberations, because a good friend may be a poor president. The job must be filled, wherever possible, by people qualified for or capable of learning the job.
ADDITIONAL COMMITTEES FOR COUNCILS
There is no reason why Councils should not have top-notch working committees. Councils and associations have a wealth of people to call upon - not only the delegates of member organizations, but all the people belonging to the member organizations. When committees are to be formed, delegates should be asked to recommend someone from their organization who would be qualified to do the job. The council would then invite these people to participate on the various committees.
A council should have the following additional committees:
1. Publicity (standing) 2. Organizing (standing) 3. Clean-up Parade (special)
The job of this Committee is to publicize the Council's activities BEYOND the neighborhood newsletter. When the Council plans a program, this committee would utilize ever media of communication - newspapers, radio (many stations want community news), churches, schools, and notices or posters in business places. The committee should write, or obtain from the President, a news release (statement of facts like time, place, topics, speaker's name, unusual situations) to submit to the newspaper (it is easier to get things printed in a Monday edition of the dailies), both city-wide and local. They would design a flyer for churches and schools, a letter to clergymen and block club presidents, and obtain permission from the school district administrator to have the children take home flyers provided by the Council. If permission is granted, they would call each school, discuss the program, and find out how many flyers they would need.
It is important that committee members keep copies of their letters, flyers and news releases, as well as names and phone numbers of all public and private schools in their area.
Every council should have a map of their area with the block clubs clearly state (churches, schools, playgrounds, etc.) so that one can see at a glance the spread of the council. The job of the Organizing Committee would be to find people in the unmarked 91areas who would be interested in organizing block clubs. There are several ways of getting this information:
1. From attendance records at large community meetings; 2. From cards passed out at community meetings which ask: "Do you have a block club? Would you be interested in having one?"; 3. From clergymen who know the people in the area; 4, From questionnaires sent home with school children and returned to the school; 5. From personal acquaintances (both of the committee and the delegates); 6. From door-to-door interviews.
Once you have found a person in an unorganized block who is willing to work toward starting a group, have them get three or four of their neighbors together and plan for the first meeting. Materials will be sent to assist in setting up this organization by calling Operation Weed and Seed of Highland Park at 313-868-5136.
The committee person who has worked with this new group will continue to be their advisor until they elect permanent officers and become active in the Council.
SPECIAL COMMITTEE: CLEAN-UP PARADE
Many councils have a clean-up, paint-up campaign in May, either preceded or succeeded by the Michigan Week Parade. One of the Parade Committee's responsibilities would be to determine the route to be taken.
They would also send a letter to the City Council no later than three weeks before it is scheduled, requesting permission to hold the parade. The letter would include the date, time, place of line-up, and route. From the City Council, the letter will go to the Public Safety Department for their approval, and then the Chairman will be notified of the decision (almost always approved, but sometimes containing changes).
The Parade Committee would secure participants (block clubs, business people, sound truck, band, Keep Highland Park Beautiful Committee, to have floats, cars, marchers, etc., in the parade). The Committee would work with the publicity committee to alert the community to watch for it. Some councils also have a Queen contest, with the winners riding in convertibles (either privately owned or secured as a loan from auto dealers).
Maps of the route should be given to the Publicity Committee and police escort. The Committee should determine the parade line-up, let participants know where they will be in it, and line them up according to the schedule when they arrive.
If possible, all participants should return to a desirable indoor or outdoor location to re-emphasize their objectives following the parade.
Yes, every successful organization has well-functioning committees. They are successful because they get the right person for a job, and because they utilize all the neighborhood resources. Yet each group is different. This booklet is meant to be a guide to help group members utilize their personal abilities and the wealth of information and help available in their neighborhoods. If this is done, you will have a successful and continuing organization.
Leadership is necessary if a group is to accomplish its purpose successfully.
WHAT IS A GOOD LEADER
Many people recognize a good leader when they see one, however, few people take time to consider the qualities which make a person a good leader. A good leader is a person who:
a. Is respected by other people for his fairness; b. Is regarded with confidence by other in the group; c. Accepts and understands the members of his group and all their differences of background, values, experiences, and abilities, and is able to work with them in attaining group goals; d. Understands and is able clearly to express the purpose for which the group is organized; e. Encourages each member to contribute his ideas and skills: f. Is willing, after an exchange of ideas, to go along with whatever the group decides; g. Is able to accept personal criticism without resentment; h. Helps group members cooperate to carry out group projects; I. Encourages the group to become stronger and better organized; j. Can be relied upon to carry out whatever he promises to do.
In short., the good leader is one who is effective in putting ideas into action, stimulating discussion, and then getting the group members to act upon group decision.
HOW CAN ONE BECOME A LEADER?
Basically all of us want to become leaders, inasmuch as there are definite rewards for becoming a leader. In any group there are many positions of leadership available. Not all leaders are officers. A reliable, competent committee chairman can make the difference between a growing and dying organization. A capable rank and file member can also help steer the group in a better direction. Such action on a member's part will help the group recognize him as a leader. Generally, groups will recognize as a leader a member of the group who
a. has demonstrated to the group that he is willing to work hard to support the group's interests; b. has the type of personality that is generally agreeable (this doesn't mean that a leader should try to please everyone all of the time; it does mean that he should be a generally likable person, interested in other people, and desirous of helping them to help themselves); c. is able to express his ideas simple and tactfully; d. shows sound judgment in making decisions; e. is honest and fair to all.
HOW DOES A GOOD LEADER CONDUCT A DISCUSSION?
A democratic leader provides an opportunity for individual members to participate in discussion, but does not allow any one person to monopolize the proceedings. In other words, the leader guides the discussion by tactfully controlling the give-and- take between members, drawing out those who are slow to participate and seeing that everyone's ideas are considered by the group. Group interest and effectiveness in achieving goals are increased when the following discussion procedure is used by the leader:
a. present the problem clearly and logically; b. encourage each person to suggest a possible solution; c. announce a time limit for discussion; d. stay within the time limit unless the group itself agrees to extend discussion; e. focus the discussion on the issue under consideration; f. answer questions or refer them to others for an answer; g. consider viewpoints other than one;s own; h. look ahead to the possible results of suggested solutions and point these out to the members; I. keep the discussion moving until a group decision is reached; j. summarize the total discussion with a view toward assigning responsibility for taking action to achieve the goal agreed upon.
HOW DOES A LEADER MEET THE CHALLENGE OF LEADERSHIP?
Every leader is confronted with problems arising from his role as a leader of his group both in working with his own members and in working with persons outside the group to achieve group goals.
To successfully solve these problems, a good leader must be able to do the following:
a. represent his group in dealings with outsiders; b. communicate openly with his own group members; c. introduce new ideas to the group; d. be willing to accept new ideas that come from the group; e. focus the discussion on the issue under consideration; f. answer questions or refer them to others for an answer; g. consider viewpoints other than one's own; h. look ahead to the possible results of suggested solutions and point these out to the members; I. keep the discussion moving until a group decision is reached; j. summarize the total discussion with a view toward assigning responsibility for taking action to achieve the goal agreed upon.
HOW DOES A LEADER MEET THE CHALLENGE OF LEADERSHIP? Every leader is confronted with problems arising from his role as a leader of his group both in working with his own members and in working with persons outside the group to achieve group goals.
To successfully solve these problems, a good leader must be able to do the following:
a. represent his group in dealings with outsiders; b. communicate openly with his own group members; c. introduce new ideas to the group; d. be willing to accept new ideas that come from the group e. be able to hold together two or more factions that disagree and get them to cooperate with common interest; f. be willing to suggest and support changes that will improve the way the group works.
WHEN DOES A LEADER BECOME A PROBLEM?
No leader is without problems, but the more skillful the leader, the fewer serious problems he is apt to have and the better he will be able to meet those that arise. However, the leader himself may become a problem to the group. The following types of leaders create difficulties for any group:
a. The Dictatorial Leader is the "Head Man" who tolerates little discussion and no disagreement with his viewpoint; he thinks he knows everything; he is not apt to last long if there's an opportunity for the membership to unite to vote him out of office and to agree on a successor.
b. The Weak Leader is just as undesirable as the dictatorial one; the last person he talked to has usually changed the weak leader's viewpoint; he is often without sufficient courage to take a stand on any issue, he hesitates to replace inefficient appointees; he tries to please everyone and ends up by pleasing no one or a very few. In a real sense, his presence creates a lack of leadership and paves the way for someone else to come along and fill the leadership role.
c. The Tactless Leader is one who is so blunt in his speech and actions that he is apt to antagonize most of the members and will soon be replaced, or is he remains, will be ineffective in his role as leader.
d. The Technical Leader is one who is literal in his interpretation of everything and must formalize every issue, however trivial. This person has a parliamentary procedure manual where his brain should be. Frequently, members become bored by this over-emphasis on formal procedure and attendance drops off. The group should determine the amount of formal control necessary to conduct the business meeting.
e. The No-Idea Leader is one who simply marks time and has neither the initiative to introduce new suggestions nor the sense to encourage other members to offer their ideas; no group can grow under this type of leader; it can only endure his control or overthrow it. f. The One-Man Band Leader is one who can't delegate any responsibility; carries out all assignments personally; reports to the group what he has done but not what he is going to do; comes to the meetings with the agenda, questions, and answers personally worked out. He has little faith in the group's ability to think or act.
g. The Hitch-Hiker Leader is one who merely is along for the ride; can't be relied on to carry through on any project the group wishes to undertake; leaves everything up to the group, "It's your problem...if you really want a meeting, I'll be glad to call one." Although he thinks he is a democratic leader, actually he offers no leadership. h. Finally, we may note the Self-Seeking Leader who uses his position to "feather his own nest". Often, this leader has leadership ability, and the membership may be willing to tolerate his dishonesty so long as he continues to provide regular benefits.
HOW CAN GROUP EFFECTIVENESS BE INCREASED?
Stripped to its essentials, a leader's jot is to help the group on its own ability and no group can really be successful until each member is willing to assume responsibility for the way the group acts.
The group will be more effective if each individual member increases his own knowledge and ability. This can be done by:
a. Learning the various skills of effective leadership such as the elements of Parliamentary Procedure, informal methods of conducting a meeting, how to appoint effective committees, etc.
b. Learning to summarize discussion so that the group will not waste time groping for the ideas offered;
c. Encouraging new members of the group to participate in leadership positions so as to develop a continuing source of leadership;
d. Introducing new projects and program suggestions to help stimulate the interest and enthusiasm of the group;
e. Helping other to feel that they belong in the group, are essential to its purpose, and that they all are working toward common goals.
The separation between the leader and the group is only a slight one and in a democratic group it is a temporary separation. The leader is only as effective as the group is good. Leaders and groups are really two sides of the same coin. A strong group and a weak leader does not spell democratic, fruitful activity any more than does a weak group and a strong leader. In both instances the whole unit is handicapped by its weakest link.
Very worthwhile groups exist for a purpose. If the group loses its purpose, or tails to function to meet its purpose, the group is in danger of dying. Most people are too busy these days to continue to participate in groups that either have no purpose, only a vague purpose, or no program to achieve their purpose. Groups exist to do things with and for their members. Any leader of any group an lead effectively if he know what the group wants to do. It is not the leaders job to impose hi purpose or goal on the group. ft is his job to understand clearly what the group's purpose is, to suggest goals if none exist, to clarify them if they are vague, and overall to suggest appropriate, democratic imaginative means by which these goals may best be achieved.
The task of the leader of even a small group is not easy. However, such a leadership task does offer personal rewards to those willing to attempt it. Moreover, in a democratic society, it is essential that every citizen be recognized as a potential leader; and every potential leader (this includes all of us) should seek to recognize and train his abilities so that if called upon by his group he will be able to serve as a good leader with imagination, skill and intelligence.
TEN POINTS FOR MEETINGS
BASIC RULES OF PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURE ANYONE CAN USE AT COMMUNITY MEETINGS
Probably not more than once in 20 years will any situation arise at a meeting which will not be covered by the 10 easily understood rules explained here. Using these, anyone can participate intelligently in community meetings.
** THE MOTION **
You make a motion by raising your hand to get the chairperson's attention. After he has recognized you, you rise and say, "Mr. Chairperson, I move that we..." and state your motion. You may make a motion when you want the group to take some action; to send a letter, to instruct a committee, to accept a report, to spend money to improve the appearance of the meeting hall, to hold a special meeting, to spend money for some special purpose, etc.
** THE AMENDMENT **
Amendments are offered in the same way as motions. You may offer such an amendment you agree substantially with the motion that has been made but want to make some change before it is adopted. For example, a motion has been made to hold a special meeting, but no date has been specified. You want to be sure that the meeting will be held at a time when all the members can attend. You may then amend the motion by saying: "Mr. Chairperson, I move to amend the motion to the effect that the special meeting shall be held two weeks from next Monday (or any other day and time) at 7:30 p.m." Or you want to limit the amount of money when an expenditure is being authorized; etc. In all such cases you amend a motion.
** AMENDING THE AMENDMENT **
Just as motion may be amended, an amendment may also be changed in the same way. As with the first amendment, the second amendment must relate to the motion and the amendment. it is in order only when it does. No more than two amendments may be made to one motion.
** SUBSTITUTE MOTION **
The substitute motion is sometimes used when there is a motion and two amendments on the floor, in order to save the time of the meeting. If there does not seem to be substantial disagreement with the motion and the two amendments, a substitute motion incorporating all three into one motion may be made and accepted by the chair. Comment: If you disagree with a motion or an amendment, you do not defeat it by trying to change the sense of the motion through amendment. You speak against the motion or the amendments, and urge the group to vote against them. If these are defeated, new motions calling for different action may be made and considered.
** SPEAKING ON MOTIONS OR AMENDMENTS **
When you want to speak at a meeting, you raise your hand and ask the chairperson for the floor. As soon as you are recognized by the chairperson, you may proceed to speak either for or against the motion or amendments that are being considered. Within such time limits as may be established by your group, you can speak for or against almost any motion. You may speak on motion or amendments only after they have been offered to or accepted by the chairperson and have been supported by someone in the group.
** HOW TO END DEBATE **
If you think there has been too much discussion of any issue being considered in your group92s meeting you may try to close the discussion. You do this by getting recognition from the chairperson after which you say, "Ms. Chairperson, I call for the previous question." When the chairperson puts this to a vote of the body, two-thirds of the members present and voting can vote to end debate. (Some groups have special rules which permit a majority of those present and voting to end debate)
** MOTION TO TABLE **
If you wish to postpone or end debate on an issue, you may also make a motion to table. Such a motion is not debatable, and if is supported by one other member, must be put to an immediate vote by the chairperson.
** POINT OF INFORMATION **
If at any time during the meeting you are confused about the business being discussed, or if you want the motion that is being considered more clearly explained, you may rise to ask the chairperson for a point of information. After you are recognized, ask for the explanation that you desire. (With only a few limitations, a point of information is in order at almost any time during a meeting.)
** POINT OF ORDER **
If you disagree with any of the chairperson92s ruling or if you believe that the person who is speaking is not talking about the business being considered, you may raise a point of order and state your objection to the chairperson. The chairperson then is required to rule one way or another on your point of order.
** APPEAL FROM THE CHAIR **
If you disagree with a ruling of the chairperson on a point of order, you may "appeal the decision of the chair". After you make such an appeal, it must be supported by at least one other member. During consideration of the appeal, the chairperson must turn the chair over to the next ranking officer.
You will then be given an opportunity to state your reasons for believing the chairperson should be overruled, after which the chairperson will have an opportunity to give his reasons for ruling against you. No one else may participate in this discussion.
Immediately after the chairperson has spoken, the vice-president, or whoever else temporarily is occupying the chair, will place your appeal before the group for a vote. The group will then, by majority vote, overrule your appeal and uphold the chair, or support your opinion by overruling the chair.
(Since appeals from the decision of the chair tend very greatly to delay meetings, they are used ordinarily only when the rulings of the chair are of such very great importance that the member cannot in good conscience allow them to stand.)
Perhaps the most necessary step in organizing a club is the drafting of a constitution. A constitution is the document which explains the purposes of the club, how it is to be run, how it may be changed, who are to be its members. In other words, the constitution is the life-giver of the group. It further serves to avoid possible controversy in a club by setting forth the rules beforehand.
Constitutions are not easy to devise. It is hoped that this model constitution will be of help to those charged with the task of devising one. Of course, many will choose to incorporate features of their own according to the particular needs and desires of their membership.
We, the residents living within the limits of Oak Street * and Elm Street, bounded by Poplar Street and Pine Street, being desirous of combining our efforts for the purposes of: Promoting a greater sense of cooperation among and between us; having a voice in all civic matters affecting our community; maintaining and improving our property; and developing a sense of individual obligation to the area in which we reside, do ordain and establish this Constitution.
*These are, of course, fictional streets and one would have to use the names of the actual streets which set the limits of the particular block or neighborhood.
Article I - NAME
The name of this organization shall be the Oak-Elm Block Club.
Article II- BOUNDARIES
The territorial limits of this block club shall be Oak and Elm Streets between Poplar and Pine Streets.
Article III - MEMBERSHIP
All residents, residing within the stated boundaries, who subscribe to the purposes of the Oak-Elm Block Club as stated in the Preamble shall be eligible to become members in this club.
Article IV - MEETINGS
Regular meetings shall be held each month at such time and place as shall be determined. Special meetings may be called by the President either upon petition signed by one-fourth of the members and presented to the Secretary or with the consent of a majority of the Executive Board.
Article V - OFFICERS
The elective offices of this club shall be: President, Vice-President, Recording Secretary, Corresponding Secretary, Treasurer. The term of office shall be one year for all of the above offices.
Article VI- DUTIES
Section 1 - President
The president shall preside at all meetings of this club, shall have power to appoint all necessary committees upon approval of a simple majority of the Executive board, define the duties thereof, and perform other duties as may pertain to his office. He shall be an ex-officio member of all committees, except the nominating committee.
If any office is vacated for any reason, and not filled by succession, the President shall appoint any member in good standing to occupy such office for the balance of the term upon approval of a simple majority of the Executive Board.
Section 2 - Vice President
The Vice-President shall perform the duties of the President in the absence of the President.
If the office of the President should become vacant, the Vice-President shall succeed to the office. If the offices of the President and Vice-President become vacant, or if the President and Vice-President are both temporarily absent, temporary President may be chosen by a majority of the members present at regularly called meeting.
Section 3 - Recording Secretary
The Recording Secretary shall take the minutes at club meetings and Executive Board meetings and shall have full and complete charge of the club records.
Section 4- Corresponding Secretary
The Corresponding Secretary shall have charge of all matters relative to communications, shall keep a list of all members, and notify them of the meetings and other important matters of the club, and shall work with the Recording Secretary for the benefit of the club.
Section 5 - Treasurer
The Treasurer shall have charge of all funds belonging to this club, collect dues, pay bills, sign checks, deposit funds in a bank approved by this club, and render a monthly statement showing the financial condition of the club. The President shall appoint a committee to audit the books of the Treasurer twice each year, and report the results to the club. When a majority of the members of the club, voting at the regularly called meeting, shall decide to require the Treasurer to be bonded, the cost of the bond shall be borne by the club.
Article VII - ELECTIONS
Section 1 - Nomination
At the regular meeting each year in October, the President shall appoint three persons to serve on a nominating committee. Four additional persons shall be elected to serve on the committee by: a majority of the members of the club present and voting at the October meeting. In case of tie vote, a run-off election shall be immediately held.
The seven-member nominating committee shall select and recommend candidates at the November meeting for the annual election in December. Nominations may also be made from the floor at the November meeting.
Section 2 - Balloting
The Officers shall be elected by secret ballot at the first regular meeting in December. A simple majority of all votes cast at the meeting shall be necessary for the election of any officer.
If no candidate shall receive a majority of all of the votes cast, there shall be an immediate run-off election held between the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes cast.
If the two candidates receiving the most votes shall receive a tie vote, a run-off shall follow immediately. If the tie is not broken after the run-off, the Executive Board shall vote by secret ballot at its next regular meeting to choose one of the two candidates.
Section 3 - Installation
Officers elected shall be installed at the first meeting in January.
Article VIII - EXECUTIVE BOARD
Section 1 - Membership
There shall be an Executive Board which shall be comprised of the Officers, the immediate past President, and two members named by the President.
Section 2 - Duties
The Executive Board shall be responsible for overseeing the day to day business of the club, for preparing the agenda for meetings, and for the other duties which normally fall to Executive Boards. It shall not incur any debts or pay any bills except as approved by the club.
Section 3 - Quorum
A majority of the members of the Executive Board shall constitute a quorum.
Section 4 - Meetings
Meetings of the Executive Board may be called by the President alone or by the President upon the request of any two members of the Executive Board.
Article IX - CONDUCT OF MEETINGS
Section 1 - Quorum
One-fourth of the membership of the club shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of any legal business which may come before them at any meeting properly called.
Section 2 - Robert's Rules
All meetings shall be conducted according to Robert's Rules of Order.
Article X - FAILURE TO ATTEND
The office of any officer, who fails to attend three consecutive regular meetings of the club without a satisfactory excuse to the President or the Executive Board, shall automatically become vacant.
Article XI- DUES
Section 1 - Payment
Members of the club shall pay dues to the Treasurer or his representative.
Section 2 - Amount
The amount of the dues shall be fixed by the Executive Board of the club.
Article XII - BY-LAWS
By-Laws for this club shall be adopted by a simple majority vote of those members present voting at any regular meeting.
*By-Laws will cover club affairs which are subject to frequent change, (such as the amount of dues, qualifications for membership, place and time of meetings, name, composition and duties of standing committees, etc.) while the Constitution outlines the more permanent characteristics of the club.
Article XIII - AMENDMENT
The Constitution of this club may be amended; provided, however, that the following steps are taken in succession:
(1) The proposed amendment is given to the Secretary in writing. (2) The proposed amendment is read at a regular meeting. (3) All members are given due notice by mail of the proposed amendment. (4) Two-thirds of all members present vote in favor of adopting the proposed amendment. (At least one week must pass between steps (3) and (4).
Article XIV - ADOPTION
This Constitution shall become operative upon a two-thirds vote in its favor, held at a meeting specially called for adoption of the Constitution, provided, that notice of such meeting is sent by mail at least one week ahead to all the residents within the territorial limits of the club.
***** GOOD LUCK! *****
"CREATING NEW POSSIBILITIES FOR HIGHLAND PARK NEIGHBORHOODS"
FILL OUT COMPLETELY, COPY, AND MAIL TO THE FOLLOWING FOR REGISTRATION: OPERATION WEED AND SEED OF HIGHLAND PARK 12541 SECOND AVENUE 2ND FLOOR HIGHLAND PARK, MICHIGAN 48203
(TYPE OR PRINT)
ZIP CODE:_______ DATE:___________________ NAME OF ORGANIZATION: MAILING ADDRESS:___________________ ______ CURRENT PRESIDENT/CHAIRPERSON__________________________ ADDRESS:__________________________ PHONE:___________ CONTACT PERSON:______________________ TITLE:______________ ADDRESS:_________________________ PHONE:____________ MEMBERSHIP OF ORGANIZATION: 1-10 _____; 10-25;_____ 25-50____; OVER ACTIVE PERCENTAGE OF GROUP: 1 0% -25%____;26-50%_____; 51%-75%________ ;76%-I 00%
BOUNDARIES OF ORGANIZATION: (Use street names)
NORTH__________________ SOUTH_________________ EAST_____________________ WEST___________________
PURPOSES OF ORGANIZATION: (Check all that apply)
__COMMUMTY IMPROVEMENT ___YOUTH INVOLVEMENT/MENTORING
__SOCIAL CLUB ___PROPERTY MAINTENANCE ___CITIZEN RADIO PATROL __
NEIGHBORHOOD REVITALIZATION OTHER:___________________
DOES YOUR ORGANIZATION HAVE A WEBSITE? ____YES NO IF YES PLEASE INCLUDE ADDRESS_____________________________
DOES YOUR ORGANIZATION HAVE AN E-MAIL ADDRESS ?__YES NO IF YES PLEASE INCLUDE ADDRESS____________________________
DOES YOUR ORGANIZATION PUBLISH A NEWSLETTER? ___YES ___NO (If YES, place Operation Weed and Seed on your mailing list)
ORGANIZATION'S REGULAR MEETING: DATE:____________________ TIME:________________ LOCATION: ADDRESS:
DO YOU HAVE NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH? __YES __NO
WHAT ACTIVITIES DOES YOUR ORGANIZATION PROMOTE OR PARTICIPATE IN? (Check all that apply): ___CLEAN-UP CAMPAIGNS ___BLOCK PARTIES
___COMPLAINT HANDLING INFORMATION WORKSHOPS, ETC. ___YOUTH
GROUP ACTIVITIES ___TRIPS ___HEALTH PROGRAMS ___TRANSPORTATION FOR ELDERLY
___FOODBASKETS, SHELTER, CLOTHING, OTHER FOR NEEDY
___TRANSPORTATION FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME
LIST (specifically) MAJOR PROBLEMS IN YOUR AREA:___________________
OTHER ORGANIZATIONS WITH WHICH YOUR ORGANIZATION IS REGISTERED:
WHEN DID YOU FIRST ORGANIZE?________________________________ ELECTIONS
OFFICERS: VICE PRESIDENT:________________________________________
ADDRESS:__________________________ PHONE:______________ SECRETARY: ADDRESS:_________________________ PHONE:______________