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The Challenge Of Integrating New Members

Sometimes the older folks forget what it was like to be a newbie—even though everyone was one once. For most new folks, joining an intentional community is an adventure unlike anything they've done before. So much so that it's unreasonable to expect them to even know what questions to ask. This task is further complicated by the richness of community culture. While it's one thing to create and disseminate to new arrivals a book of agreements (it's a good idea for everyone to have a copy BTW), that's just the tip of the iceberg. The vast majority of norms or customs will not be delineated in a handbook—which means that someone has to be available to offer community in translation, or you are essentially deciding that it's OK for the new folks to figure it out by trial and error. (Hint: this is a poor choice.)
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