THE REASONS FOR BECOMING A MEMBER OF CIRCLE PINES are numerous. Perhaps the major advantages are the intangible ones. Becoming a member means becoming part of the "extended family" of Circle Pines. The Center attracts people of all ages, origins, callings, and walks of life who come together to share peacefully and cooperatively, in the educational and recreational resources that are offered. The community that is built at Circle Pines often becomes a powerful and attractive part of members' lives, drawing them back again and again.
Members of Circle Pines are entitled to lower rates for use of the Center. This means that a member pays less for being a visitor at the Center than a non-member would. Non-members pay a usage fee in addition to the regular visitor fees.
One specific advantage of CPC membership is member control. Every member of Circle Pines has a vote, giving them some control over what takes place at the Center. Members meet twice a year to handle business, elect a Board of Directors, and discuss issues related to the Center. The Board in turn sets policies and hires and evaluates members of the Management Team, who oversee the day-to-day operations of the Center and hire remaining staff.
Members are encouraged to participate in the administration of Circle Pines by serving on the Board or on any of the various committees which help the Board and the staff in their work. In addition, members have access to the financial records of the Center and Board and committee reports at the General Membership meetings or during regular office hours at the Center. Subscriptions to all publications of Circle Pines, including Pine Needles (the membership newsletter) and program brochures and fliers, are another privilege of membership.
Along with all these advantages, a member takes on certain responsibilities regarding the Center: All members have financial obligations to Circle Pines. Through membership payments, annual dues, visitor rates, and donations, members contribute to the upkeep and daily operation of Circle Pines.
The initial membership fee for Circle Pines is currently $400. The first year's payment is a minimum of 20%; the annual payments thereafter are 10% of the initial fee until the total fee is paid. Members who qualify as low-income (200% of poverty level) may make payments of 5% annually until the total fee is paid.
Annual dues, in an amount determined by the membership (currently $75), are assessed to members each fall. Non-payment of these dues means suspension of voting privileges and that a member will pay non-member rates when using the Center. Members who have volunteed at the center at least 12 hours in the previous year can pay a reduced dues rate of $50 the next year. Low-income (200% of poverty level) members can pay a reduced dues rate of $37.50 ($25 if they volunteer 12 hours). We also encouorage those that can afford it to pay the sustrainers rate of $150/year.
Contributions, which are tax-deductible, can be made to Circle Pines as a form of support for the cooperative. Many members also make advance deposits as a way to help maintain the Center.
Circle Pines also plays a part in the cooperative movement as a whole, a movement which encourages people to take more control in their lives through cooperation with one another [see More About Co-ops]. Becoming a member means supporting this movement and having a place in carrying on the work of the Center. Members commit themselves to making the Center more of what it was originally intended to be, an educational and recreational cooperative center. Other cooperatives have been created by Circle Pines members, including three groups that cooperatively own land adjoining the Circle Pines property, the Circle Pines Eighty, Knollwood Co-op, and DACCA (Detroit Area Cooperative Camping Association).