Gaea's Own

The Official Voice of Gaea Retreat Center

Executive Sessions and “How Do I Bring Something to the Board?”

In the last several years, one of the questions we are most often asked is why something is decided in executive session. Executive session has a few purposes:

  1. Investigations of reports of violations of the respect agreement that are held in executive session to protect both people being accused of inappropriate behavior as well as the people who have experienced inappropriate behavior.
  2. Personnel changes on the board.
  3. Long form conversation around issues that we’re discussing (because sometimes we have to talk about things for a long time to figure them out and then we go back over them when we’ve discussed in public meetings) or any private matter to be discussed among the board.

What do each of those look like? Respect agreement violations are discussed amongst the board. This is to protect witnesses and people involved in those issues. We typically get complaints about violations of the respect agreement at (but if you ever feel unsafe on land, please contact a member of the board, go to the Caretakers Cabin, find someone in an orange or green Gaea Safety shirt, or someone with a radio), and then we have people make formal statements.

Complaints are discussed. Once we have done that, we usually ask someone to please not return to camp until we have had a chance to discuss it with them. After an investigation, if we find that there was wrongdoing there is usually either a probationary period where we let people know that their behavior needs to change to be in alignment with the respect agreement (and further violations will result in further action), removal from a committee for lack of alignment with requirements, a year and a day ban (usually for repeated violations of the respect agreement,  assault or harassment), and permanent bans (for egregious violations).

If you ever need to report a safety concern or a respect agreement breech to the board, you may do so by filling out an incident report.

Personnel changes are usually to discuss potential interns, board members, and board members who will be leaving.

Finally, sometimes there is something that requires a long time to talk about, or confidential conversation that we need to have. We may need to sit and figure out all of the things we have to consider for a new idea, or something that continues to come up. Discussions can sometimes last hours – and they aren’t useful to put into an informative public meeting (it’s essentially a working session).

If you are ever interested in having an idea discussed during the board meetings, or you want to bring something up, do it! We’re excited to hear from you. You can send your ideas to (don’t be shocked if we ask you to come in to talk more about it – and possibly to help do it/run it if it’s possible).  We’ll put it on the agenda at the next available meeting with space in new business. We love having new people invested in the future of the land and this community.

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