What Are Community Agreements?
There is no one size fits all when it comes to community agreements. These mutually agreed upon accords help create a culture that allows conflict to be discussed and then put to the side while maintaining the sanctity of the community. They’re a set of expectations that each member of a community has agreed to abide by. Community agreements also make room for us to challenge our fellow community members, while leaving space for personal transformation and everyone’s own lived experiences.
How Do I Create Community Agreements?
To be honest, there’s no one way to write community agreements, fundamentally speaking the only thing that is required in this activity is that everyone agrees upon them (and everyone is respected). In fact, the most important part of community agreements is often the brainstorming part: when the entire group gets together to decide what’s most important. We’ve gathered a basic step-by-step guide that you can use to organize your own discussion of community agreements.
Think Of Who Makes Up Your Community
This step is pretty straight-forward: who is in your community? Your family, your teammates, peers, or coworkers? Knowing the relationship dynamics of your community can help in deciding what community agreements should be implemented and which aren’t relevant. For example, if your community is your family, you probably wouldn’t have the same community agreements with them as you would your professional coworkers.
Have An Open Discussion
The most important aspect of community agreements is that everyone feels like they’ve been heard. Gather your community together and have a frank discussion about what kinds of agreements would make them feel most respected as individuals. You could do this by having each person speak up individually, or split the community into groups to come up with one agreement per person. Each group would then present their community agreements, any duplicates would be removed, and a larger discussion can be had about what to include and what to exclude. As long as you end up with consensus-driven agreements, that’s what matters.
Display Your Agreements In A Public Space
Now comes the fun part: crafts. You Can use any variety of visual elements to illustrate your community agreements–so long as it’s able to be displayed in a public, communal area. Having your community agreements displayed for everyone to see helps keep them centered as a necessary element of your group’s dynamic, and it’s easy to turn to whenever tension erupts.
Community Agreements Help Maintain a Community
Think of community agreements as the overarching structure of your group. These accords allow for something objective to turn to in times of conflict or tension, and they’re guaranteed to uphold the behaviors that make every member of a community feel safe, supported, and respected. By crafting community agreements, you’re ensuring the longevity and productivity of your own community.