A co-op is a "community within the community".  Participation is the backbone of co-op living.  It is a means to reach goals that are important to co-op residents.  Through participation, it is possible to make the co-op democratic, spread the work of managing the co-op among members, save money, build community and give members a chance to learn new skills.

Ontario's Co-operative Corporations Act  says that co-ops are "representative democracies".  Members of a co-op do not have the sole responsibility for making ALL of the decisions about running the co-op.  They do, however, have the power to elect directors to the Board from amongst themselves, the membership, whom they hope will represent the views of the general membership of the co-op.  They also, by virtue of their membership, have the power to replace the Board of Directors or individuals on the Board if they are unhappy with the decisions that are being made.

Most co-ops feel that a co-op should be a "participatory democracy".  They believe that the best decisions are made when all of the people affected by an issue are consulted.  The more members that are involved, the better the chance that all sides of an argument or issue will be discussed.  Making decisions in this way also means that members are more likely to be satisfied with decisions that they have helped to make.  Each member has one vote on any issue that is put before the membership.  Therefore, it is easy to see why participating on a regular basis would enable a member to be able to make better-informed decisions and vote more intelligently.  It is a great way to have more control in what goes on with regard to your family's housing and the community you live in.

Drumlin Co-op currently has six running committees along with the Board of Directors.  Any member can run for the Board of Directors provided they meet the criteria set out in the Co-operative Corporations Act, or their co-op's bylaws.

Joining one of the committees provides members with the opportunity to build friendships, build a sense of security, share opportunities to learn and grow and share in the presence of the co-op in the larger community.  It also encourages members to help each other out as they become more familiar and friendly through sharing tasks, planning events and making community decisions together.

The MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE  is responsible for marketing the units of the Co-op.  They also oversee the interviewing of new members, the welcoming of new members and make recommendations to the Board of Directors on these issues.  Workshops are held periodically to help members learn skills for interviewing, etc.

The SANITATION COMMITTEE is responsible for monitoring garbage and garbage pickup at the co-op.  They are also responsible for the recycling bins.  This committee performs an important function as it helps to shape how the co-op appears from the outside.

The MAINTENANCE COMMITTEE oversees the day-to-day maintenance at the co-op.  This includes annual inspections, move-out inspections, and planning for regular maintenance.  The Maintenance Committee can be one of the most important factors in keeping operating costs down, as the work is done by co-op members instead of outside contractors where possible.  It also provides members the opportunity to learn valuable skills that can be used elsewhere.

The LANDSCAPING COMMITTEE oversees the groundskeeping at the co-op.  This includes community gardens and common areas, grass cutting, tree maintenance, and snow removal.  Drumlin has even had a Teen Landscaping Program, providing teens of a certain age group with work experience and the opportunity to become involved in the co-op as well.

The NEWSLETTER COMMITTEE  is responsible for putting out the co-op newsletter on a regular basis, helping to keep members informed as well as providing important tips and other information.

The SOCIAL COMMITTEE  oversees social functions for members and their children in the co-op, including children's parties, dances, family events, etc.  This committee is also responsible for a number of fundraising ventures in the co-op.

As you can see, there are many wonderful opportunities to become involved in the co-op, learn valuable skills and meet and socialize with other members from the co-op.  The possibilities are endless!

To see photos of some of the events and activities that take place at Drumlin, click here.