Tuesday, October 4, 2022

September 13 Meraki Meeting Notes; Next Meetings: Oct 11, Nov 15

 Present at meeting: John, Shelagh, Rudy, Lori, Mellen, Kari, Marion, Lilly, Deb

2023 Retreat (Shelagh) 

Shelagh, Rudy, Krista, Julie, and Lilly considering three venues: Ferry Beach, Pilgrim Lodge, and Wavus. Short story: If Wavus does not respond in another week or so, PCD will book Ferry Beach.

Ferry Beach (Rudy): A known entity, responsive, and more affordable
  • Rowland Hall (same building as before) has been upgraded with heat downstairs (but heat may rise to 2nd floor!); floor re-finished
  • April 14/15/16 (off-season…all to ourselves)*
  • $500 down payment
  • The food off-season is "healthy and clean,” but very limited in scope
  • They do have a registrar, but it may be better for PCD to arrange registration for better service/efficiency.
*After Meraki, 9.21.22, Rudy learned of a May (4/) 5/6/7 cancellation open to us, with the only caveat that there will be a small group there at that time using a side room in Roland Hall…with the following details:

Ferry Beach total Cost per person for retreat.
Dorm style Rm* (2 Nights): $40-160** 
Food*** (6 meals): $90 
Membership: $30…with alternative of PCD paying for a group membership
DJ Costs: TBD
Total: $160-$280 (not including DJ costs)
Minimum #: 25
$80 pre-recorded/$175 live per dance, usually with 4 dances

* There are a limited # of rooms available in heated cabins  hose are more expensive.  Details and links with pricing provided in previous eMail below.
** Majority of rooms have 2 bunk beds (4 beds).  Cost for 2 nights is $160, regardless of number of people  o sharing a room lowers individual cost.
*** Includes vegetarian option: vegetarian meal plan must be requested at registration.  To avoid food waste, vegetarian option only available to those who register for it.

Pilgrim Lodge (Lilly): Too pricey
  • desirable location on Lake Cobbosseecontee in West Gardiner
  • Dock & boats, but req. lifeguard for swimming ($100 per 2-hour block)
  • dates available before Jun/Jul/Aug
  • capacity: 65 or fewer
  • 10K for three days, plus food…so, estimate for 40 attendees: $250/pp for lodging = $150/pp for food = $400/pp…ouch!
  • sound system
  • (new-ish) large barn with a beautiful wooden floor

Wavus (Shelagh): Unresponsive
  • previous retreats there before educational-group requirement; that appears to have been lifted and all/any groups are acceptable for retreats now
  • very desirable location on Damariscotta Lake
  • docks, swimming, bunk rooms, camping
  • as yet unresponsive to communications

Search for 2023 dance venue (Lori)
  • gathering any additional considerations for new venues
    • neighbors/neighborhood regarding sound if openable windows
    • parking/access
    • bare feet
    • type of floor
    • Sunday morning!
    • Lori will update Google doc spreadsheet and invite people to contribute info they collect
  • new/old venue ideas
    • Westbrook Community Center (Kari)…Sunday morning gym full of basketball; dance studio space small and without any windows
    • Maplewood (Deb)
    • Odd Fellows @ Woodfords (Deb)
    • Masonic Lodge (Deb)
    • Woodford’s Club (Lori)…Shelagh dances there Thu nights; no noise issues, as dance hall is on the parking lot side, with the closest neighbor being the funeral home.
    • UNE Westbrook Campus (?)
    • St. Brigid’s on Steven’s Ave (?)
    • Christian School in S. Portland (Mellen)
    • Breakwater School (Mellen)
    • Grange Halls, e.g. Highland Lake (?)
    • Longfellow School (?)…in the midst of renovation, so not good timing!
    • synagogues!

Annual Membership Meeting (Mellen)
  • Zoom again, or do live, after a dance? The latter would most likely guarantee more attendance!
  • Meraki agreed on allocating 1 hour following the Nov. 20 dance for an in-person meeting!
  • Mellen to contact Ketcha to schedule that extra time (1:30  :30) and find out what if any additional fee; as soon as that is verified, a Save the Date email can be sent out to community.
  • Suggestions about the inclusion of food:
    • potluck, with BYOF if special diet
    • BYOF/bagged lunch
  • consider masking policy if indoors since there will likely be eating; if outdoors in the pavilion, get permission/help to unroll the walls if chilly

Recruitment for Officers and Board of Directors (Mellen)
  • Search committee for recruiting officers is the current roster of officers, so Mellen, John, and Lori
  • Deb submits herself as option for President.
  • Shelagh suggests making an announcement to the PCD community re: a call for nominations/volunteers for officers. 

Meraki Meetings
  • John will open Zoom meeting 10 minutes early so that socializing can happen before meeting
  • Future dates: October 11, November 15
  • In Oct & Nov, revisit masking policy

Sunday, August 28, 2022

August 9 Meraki Meeting Notes; Next meetings: September 13 & October 11

Meraki Attendees, Tue, Aug 9

- John B. (facilitator)
- Shelagh R. (ingatherer and vibechecker)
- Lori H. (notetaker)
- Blair F. (timekeeper)
- Rudy G.
- Mellen D.

  • valuable to continue hitting home the fact that PCD has bills to pay [maybe Rudy would be a great person to make this plea at closing circle, since his Retreat Committee plea was so successful!]
  • Mellen has changed the language in the announcement emails from “suggested donation” to “cover charge”
  • Lori has changed language on website landing page to just say “$10” and will change the language elsewhere to say “cover charge."
  • WIZ signage will need to also be updated.
  • There is some sense of hope that things are moving in a positive direction, given an influx of new and younger dancers.

Alternative PCDance Location

No update to date, but time was spent discussing…
  • fatigue of schlepping
  • relative high expense of Ketcha vs. challenges (storage and sometimes getting bumped)
  • could we raise money to build a shed? general consensus: concerns about security, environment, and pain in the bum still too great
  • might we have more leverage to bargain down the Ketcha price if we could commit to every week?
  • Shelagh wondered about the value and potential of at least opening a conversation with Thea and Tom about what is working for us (location and vibe) and what is not (being bumped, the occasional wi-fi issue, storage) in order to potentially negotiate a lower price?
  • Rudy suggested focusing more on growing the inputs (number of dancers) to increase income so that we wouldn’t feel pressured to find a less expensive place
  • Shelagh gave Ketcha her vote of support based upon the location and the ability to dance in or outside.
  • Ketcha costs $225/dance for rent + $175/dance for DJ + $1200/year for overhead
  • Waldorf costs $100/dance for rent + $175/dance for DJ + $1200/year for overhead, but also does NOT have storage, and NO LONGER lets us dance outside.

PCD 2023 Retreat

It was agreed that without an established and committed committee, continued conversation about a retreat is moot. Shelagh has stepped up to wrangle a committee together; she’ll reach out to Kiara and to Krista and Tyler ASAP (Rudy is available next week—the week of August 15—to liaise on-site if needed). Below is the info provided in the agenda, updated with additional details/questions/considerations brought up in tonight’s Meraki meeting in pink, followed by a list of (potential) people and roles for this event:
  • Ferry Beach Retreat & Conference Center, where PCD had its last retreat in 2019, was well-regarded by retreat attendees. Rudy Gabrielson has an ongoing relationship with the folks there, and has volunteered to liaise with them and retreat organizers.
  • At least as starting point: Fri pm through Sun lunch; 4 - 5 dances, warm enough weather to also do things outside; outdoor nature amenities
  • At closing circle on Sunday, 24 dancers (most of those present) raised their hands expressing interest in attending a retreat in 2023, and two also volunteered to help organize the retreat.
  • If we decide to use Ferry Beach:
    • Estimated cost: $80/night dorm room (can we assume that if the rooms still have bunk beds, people can share rooms for $40/night per person in a double?) + $45/day for meals (can we therefore assume $90/pp would cover Fri dinner, Sat 3 meals, Sun breakfast and lunch?) + share of 4/5 DJ’d dances ($175/dance). These assumptions would result in approximately $200 per person. [(2 x $40 room) + (2 x $45 food) + $30 DJ]
    • Minimum: 15 people attending for food reservations; maximum would have to do with date (whether we’re the only group there, and which space we’d be dancing in…to give a maximum dancer count)
    • Deposit: $500
    • Possible dates (May is fully booked AND spring church groups rent for full weekends, so reducing our time in order to reduce cost might put us at a booking disadvantage):
      • Apr 14 or 21; we'd need to share the space with another group
      • After Oct 15, could possibly have exclusive use; there is heat pump heat
      • Slots are filling up fast; the first order of business is to secure a date.
    • Other considerations:
      • As much as possible, we want this retreat to be self-funding, that is, to cover its costs through attendee registrations.
      • Can we get early pre-registration deposits to cover the facility deposit?
Committee Initiator: Shelagh…thank you!

Ferry Beach Liaison: Rudy

Possible committee members: Kiara, Tyler, Krista

Mellen to follow up directly with Shelagh in a week (August 16) to see how things are coming…and if people are coalescing.

Future Meraki Meetings: Sep 13 & Oct 11
(FYI: Blair will not be able to attend either of these.)

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

July 12 Meraki Meeting Notes; next meetings: August 9, September 13

Meraki (Portland Community Dance Steering Committee) met on Tuesday, July 12, 7-9PM on Zoom.

Attending: Lori H, Deb G (facilitator), Shelagh R, Eva G, Mellen D, Rebecca B, John B (notes)

When Can We Dance (Rudy/Rebecca):

  • Brief discussion of current state of the pandemic
  • Proposal: Keep status quo at Sunday Dance with masks required indoors, no vaccine requirement
  • Further proposed: Suspend the When Can We Dance committee
  • After a brief discussion, we agreed by consensus to keep masking status quo and suspend the Can We Dance committee, with reactivation as warranted depending on circumstances.

Alternate location update:

  • No movement; tabled

Equipment Road Crew update (John/Blair):

  • Blair and John continue to trade off every other week, but would like to invite other custodians.
  • The job entails: transporting the sound system after dance one Sunday dance, keeping it in a secure indoor location, and bringing it back early (9:30 AM) for the following Sunday dance.
  • Mellen/Jason/Deb discussed possibility of acting as backup.
  • John: We need to know that we can trust the custodian; perhaps rather than making an announcement, we should approach potential custodians.
  • We'll continue to discuss the possibility with individual PCD members.

Spring Retreat? (Rudy)

  • Rudy: If we want to use Ferry Beach, we need to know sooner than later for booking. Ferry Beach would nee: Minimum number of people, how many days, food requirements, etc.
  • John volunteered to reach out to Kiara to see if she has interest in organizing, and if so, to connect with Rudy on details.

Finances (John):

  • PCD's balance continues to slowly decline; we continue to need support from dancers to sustain PCD.
  • Suggestion: change Suggested $10 donation to a $10 cover charge
  • Eva: is it possible to donate? John: yes, by PayPal or Venmo
  • Proposal: someone to run around with the cash box at the end of dance. This idea was discarded as intrusive.
  • Proposal: make an announcement at closing circle that we continue to need your support with a declining buffer. John agreed to make the announcement.


  • Balance of $5,693.38 continues to decline. The buffer is covering roughly $100 of the cost of each dance.
  • Continue to highlight the need for support at greeting

Next meetings:

Tuesdays August 9, September 13, 7-9PM on Zoom; Link by email announcement.

Meeting adjourned early at 8:12 PM.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

June 14 Meraki Meeting notes; next meetings: July 12, August 9

Meraki (Portland Community Dance Steering Committee) met on Tuesday, June 14 2022, 7-9PM on Zoom.

Attending: Mellen D, Andrew P (timekeeper), Blair F, Kari P (facilitating), Jimmie P, Lilly N, Rebecca B, Shelagh R, John B (notes)

When Can We Dance:

  • Brief discussion of current state of the pandemic
  • Proposal: drop requirement for vaccination, allow all to dance indoors, masks still required (for now). Moving forward, monitor conditions and make any adjustments as warranted by developments.
  • Further proposed: Add verbiage to announcement about updated requirements
  • Briefly discussed the possibility of requiring testing results; rejected.
  • Proposal agreed: No vaccination or testing required; masks required for indoor dance; announcements will state current requirements.

Greeter protocols:

  • We don't want to require the greeter to man the greeter table the entire time.
  • Agreed: greeter can leave the greeter table at about 11AM

Wizengamot update:

  • Wizengamot (Operations Committee) have been resuming protocols developed before the pandemic: signage, "The Heartfelt No", greeter coordination, "who to talk to" at closing circle, and other items.
  • Recruitment: The Wiz currently consists of Blair, Kari, Jimmie, Lilly, and Lori, with Tim and Sunshine still "on the books" but not recently active.
  • The biggest logistics concern for Operations continues to be delivery, setup, and storage of the sound system. Blair and John are the 2 main "roadie" schleppers currently, with Jason filling in occasionally.
  • We discussed recruiting other trustworthy members with appropriate vehicle, lugging, and storage ability. Mellen expressed the possibility of hauling equipment and leaving in her vehicle, if she didn't have to do the lifting herself. Jason also believed to be a possible contributor. We discussed some other names as possibilities, and will consider who to reach out to and do so.

September special event?

  • This had been raised as a possibility previously because of the holes in the September schedule at Ketcha.
  • No one was at the meeting to advance this, and we've secured September dates (11th and 25th) at Maine Coast Waldorf School in Freeport.
  • So no special event planned for September

DJ Update

  • Pika is coming back into rotation, and there's discussion (and/or training?) with another new DJ, so DJ juice is picking up.
  • DJs are responsible to make other arrangements if they can't make their scheduled date according to the schedule in the private Facebook group.

Alternate location?

  • No movement since last time; tabled.


  • Balance of $5,693.38 continues to decline. The buffer is covering roughly $100 of the cost of each dance.
  • Continue to highlight the need for support at greeting

Next meetings:

Tuesdays July 12 & August 9, 7-9PM on Zoom

Meeting adjourned early at 8:12 PM.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

No Meraki Meeting May 10 because no quorum

At the scheduled meeting on May 10 2022, we didn't meet the required quorum of 6 PCD members, so the officers discussed a few items, but we didn't have a Meraki meeting.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Meraki Meeting Notes for April 12 2022; Next Meetings: May 10, June 14

Meraki (Portland Community Dance steering committee) met on Tuesday, April 12 2022, 7-9PM on Zoom.

Attending: Martin S., John B. (notetaker), Kiara A., Rudy G (vibe checker), Andrew P, Shelagh R (Facilitator), Deb G, Blair F, Jason A

Greeter coordinator:

  • Want to have community involvement with greeting
  • As Tim hasn't been at dance recently, we need a new greeter coordinator
  • Thanks to Lilly for greeting
  • Is she willing to pivot to the greeter coordinator?
  • Suggestion to attend to it soon
  • Blair volunteers to be point person, will reach out to Kari and Lilly

Ketcha update:

  • Since September is unavailable to us, can we maximize dances in August and October?
  • Think of alternate dance locations - table for next time?
  • Ask space people to check on doubling up dates in August & October
  • Perhaps we could do another special event in September?
  • Possibility: Ferry Beach? Kiara volunteer to organize; Rudy expressed interest in liasing with Ferry Beach as he and they are well-acquainted.

Kids at dance:

  • A situation occurred last time, where a dancer brought a young child to dance, causing multiple side discussions about how to handle it. We told her our ground rules for kids in attendance, but was she was allowed to stay anyway.
  • Some felt that she should have been asked to leave
  • There are good reasons for us having that boundary - the Board is liable for any mishaps.
  • How did this happen? There was ignorance of the "rule" in an initial contact.
  • Symptomatic of the greeter system non entirely intact.
  • In defense, we're getting our bearings back.
  • It happened, and reinforces the need for clear messaging.
  • Wiz requested to have a meeting, and possibly recruit new members before next Sunday dance.
  • Deb to check in with Mellen about age prominently displayed in messaging.
  • Blair will recruit new Wiz members
  • More generally, when things like that come up, how do we handle it, communicate with each other? Communication and decision-making felt clunky.
  • Before Covid, we had a system to identify people to talk to in case of an issue or concern: "talk to those people", but we haven't reinstated that.
  • Conclusion: Reinstate at closing circle: These are the folks to talk to.
  • Revisit next time with Wiz report

Can we Dance?

  • Discussed possible change in mask requirement.
  • Maine has one of the best vaccination rates, and hospitalization rates are way down. Infection rate not as important because of self-testing.
  • Increases with new BA.2 subvariant, causing concern. People are getting sick again.
  • Proposal: change policy: masks welcome, not required for indoor dancing. A few CWD members participated in an email thread that agreed with that proposal. (But the committee did not meet together as a group.)
  • Discussion about being more intentional about relaxing requirements re both masks and vaccination.
  • Concern for people with underlying health issues, etc.
  • Concern about alienating people.
  • Counter-proposal: hold the line as we are, request CWD to meet for next Meraki
  • Ambivalence felt about how to proceed.
  • Conclusion: As we didn't reach consensus, the status quo remains. Request that CWD committee meet, and we'll discuss more fully next time with CWD committee input/proposal.

DJ update:

  • Situation with DJs is as "sludgy as ever"; doubtful we could sustain a weekly dance.
  • Setup was glitchy last Sunday for a prerecorded set played on an iPad.
  • DJs to meet and report at next Meraki.


  • Balance as of 3/29/22: $6721.99. Our balance continues to drop as total donations are not covering costs.
  • Continue to highlight the need for support at greeting
  • John to publish the 2022 Q1 Finance report soon.

Next meetings:

Tuesdays May 10 and June 14, 7-9PM on Zoom

Tentative agenda topics for May 10:

  • Can We Dance update and proposal (Rudy delegate)
  • Wiz report: recruiting effort, greeter coordination, "who to talk to", other items (Blair)
  • September special event (Kiara, Rudy)
  • Alternate location update? (Jason, Kari, Lori)
  • DJ update (Mellen/Deb)
  • Finances (John)

Sunday, April 3, 2022

Meraki Meeting Notes for March 15 2022; Next meeting: April 12 2022

Present: John Boynton, Mellen D., Deb G, Jason A., Kari P., Parks Mc., Lori H.,Blair F., Rebecca B.

Dancer’s age: Unanimous decision- stick with our policy of no children (younger than 13) inside or out. Mellen will contact Marin to see if she is thinking about any occasional family events (outside) that we could promote.

Review of first indoor dance on March 13


  • Per Kari & Lori – smooth check in. No pushback on vax cards and masks.
  • Thea (from Ketcha) is coming to the next dance
  • Dancers were happy to be indoors together.
  • Outdoor access is a plus (for good weather)
  • Windows and views of outdoors were nice!
  • Brightness and openness


  • Outside greeter table: can it be indoors?
  • Need gatekeepers to catch late comers and ask for vax proof- table indoors makes that easier. (Rebecca, Mellen & Kari are open to doing this—we should recruit more to help to spread out the responsibility). Idea- have a list of times for “gatekeeping” at the greeter table for sign ups – ½ hour or 15 minute commitment (not decided)
  • Too much speaking on dance floor – need to remind dancers –
  • Bring signs from Avant with “rules of the road” re: talking, safety etc. (Blair to do)
  • Floor could be cleaner (though it was swept numerous times)
  • Sound: it was muddy and echo-y. Possible solution- reorient speakers to bounce off side wall.
  • 45 people counted and room felt quite full – concerns about future suitability as more dancers return.
  • Understand need for masks (for now) but it was “distancing” not to see faces.
  • Rebecca will contact Rudy about scheduling a Can We Dance committee meeting to discuss any changes to dance precautions.

Space discussion:

  • General sense- settle in to Ketcha space for now, but continue to look for larger space based on various concerns expressed.
  • Overall concern is that a minimum of $450 needs to be collected at each dance to cover expenses and the Ketcha space may not be large enough to allow enough dancers to bring in sufficient funds.

Agreed to:

  • Continue to look for larger space.
  • Jason is willing to informally look for space again, and to be the point person for any leads. Ketcha is 32’x64’, 2200 square feet.
  • John provided a link to the spaces that had been previously vetted to assist in this.

Finance update:

John: there has been a steady decline in income during covid. Balance is around $7K and some annual bills come due in the spring- insurance, web host, corporate registration. Current income and expenses are not sustainable. Reminder to Meraki of importance in keeping a reasonable balance in case of challenges (such as covid). Corrective action needs to be taken if balance goes below 7K. John will provide a quarterly financial report (Jan-Mar) for the next meeting.

Brainstorming on need for financial support:

  • Be explicit with dancers: state that minimum $450 needed to sustain dances (reality check)
  • Remind dancers at closing circle
  • Add text to weekly announcement
  • Explore yearly membership opportunity – pay all at once?
  • Make donation box more prominent
  • Can PCD be the recipient of an estate (yes, but not for tax deduction)
  • PCD is a 501 c4, (not a c3) and donations are not tax deductible, but anyone can make a gift to PCD.
  • Could do a dance fundraiser if needed
  • Have greeter(s) emphasize need for financial support


  • Many thanks to Lily for consistently greeting
  • But continue volunteer greeters because it builds community and helps with the more involved intake process of vax cards etc.
  • Emphasis on donations is needed


  • Mellen & Deb will gather the DJs to discuss future availability now that dances are indoors.
  • Mellen will contact Lisa (DJ for March 27) to update her on the indoor space.

Equipment Storage:

Still not resolved at Ketcha. Temporarily an informal equipment crew of John, Blair and Jason will work out storage between dances.

Items that arose for WIZ to handle:

  • Kari will call a meeting of WIZ members.
  • Location of greeter table inside
  • Securing gatekeepers to watch for new dancers after greeter table closes
  • Large sign needed on greeter table emphasizing vax proof
  • Post signs Blair will bring to next dance.

Questions about return to weekly dances. Decision depends on:

  • Suitable equipment storage
  • Available DJs

Upcoming dance dates:

  • Dates are set through August
  • No Sept dates are open! Later discussion needed for how to handle – are there evening dates open that might work? Or alternate location.
  • Kari and Thea will set definite dates through the winter for 2nd and 4th Sundays.

Next Meraki meetings:

Tuesday, April 12, 7 pm

Tuesday, May 10, 7 pm

Group was lukewarm on the idea of in-person Meraki meetings in the near future. Continue with zoom.

Submitted by:

Mellen Deschenes

Secretary, pro-tem