Sharing ideas, challenges, and solutions
ROC-2-ROC spreads expertise throughout N.H.’s resident-owned communities
ROC-NH’s community trainers are fond of telling co-op residents: “You’re the experts.”
Believe it. The volunteer leaders of resident-owned communities (ROCs) across the state grapple with many similar challenges and ﬁnd creative solutions.
Sharing those solutions is another challenge. There has been no place for them to regularly connect and collaborate.
Watch a video about ROC-2-ROC
Last fall, eight ROC leaders met to discuss what co-ops need, and how they can support one another. From that meeting came ROC-2-ROC, an initiative focused on engaging residents through peer-to-peer learning, problem solving, and community building.
Kim Capen of Medvil Co-op in Goffstown is one of the organizers. “Collectively we can be teachers, students, and cheerleaders for each other,” he said. “I see ROC-2-ROC as the conduit to creating a better experience for cooperative leaders and a better life for all ROC residents.”
The group got right to work. At the State House this spring, members delivered persuasive testimony and transformed a bill that threatened the ROC movement, and others published letters to their local newspapers.
ROC-2-ROC members attended an advocacy training in April, then sponsored a July workshop on building community. This fall, members reviewed nominations for, and presented awards to, outstanding and unsung ROC volunteers at ROC-NH’s conference.
David Kirsch, president of the year-old Brookside Co-op in Hill, says new co-ops will beneﬁt from the information sharing. “There is so much to learn as we face issues that other, more mature, ROCs have already faced. I hope to draw on that knowledge and, as my ROC matures, share what we’ve learned with other ROCs.”
Pamela Rothgaber of Friendship Drive Coop in Salem has a clear vision of ROC-2-ROC’s future: “To present ROCs as a united front, a force to preserve this way of life.”
Comprehensive trainings help ROCs succeed
Our ROC-NH team’s assistance to manufactured-home cooperatives, partially funded by donations, begins before the co-op is even formed and lasts until a community no longer needs it. Last year we provided more than 20,500 service hours.
Our ROC-NH team helps residents through the process of deciding whether to buy their parks, starting with forming a cooperative corporation and learning their options under state law, through electing a board of directors, hiring experts to evaluate the park’s condition, evaluating the price and financing options, then voting on
That’s the beginning, not the end, of our support.
ROC-NH staff provide guidance to co-op members and board members in a variety of ways, including “boot camps” for new co-ops, informal phone or email conversations, attending meetings, and presenting workshops, to name a few.
Each cooperative is assigned a ROC-NH technical advisor to help it with all areas of co-op management and living, from financial analysis and monitoring to developing policies, procedures and rules, to legal compliance.
This article was published in the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund’s 2022 annual report.