Special Consideration Due to Limiting Circumstances
Like all "churches" ADO reserves the right to refuse members for a variety of reasons, including (but not limited to) failure to meet the membership requirements and apparent incompatibility with our spiritual beliefs, tradition, customs, tenets, practices, and / or our member community. Ours is a working membership of life-long learners and dedicated spiritual practitioners. As such, we are each expected to actively explore, consistently practice, and regularly share our experiences of Avalon with others in our spiritual community. Also like other churches, we need to pay our bills. Since the funds from the Home Study are used to pay for providing the course and for basic ADO operating expenses, we are each expected to pitch in at ADO gatherings with helping hands and contributions toward minor expenses, such as supplies for meetings, training, and ceremony.
At the same time, if we are to remain true to the spirit of Avalon's root wisdoms as taught by the far ancestors, we must also keep Avalon as accessible as possible. This means that the Order must make reasonable accommodation for those facing special hardships in joining, while those facing hardships must make even greater efforts to meet the stated requirements and contribute substantially to the life of the community. We are not a wealthy Order. Though we hope one day to be able to assist the poor in paying necessary study/activity fees, and provide additional tutoring for those with disabilities, we haven't yet the numbers to support such efforts. Since we can neither waive fees nor exempt individuals from the need to learn the tenets of our spiritual faith and practice, we must all seek unique solutions if we are to meet these challenges.
The Disabled or "Challenged"
As a Druid Order we hold our spiritual work to the highest possible standards. As any real authority must be founded upon integrity, we must apply these standards equally to all. This means requiring the same basic, demonstrable knowledge and skills of each member, regardless of personal circumstance. However, "equally" need not mean "identically". We cannot waive basic member requirements, but we can try to reach an accommodation that will satisfy all of our needs. To qualify for special consideration due to disability, you must provide official documentation in support of your disability claim and be capable of learning and following the Tradition as set forth in our governing documents, in member publications, and as practiced by our Elders and Founder, regardless of any special challenges you may face. The form your special considerations will take shall be determined by the Elder Council based upon its evaluation of your specific circumstances. Therefore please have the authority substantiating your disability include a summary of your special needs. Your request will be reviewed and we will do what we can to accommodate you, if possible, based on the resources we have available to us at the time.
The Financially Disadvantaged
Financial disaster can strike even in the best economic times... and these are not the best of times. In the 20+ thousand years of her history, Avalon has never discriminated on the basis of income and we do not intend to begin now. It has not escaped our notice that "the common people" increasingly find themselves indentured servants struggling to pay for basic necessities. To the financially disadvantaged, three hundred dollars might just as well be three million. Both seem equally unattainable. If we are to avoid Avalon becoming an elitist "spiritual spa", we must find ways to span the ever-increasing gulf between rich and poor. At the same time... We do not believe in asking some members to make personal sacrifices while others do not, so we try to balance the scales by offering those suffering financial hardships a kind of Avalonian work study; the chance to work off the Aspirant or Services fee through community service. Every hour worked is assigned a numerical value commensurate with the average per-hour pay the task earns in the private sector. ('Pay' is calculated averaged from numbers published in government/research reports and may or may not match the wage paid in your area.) When you have earned the full amount of the fee you will receive whatever access and/or benefits for which your member status makes you eligible. Again, to qualify for special consideration you must provide current, official documentation in support of your claim of financial need. Depending upon ADO's current needs, the following "Work Study" options may be available to qualified candidates:
- Full Time (work off 100%, the full cost of enrolment)
- Half Time (pay 50%, work off 50%)
Those electing to pay 50% and work off the rest must state their intention to pay before receiving a full time assignment, and must pay the full 50% on the agreed upon date in order to qualify.
- You may pay your Home Study or Novitiate enrolment in three consecutive installments of $100 USD each provided you have first met all other application requirements and received written confirmation from ADO that your request for special consideration has been approved.
- As an Aspirant, you will not be afforded a tutor or access to additional cyber resources until receipt of the final payment. Upon completing payment you will be automatically assigned the next available tutor for the current course is full or if the course is already underway at the time payment is completed, the next place on the waiting list.
- As a Lifetime Member, you will not receive access to additional cyber resources, members training books or coursework until receipt of the final payment.
Work is assigned based on the Order's present need. Work assigned may or may not be in your area of expertise or preference. If there is no present need we may not be able to offer you any assignment at all. In order to qualify toward payment of your Fee, assigned work must be completed on time and to an acceptable standard of quality. If the quality of your work is considered unacceptable, you will receive a warning. After three warnings, your special consideration will be terminated and your request for enrolment (or re-enrolment) will be refused. A current ADO member will be assigned to monitor your work and provide you with regular feedback on your progress. In Avalon, each party to an agreement makes a real commitment to the other. If your request for special financial consideration is granted, ADO immediately commits extra time and resources to accommodate you. Once your fee is paid, you will receive whatever additional access and benefits apply, given your member status. Regrets, but no refunds or reimbursements will be given for failure to fulfill the terms of such Agreements, for early withdrawals, or for Council refusal or termination of Lifetime Memberships. Coursework deadlines will not be extended based upon financial need. If such an arrangement seems unfair to you, please reconsider your plans to apply. There are many differences between the values, customs, and philosophies of the ancient and modern worlds. Many assumptions we may make in modern life are invalid or irrelevant to life in a traditional community. We must each come to peace with this fact and be willing and able to adapt if we are to enjoy our experience of life on Avalon's Druid Way.
Deferral of Payment:
All Aspirants have the option to defer payment until such time as they are invited to enrol in the Druid Novitiate, provided that they are willing to accept slightly reduced support services and access to online services. There are two reasons for this reduction in services:
- Our community functions on a "quid pro quo" basis: You only get back in proportion to what you give. Aspirants who pay the fee help to maintain cyber services (equipment, annual web hosting and other services fees, etc.) which cost money to provide to members; therefore they receive greater access to these services.
- Providing additional services means more administrative work for our Core Members, and frankly, if we're going to volunteer even more time on office work we want something more tangible in exchange than promises that someday our efforts will be rewarded. We need the energy we expend to make our community a livelier, more exciting place, day by day, choice by choice. The more time we spend actually participating in our community, the likelier that is to happen. So as disappointing as it may seem, if this community is to survive and thrive we simply can't afford to give more than we recieve.
We trust you will understand this necessity.
Required Documentation for Work Study
- Medical Claims must be substantiated by providing a summary of the specific limitations imposed by your condition as attested in writing by a medical doctor and/or your assigned government case worker. Please do not send us your medical history or records; a notarized, signed, dated letter by your doctor or case worker on official letterhead will amply satisfy this requirement.
- Financial Need Claims must be substantiated by providing a copy of your current filed income tax return, expense records, and a certified report (with SSN, DLN, bank or other account numbers deleted or obscured) from your case worker or other civil authority of any additional assistance you are receiving. Your total net income must meet the current US Federal definition of "poverty level" in order to receive special consideration.
Requests that do not meet these requirements will be refused. ADO retains the right to refuse applicants who appear to us to be unable or unwilling to meet basic member requirements, or who present falsified substantiating documents.
Disclaimer of Obligation
ADO is not obliged to extend special consideration to applicants who are disadvantaged. Should the number of requests exceed our ability to provide sufficient administrative oversight to ensure a fair process for all, ADO reserves the right to postpone or refuse new requests, or to cease offering special considerations altogether. Such decisions shall be made at the sole discretion of the ADO Great Council (Elder Council and Band of Guardians) and may be implemented at any time, with or without advance warning. In applying for membership and/or special consideration, you consent unconditionally to accept these terms.
How to Apply
To apply for Special Consideration, please send the requested documentation along with your completed Member Application form(s) to:
Avalon Druid Order (ADO)
PO Box 62151, Ft Myers, FL 33906 USA
ATTN: Request for Special Consideration / (note "D" for disability or "F" for financial need)
Once your request is received it will be reviewed by the Band of Guardians and decided based on the merits of the information you have provided. The Members Registrar will be notified when a decision is reached and will notify you as soon as possible.
Whatever your challenges, we urge you to consider (y)our circumstances according to the views of the Tradition you are considering joining. The ancestors defined everyone as different but equal, and saw each person as facing unique challenges. Since each of us thinks our own trials the most challenging, who is to say which challenges (physical, emotional, psychological, or spiritual) are greatest? The ancients believed that everyone had something valuable to contribute and demanded that each person reciprocate for what they received. As they believed, so we believe. From a purely practical perspective, requiring that everyone contribute an equal share of work for an equal share of resources was necessary to ensure the community's survival -- and it remains just as necessary to our survival today. Time is not a renewable resource. Even energy and compassion, when tapped too far, may be tapped dry. When we take these resources from the communal fund we need to give something of equal value to everyone back, otherwise the well is soon tapped dry and the oasis of community becomes a mirage. The ancestors also conceded the point that, personal ambitions aside, not all people were suited to all roles in the community -- and if our community is to function, we must make the same concession. We learn our true limitations by striving against our perceived limitations until we reach a point where we can go no further. Whatever our limitations are they are always a disappointment to us, but the Wise look for the lessons hidden within the limitations. In ADO, we believe that before birth we each help to negotiate the terms and conditions that will define our lives. These boundaries are serve our true purpose by confining us to the areas of endeavour we've been born to undertake. Obviously we cannot prove this assertion, but neither can it be proved that we are all simply victims of fate. We realise this view is offensive to some people, but given the choice, are we not happier striving to fulfill a meaningful mission in life, than resigning ourselves to being the hapless victims of fate? This is our belief. Everything happens for a reason, and those reasons are meant to help our souls learn and grow. The soul learns differently from the brain; its lessons are harder, but they endure forever, and each of us ultimately faces all of them. This is your time to face this lesson. How do you choose to meet it?
Again, thank you for your interest in ADO. We look forward to hearing from you.