Membership FAQ

How does a person/family become a member?

Anyone seeking membership in CHLA needs to be nominated by a current member. The nominator needs to acquire three "seconding" letters that support the nomination. These need to be sent to the Secretary, and acted upon by the membership committee.

What are the requirements for membership?

A prospective member (nominee) needs to be at least eighteen years of age. Two individuals who "generally reside together" (i.e. married couples with or without children, couples living together) may be sponsored under one membership. The nominee must meet one of the following residency requirements: be a full time resident of Cornwall, own a dwelling in Cornwall for personal use, or physically occupy a dwelling in Cornwall for at least 60 days during the calendar year.

Who can nominate someone for membership?

Any member who has been a member for at least two years may nominate a person for membership. Emeritus Members and members of the Membership Committee may not nominate or second nominations for membership.

How many memberships can I sponsor?

There is no limit to the number of nominations a member can make. However, a member can nominate or second only one nominee per year.

What are the responsibilities of the Nominator?

The nominator must write a letter to the Secretary to officially nominate someone for membership. The nominator should arrange for three seconding letters, from three different memberships, to be sent to the Secretary. The nominator is also responsible for arranging an introduction of the nominee(s) to the chair and at least one other member of the Membership Committee. The nominator should also fill out and submit the nominator form.

What should be included in a nominating or seconding letter?

From Section 4.1 of the bylaws: "The nominating and seconding letters shall not be form letters and shall state the full name or names, addresses, and telephone numbers of the nominee, the length of time that the writer has known the nominee, and describe the nominee's family. The letter shall also explain how the nominee meets the requirements of membership, and shall explain why, in the opinion of the writer, the nominee is personally responsible and compatible with the membership of the association."

The address for CHLA is P.O. Box 293, West Cornwall, CT 06796.

Can I nominate my child?

A member, who is currently in good standing and has been a member for ten years, may nominate their child for membership. The nominating letter should be completed as described above. No seconding letters are required.

When is an "application" complete?

An application is complete when the nominating and seconding letters have been received by the Secretary. Please note: it is the responsibility of the nominator, not the Secretary or the nominee, to make sure that the application is complete.

What happens then?

The Secretary files completed applications in the order that they are received. The membership committee meets yearly, usually in May, and acts upon the applications. Upon approval, the new memberships are placed on the waiting list in the order they were received. Those approved for membership will be invited to join when a space becomes available, and provided they still meet the membership requirements.

Some suggestions that make the process go more smoothly:

  • Write letters that help the membership committee get to know the nominees.

  • Do not submit form letters.

  • It's easier if the nominator collects the letters and sends them in one packet-it cuts down on confusion, incomplete letter writing and rewriting, and applications that remain incomplete for long periods of time.

  • Fill out the nominator's information form. This ensures that you have submitted all the necessary information. Remember, the Secretary will need to track down the nominee in 5-10 years, so the more complete the information, the better.

  • You are under no obligation to nominate or second a nomination just because someone asks you to. If you don't know the applicant well enough to write a decent letter, or are uncomfortable about being asked to write a supporting letter, then don't! See if you can get someone else to do it instead.