[hackerspaces] Members under 18

Ben Brown ben at generik.ca
Fri Nov 7 16:16:02 CET 2014

We still vet any new members so the worry that we'd let an immature teen
become a member was about the same as an immature adult. That said, we
have done the latter before.

The main barrier in our space was about insurance as we didn't want to
upset that apple cart. After our broker assured us that there was
basically no distinction between teens and adults as far as our policy
goes (and reminded us our insurance also covers us on public events
involving even younger minors), we decided to lower the barrier to 16.
We've always operated with the idea that if there was a serious accident
where insurance had to step in, we'd likely be forced into closing our
doors anyway.

Since then we've had some additional interest from teens, and our
youngest member was 17 when they joined. The only thing an under-aged
member can't do is become a director, but that's dictated by provincial
law as opposed to our own rules.


On 11/6/2014 7:19 PM, Pete Prodoehl wrote:
> Our space is currently in a discussion about allowing people under 18
> (16 & 17 year olds) to become members.
> We've got some people who are against it because it would "ruin" their
> favorite hangout space, or make them uncomfortable in some way.
> We've got some people who are convinced that the legal/insurance
> aspects will cause us to lose our insurance policy and have to shut down.
> We have some that think that while we can trust an 18 year old, a 17
> year old is in no way to be trusted and will do completely stupid shit.
> We've even discussed specific rules for 16 & 17 year olds, which would
> be much more limiting than members 18 or older. (They would need to
> have a family member as a member, not be allowed in the space without
> the family member that is a member, etc.)
> Anyway, I'm sure there are spaces that allow people under 18 to be
> members, or guests that can use equipment, etc. and I'm looking for
> real cases especially if you've got an insurance policy that addresses
> minors.
> thanks!
> Pete
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