I had been lax and not read the communications. The Quality Assurance Team's posting below is on the Global Forum:
"Basic Members are not excluded, but are granted a free trial to attend an Activity created for one of our Activity Groups. That way you have the chance to decide whether or not you would like to become an Albatross Member and join in.
Furthermore, Group Consuls (the leaders of the Activity Groups) receive a free Albatross Membership in recognition of their service to the community.
Therefore, a Basic Member who wishes to become more involved in his or her community by organizing get-togethers now not only has an avenue to do so (by starting an Activity Group), but even receives a free Albatross Membership."