Monthly EC Meeting
Saturday 2 April 2016
Please notify the secretary at [email protected] with changes, additions, or motions for this meeting.
A. Call to Order: Please be sure that any background noises in your area are eliminated since the sounds make it difficult for participants to hear. When speaking, please say your name first. This will help us record your name with your input. Thank you.
1) Open with the Serenity Prayer
2) Tradition Four: Each group is autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or ACA as a whole. We cooperate with all other 12 step programs.
B. Roll Call of European Countries: Majbrit, Denmark, WSO Vice Chair/European Chair;
Jeffrey, Prague, Czech Republic, EU Finance and Literature
Sub-Committee Chair/WSO Board Trustee;
C. Establish Quorum
D. Guests:Michael, Ireland
Denis, Russia, Moscow, Intergroup ACA Rep.
Dima, Russia, Assisting Dennis with English
Blanka G. Madrid, Spain (Joined during New Business)
Non-committee members are welcome to listen to this teleconference but are requested to remain silent unless asked to participate. We respectfully request that guests hold their comments until the end of the meeting. If someone needs to talk further, they may do so after the end of the meeting.
E. EC Members Reports:
Jeffrey: Majbrit, tell us about some of the preparations for the annual business conference in Florida. Maybe also mention the event you’re going to in the Netherlands in about a week and anything else that’s new going on around Europe.
Majbrit: It’s been a very busy month preparing for the Annual Business Conference in Florida, but also there are a lot of things going on in Europe. Next weekend, they’re having a second annual ACA day in the Netherlands. The theme is “Play and learn and grow together.” That is on Saturday the 9th of April. It’s in Eindhoven. The flyer can be seen at the WSO webpage under “what’s new” or “events.” I’ve been talking with a lot of members this past month concerned from translations? As I told many of the members, we’re trying to establish a foundation so that we could move into more fulfillment here in Europe. I’ll let Jeffery go into that. I think I’ve had about 25 calls this month from members and new members that have called me here on Skype. It’s getting to be a bit much. That’s mine, I have to learn to say no and establish a healthy boundary. I’m extremely happy that everything is going fast and that people know there is an EU connection that actually wants to work for a service structure here in Europe. That has taken a long time for people to know I was here. My ABC report is going to be posted after this teleconference call. The report that I’m to give at the ABC. Other than that, I haven’t made another report. What’s going on now is that we’re trying to look into shipping and fulfillment and trying to get people to connect with us and be our ears and eyes in their respective countries. It’s the only way we can get to know what fellowships are looking for on a personal level for support, guidance, making new meetings, and things like that.
Jeffrey: Hello, I’m Jeffrey, I’m from Prague. I’m the chair of the finance and literature sub-committees on the European Committee. I was recently elected to the board of trustees for the WSO. I’ll be in Florida for the ABC and presenting our first European Committee plan at that time. We’ve very busy with ABC preparation. As people start to do more and get more organized, we get more work as well, but we’re getting there. I’m busy with budget for the EC to present to the ABC. As I mentioned in previous calls, it will include for the first time ever an analysis of what Europe contributes to the WSO. That includes literature sales across Europe, broken down by country. That includes electronic downloads as well as hard copies as well as 7th Tradition contributions. I have a complete list for all of the cities in Europe and all of their 7th Tradition contributions on a monthly basis from the year 2015. I will organize it by city and country. Everyone will be able to see what Europe is contributing. If your city isn’t listed, then you might want to think about why you aren’t doing it. You’ll notice Prague isn’t there. That’s because we’re tiny and we’re only starting to get organized in that sense. I recently started learning about how this works and I think other smaller groups are in the same situation. Also worth mentioning is financial considerations regarding literature outside the US. The two ways to look at this are actually getting the literature – and as mentioned, we’re working on getting English language literature in Amazon to get sold on amazon.co.uk. There are various countries across Europe that have been ordering from the US. We plan on having 200 books each: Big Red Book, Laundry List Workbook, Meditation Book, and Yellow Workbook, into the Amazon warehouse sometime in April. That should be helpful for anyone ordering literature in English language from the US. The other thing is on translating and checking translation and printing the translation of literature in local language. I’ll move into that as literature sub-committee business. One of the biggest projects at the moment is the Russian BRB which has been translated recently. Congratulations to them and the translation group being led by Nastia in St. Petersburg. We are now at the stage where we need to check the translation. Once that’s done, we’ll lay it out and send it to a printer. This involves two things. Originally the WSO was going to use an agency in the US, but after looking into, I raised the possibility of having the Russian BRB checked by an agency in Russia much like the printing. They can certainly do a good if not better job and it should be cheaper since it’s in country. They agreed with the suggestion. Dennis, that’s one of the main reasons I haven’t been in touch with you about printing the book as these two things will run concurrent. I’ll follow-up with you in the next few days, and Nastia as well. The original idea was to print the Russian BRB in the US as is normally done, but obviously the economic situation has changed a lot in Russia in recent years. That would make it very expensive, mostly due to shipping costs. So we’re looking into having it printed in Russia. That is a question of finding a good vendor that is trustworthy and is printing other 12 step publications. I’m sure we’ll be able to print the BRB in Russia in Russian. It’s about planning, organizing, putting things in place that have never been done before outside the US. As we get on to new business we want to bring up, we’ll be talking about what Majbrit already mentioned: other service, other members in the fellowship who would like to do service in the EC.
F. Old Business:
A motion was made to table old business since the minutes from the March meeting were unavailable at the time. It was seconded and passed.
G. New Business:
New Business is in regards to service opportunities on the European Committee. A preview of opportunities once the plan is approved by the WSO
Jeffrey: Basically, we have two things in mind. We would very much like to have a new secretary for the EC that likes to write, has good English, and would like to put together the minutes from the meetings we record. Other things we need are various reports put together and we would very much appreciate someone from the fellowship in Europe come forward and take over the position. I’m trying to do that while we fill the role. We’ll put together a job description after the ABC so everyone is clear on the expectations. We’d rather suffer a little while longer without someone before someone comes on board and then they leave because the job requirements change. We also want to have our own website or more webpages on the ACA web page, it’ll be quicker, easier, and cheaper to put together and give us more flexibility. Once we have that, we will be in a position to have someone take charge of that. We’ll have a job description put together for that.
Majbrit: One of the main reasons why I think we ought to have a website of our own is to make a database for people to sign up for a newsletter. Also, we’ll be able to allow members across borders to communicate. This we discussed earlier, correct?
Jeffrey: Yes, absolutely, I completely agree. We’ll be using a database plugin like Mailchimp, but that is something we can plug into our new website. Also having a password protected login area where members who want to can join that space and make connections with each other. Whether that’s to create sponsorship relationships or best practices. There is a great need to connect more fellowships across Europe and giving access to those tools makes it easier. We also very much need, it’s not actual committee positions, more like advisory roles, but country representatives. Once we get our plan in place, we need a trusted representative in each country where meetings go on. This person works with the European Committee as its ambassador. They’ll be the main contact for the EC and every fellowship in that country. We need to gather information like how many meetings are going on in each country, where are things at in terms of translating literature locally, how can we help and promote, there all kinds of things we can find out about and be communicating about on a larger basis. If nothing more, putting together a short summary like a bi-annual report that explains what the fellowship looks like in a particular country so anyone who wants to see what the fellowship looks like in a country can see a “country report” (how many meetings, how long we’ve been in session, status in terms of local translations), everything someone could possibly want to know. All this needs to be gathered and the best person to do it is this ambassador position we’re seeking to create. For everyone listening, this would be a great way to do service and get involved with the fellowship. So that’s pretty much it in terms of new business. Majbrit, is there anything you’d like to add?
Majbrit: We’ve talked about adding the local web page to our webpage that way people can go in and see if there is an ACA meeting nearby. We should have the meeting contacts linked up to the EU website so that no matter where you go, it’s easy to find a meeting. It should also be easier to change information on our webpage rather than waiting four weeks.
Jeffrey: I completely agree and we may even want to move to a system where local meetings can register their own meetings and it will be live instantly through a password protected area [on our own page]. I agree we should link every piece of information to the main ACA page as well.
Majbrit: I’ve experienced that the way we perceive time here in Europe has been confusing to the Americans on when to figure out when the meetings are.
Jeffrey: Okay, that ends new business. At this point we can open up the call for guest comments unless there is anything else you’d like to add Majbrit?
H. Guest Comments (Open Call)
Tina: Majbrit, how can I connect to you in case there are any questions in between European conference calls or is there anyone else I can connect to? Can I invite people to come to the conference calls as a guest listener if they’re interested?
Majbrit: I can be reached at my e-mail, [email protected]. I can be reached there. Inviting people to join the conference who would like to do service or listen in would be great.
Jeffrey: Absolutely. Once we have our own webpage it will be easier to interact with them. That includes our plans to release a monthly newsletter. The country representatives will be able to connect and inform people through that as well.
Desiree: I’m hoping to finalize the contracts for translation by ACA day in the Netherlands.
Majbrit: If you have them ready by that day, I can bring them to the US instead of you having to send them by post.
Desiree: Let’s talk about it then. I hope you tell something about the translations so people get more enthusiastic on translating into Dutch.
Majbrit: I’ve been in touch with Mary. I promise to do a short speech on doing service and about how we’re doing the translations in other languages. I’m aware of the importance of getting these things started well. We’ll talk all day Friday if you’re there. Mary has the information otherwise.
Michael: Thanks for organizing the books on amazon.co.uk. It will reduce the cost to our group by quite a bit. Also, what is expected for 7th Tradition contributions to the head office. I’m unfamiliar with that.
Jeffrey: Before I address your question, do you get any kind of special shipping discount in Ireland from Amazon for bulk orders like in the US? Is anything like that offered there?
Michael: It’s small. If over 25 GBP, it’s free shipping. Shipping things from out of the UK to Ireland, it usually costs more. There are reductions for certain amounts. Maybe free if it’s 10 GBP within the UK for certain items.
Jeffrey: Okay, thanks. So regarding your question: My situation is maybe not too different from others. We never had much connection with the WSO, we met and did our own thing. As a result of that, our 7th Tradition contributions got saved up for rent and other things. We weren’t aware of how you should donate leftover funds to the WSO in the US for the support they provide to the ACA fellowship worldwide. The book creation and paid staffing was financed by ACA contributions. There is a page on the ACA website where you can see a listing of everywhere around the world on who is giving 7th Tradition contributions. They get the most from US, but everyone should try to keep a reserve to donate back to the WSO. Monthly, quarterly, or annually, it’s up to the group. To help this, I think we need to make available in Europe a tri-fold called “Suggested ACA banking and accounting procedure”. It’s very informative and talks about the service structure and commitment. Not a lot of people know how this works and I think it’s helpful to circulate this information.
Majbrit: All of this information is actually in the BRB as well in the III section. It explains all the information contained in the pamphlet on service in the WSO.
Dennis: Last month I spent more time researching and collecting information from other 12 step fellowships on how they print books in Russia and how they deal with world office of their communities in regards to legal agreements for translations, printing, and distribution. I plan to continue working on this throughout April and May. I also connected with people from publishing houses in Russia. I collected information on costs for printing and legal information. I also connected with the St. Petersburg Intergroup. They are currently struggling with only two members and two representatives from the group. They elected an interim secretary and treasurer and plan to invite more members and guests and reps from ACA St. Petersburg group to help fill service positions. They agree with my proposal to establish a Russian regional service committee, or at least worth discussing more. By the end of April St. Petersburg fellowship will come together to discuss all the issues. They’ll have a conference call with the Moscow intergroup to discuss a Russian Service Organization.
Jeffery: Dennis, I will try to get you a template that you can use to ask questions to publishers and distributors to help make your work easier. This checklist will be something that other groups can also use for literature in their own countries and will be comprehensive enough to satisfy the WSO board that it’s safe and legal to do these activities outside the US.
Dennis: What about printing the BRB in Denmark?
Jeffrey: We are looking into the possibility of setting up local printing of the BRB in Denmark through a publisher that is similar to Amazon. It would be print on demand. The cost would be about the same or more using this method, but it would have the advantage of being more convenient time wise.
Majbrit: I’ve had difficulties getting other 12 step groups to communicate with me in regards to publishing here in Denmark. I’m still waiting for people to get back to me. It should be noted that if the WSO find a local printer, it’s important it (the web page) has an English web page so Robin (our special worker) can set it up.
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Announcements: The next EC Teleconference is scheduled for Saturday 7 May 2016 at 14:00 CET.
A motion to close the meeting was seconded, and the meeting was closed with the Serenity Prayer.