Monthly EC Meeting

Saturday, 4 June 2016

14:00 CET

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 Six: An ACA group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the ACA name to any related facility or outside enterprise lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose


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:Iuno, Madrid, Spain

Michael, Ireland

Denis, Russia, Moscow Intergroup Rep.

Kadri Liisa,Estonia 

Linda, Latvia 

Hanna, Finland

Irena Norway

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.  Open Call regarding Translation/Literature:

Jeffrey: As per our email sent out prior to this call, the EC members report was removed from the agenda in lieu of a special “open call”. This call is a discussion and sharing of information in regards to ACA literature. How can we get literature in people’s hand as cheaply and effectively/easily as possible to how people have it in the US for English speakers as well as the problems of translation, proofreading, editing, and distribution for non-English speakers who are seeking literature. Is there anything you would like to add before we start Majbrit?

Majbrit: I think it’s important to talk about as well that we actually need more committee members. We need a secretary first and foremost. A secretary that has a good set of English skills and is able to compose a brief summary of the transcripts we get from these calls so we can post them on the repository. I think that maybe we should do it the other way around. Maybe we should talk translation first and how the procedure is very briefly. Because we’re deviating from the normal procedure to try and save money and try and speed up the process as well. So what do you think Jeffrey? Are you fine with that?

Jeffrey: I’m fine with that.

Majbrit: So, I’ve had numerous questions this past month from different fellowships in Europe who are saying what do we do when we have literature translated. What is the next step? And the next step is to proofread or check the literature in question. Normally we will send a PDF file to Robin who is our special worker, editor, liaison, and assistant, and she will then contact an agency, but we’ve started to move in another direction because it’s obvious, and I think I’ll let you take over here Jeffrey because you know more about that – it’s obvious it’s easier to have the book spot-checked to see if the translation is correct in the country the translation comes from. Isn’t that correct? 

Jeffrey: I think it’s interesting to maybe mention how we have been transitioning into a different way to approach foreign language literature, particularly in Europe for ACA. That’s because the EC has decided to step up and take an active role in this process, basically as Majbrit was saying, before the way we used to do it often was quite expensive and time consuming. A lot of it was done from the US and obviously when you’re dealing with a foreign language in the United States, it’s very foreign, it will be more expensive and more time consuming because people don’t have the same working experience with that. 

So everything was done there, proofreading, printing, shipping, etc., and then shipped back to the country it was translated from. Obviously that can work, but I don’t think it’s the most efficient and logical way to go about doing that. And so the EC in recent months has been stepping in to basically say “well we don’t think this is a very efficient way to do this, much less cost effective way to do it”, so what we proposed and what makes more sense is to have it proofread in country by people who are closer to the language or maybe the work that has been translated. After that we can send it back to Robin who is a special worker who handles the layout and what not, which is not a real problem. 

Technically you could have a graphic designer in country do it as well and there are some advantages to that, but there are some disadvantages. Unless they have worked with 12-step material before, unless they have laid all of that out, they won’t know it as intimately and as easily as Robin does. So that’s a give and take, I can see an argument for both sides, but at the end of the day it’s the WSO’s Intellectual Property and at that stage of the process it makes more sense to keep it in WSO hands back in the US. 

Once it’s laid out and final proofreading is done and sent back to the translators, the idea is to print in country or in region. By region, I mean it might also be possible or interesting to print in a neighboring country if it’s significantly cheaper. I’m thinking for example of Finland or Sweden to print something in one of the Baltic countries because I’ve heard a lot of their basic printing business has moved to these countries because they’re still in the EU and significantly cheaper to produce. 

So this is a really big shift that has only really happened in the last 6 months or so. In fact, we still haven’t printed anything abroad yet. We’re close to printing something in Finland or nearby Finland for the Finnish Yellow Work Book, so it looks like this will be the first to be printed. I’m just gathering the final specifications for that from Robin and will get together with the necessary people to figure out printing in Finland and a few in the Baltics. We have various recommendations and it’s all about seeing who has the best offer and what makes the most sense. So probably in the next month, hopefully sometime in June that will be sent to the printer and that will be the first thing printed in Europe.

Close on its heels is the Russian BRB. We’re compiling a shortlist of translators who can proofread the Russian BRB and I’ll get together with Dennis to discuss printers. Last but not least, we have the Greek meditation book, and I’ve been working with people in that region – lining up professional translations to do spot checking and proofreading of this Greek meditation group and then we’ll go through the same exercise of looking for a local printer to distribute it in Greece. This may seem like common sense to most of you on the call today, but when you keep in mind that the only people who were able to work on this sitting in the US, then it’s not unsurprising that it was always done that way.

As Majbrit said earlier in the call, we only get as far as we can helping the fellowship in Europe when we have other people to help contribute because it’s an all-volunteer process. Having said that, we’re also working on the possibility of hiring a special worker on a part time basis to help out with a lot of basic things we need. So that’s just a nice introduction into this big transition we’re going into. Before going into any more specifics about that, I’d like to open up the call for any questions. I don’t want this to be a monologue, so I would love to hear questions from people on things we haven’t addressed yet.

Iuno: We do have a translated version of the BRB and the 12 step book, but we know from the last meeting that there is someone translated into Spanish. So I don’t know if I should send all this stuff to Majbrit, maybe, by email and see what is going on. Because we don’t know why they’re making another translation if we already have one.

Majbrit: Let me pick up the ball here, because what has happened is that the Board, the past Board that was there, they gave out a lot of translation agreements but they didn’t follow through. So basically, when we started, when I started three years ago there was no overview of who was translating what. And yes, there is a Spanish translation, they’re doing with Spanish translation, they’re not translating again, what they’re doing is that they’re rectifying it so that people in Argentina, Mexico, and other Spanish speaking countries are able to use the same BRB. They’re well aware that there is a Spanish translation. But more to the point, if your fellowship is growing, it’d be very nice to hear if you have any interaction with AA and know where they are printing their literature in Spain. It’s kind of like a question of tomato and tomato because there is a Spanish translation and it needs to be proofread. It’s the same procedure as in any other country, the only difference is that we have six people working on the Spanish translation in the US trying to make the Spanish translation readable for every other Spanish speaking country. I don’t know what they need as I’m not that good at Spanish, but I do know there are things that variate from country to country. Iuno, what I would be able to do is to – if you send me an email on [email protected] and address the email Spanish Translation, I can put you in contact with Ines who is the chair of the Spanish translation committee in the US. I think you should figure out with her how you could help one another so that you could get your Spanish book. It’s already out there, I know that the workbook is finished, but I know they’re going over the last details of the BRB in the US to get it proofed. What do you think Jeffrey? If they have a Spanish translated finished BRB and they need it to get proofread, should it be proofread as any other European country?

Jeffrey: Yes, and no. We’ve never crossed this bridge before and the whole reason as I understand is the idea was to not create several versions of the BRB in Spanish that are more attuned to certain Spanish speaking countries, but to create an international Spanish version of ACA literature in the BRB. 

Majbrit: Yes, but in any case, this BRB should be submitted since it’s a piece of USA literature that has been translated. Therefore, the copyright is owned by the WSO. So the Spanish translation that they have made should be submitted to the Board. 

Jeffrey: Yes, but there needs to be a little bit more coordination in that as well. For example, Iuno, do you know if anyone who has translated your BRB in Spanish signed a translation agreement with the WSO?

Iuno: I actually don’t know, but what I can do is – I will call this morning my colleagues from ACA and send an email to you on this and AA printing places. I don’t know if they submitted this for proofreading because the person who did the translating is no longer part of ACA, he used to belong but is no longer here. I will search and look for this information and send an email to you. What I was wondering – what I was thinking is that maybe our translation would be helpful for Ines to use as a base to translate to this international Spanish translation.

Majbrit: I’m actually pretty sure that they have the Spanish translation and they’re working from that. I know that they’re not doing it from scratch, they’re going through the BRB that has been translated and going through it word for word. Let’s connect you to Ines and you can call and coordinate what it is that needs to be done. Larry who is our chairman is also Spanish speaking, so if there is going to be anything printed in Spain, it might even be able to go up on Amazon. For now, I know for sure the workbook is translated and finished.

Jeffrey: If I can make a suggestion, it would probably be better if we can understand everything about your situation in Spain before we do anything else.

Iuno: Yes, I’ll send out an email with all the information and from there you can tell me what are the steps we need to take.

Majbrit: Jeffrey, if Iuno sends you an email with all the information, I on the other hand will have a talk with Ines to hear from her what kind of Spanish translation they are working with, if they’re aware of the Spanish translation.

Jeffrey: Yes they may be, they may not be. A lot of these things need to be coordinated so that everyone involved in this process knows who’s on first, second, and third base. The other thing, as I understand, the International Spanish BRB is finished, but they’re largely at the stage of proofreading parts of it. I’ve been asked to find people to proofread it, but I asked which country should I look in to find people to proofread it. I’m not a native Spanish speaker, I don’t speak Spanish, I don’t know which country is the best to go to for international Spanish. Until I know where to go, it is difficult for me to do that, so maybe that’s something your contacts in Spain can help us with Iuno. I understand that this is taking some time, but it’s getting very close.

On the printing of any international Spanish literature, that’s still in question and it’s purely from a cost benefit analysis standpoint. For example, it may be more logical to print 1,000 BRB of international Spanish in the United states. If that means we have send X amount to Mexico, Spain, and other Spanish speaking countries in the world as opposed as trying to print smaller amounts in Spain, Mexico and so forth, we need to run the numbers to figure out where it makes more sense to print the actual books.

Majbrit: What would help, Iuno, is if we could get an overview of how big the fellowship is in Spain, how many meetings, groups, and how often they meet so we can assess the need for literature. Another question I have that is very important to me is if you have a Spanish translation, are you using those in meetings?

Juno: Yes we are.

Majbrit: Yep, you can’t do that. That’s a violation of the copyright. So I think we need to move very fast on that, because we don’t want them to do illegal stuff.

Iuno: Yes, I’m too new to this ACA group so I didn’t know this. I will get in contact with everyone and send you all this information you require and you tell me what to do and we’ll do that.

Majbrit: It’s very important that we get connected to you guys and have a resolution to this problem because we don’t want to make problems, but at the same time, the only way the WSO is making money to create new literature is by selling literature. That means we can’t violate the copyright. Let’s get this squared away and move this thing along.

Iuno: I’ll send an email to both you and Jeffrey so you have the same information and we can coordinate.

Majbrit: I know Linda texted me on Skype, she had some questions about translations.

Jeffrey: I have them in her email, I’ll go through them. “When we finish translating some literature and send them to the USA WSO, is the first print run ours?” That’s a good question because there is no exact policy defined yet. In fact, this whole transition that we are making now is creating the need to have a more clarified policy for ACA literature in foreign countries. Again, it’s something new and it was never really dealt with in the past because there wasn’t a need. With the current situation, we really need a unified literature policy. The current thinking is that basically, yes, once a translation has been checked to see that it’s a good translation and it’s been laid out and we identify a printer where we can print it in country or close by, when it comes to the actual first printing, what normally happens is that the fellowship gets a portion of the first print run at cost. I say portion because it will ultimately depend on the size of the fellowship and their need for how many books. For example, if it’s a small fellowship and the need is not so great, well obviously it’s not going to be that cheap to print 100 or 200 books as opposed to 500 books. So WSO might say, okay, it makes more sense for us to make an investment in 500 books and the local fellowship gets X number at cost and the rest the WSO will decide how to work with that. Maybe it’s an arrangement that we work with the local fellowship to sell and distribute on a consignment basis and that means for example, you pay the WSO a portion of the cost of that book when you sell it. Another possibility is that maybe WSO will do local distribution of the book at bookstores. I think that would be worth looking into as well. Finally, the thing to think about in terms of institutions, outreach, and hospitals, maybe a portion of that first print run could be donated as part of a spiritual investment to those institutions to reach out to people who maybe haven’t heard or need to hear the ACA message.

So, there is no hard and fast answer to that question, it’s a question of trying to figure out what works best for everyone’s interests.

Majbrit: I think in our plan to stock Amazon, we’re going to have foreign literature on Amazon on as well. So definitely a portion of the foreign translations would appear on amazon so foreign speakers in the states could read it in their native language there. Not right now, cause we’re just using what we have in stock, but in the future.

Jeffrey: There definitely is the possibility for that and in the future I suppose that would be one other outlet to consider. I think the main challenge and question always remains how can we move as many books as efficiently and cheaply as we can within the country the translated literature is intended for. 

So, on your other question “Do we gather funds from our fellowship, find where to print books and print them ourselves?” The answer to that is yes and no again. Basically, as I mentioned, if you will get a portion of the first print run at cost, then the local fellowship in that country needs to think about sales and distribution. I know these words don’t sound very spiritual, but it’s a fact of life. We’re all in the program, and need to pay for food, taxes, etc. Even the literature angle of ACA is meant to be affordable and accessible, and it certainly is in the US, but not so much outside of there. This is something the EC is working on. So the idea is that the local fellowship needs to, before we begin the local printing process obviously, needs to be thinking how do we sell these books, how do we collect money for them, where do we store them, how do we distribute them, obviously through the other meeting groups would be the most logical way. As far as printing goes, it’s a joint effort. We work with someone in country, and this goes back to the very beginning of the call, what Majbrit was saying, we need people to help out on the committee. We’re still looking for country representatives. If you want your piece of literature translated and printed for your country, we need a contact person to work with. That’s one of the first things the fellowship in your country should be stepping up and doing. You can only get support if we have someone to contact. Otherwise, we have no idea what’s happening. A normal business would keep track of information such as what books are being sold, how many people are out there using the products, etc, but since this is a pseudo-spiritual business, some of this information isn’t yet organized. It was always printing literature and making it available. Any other business would have this information readily available, and so we don’t know what really going on. We see all these meetings listed in the big database, but to tell you how many of them are still active is not something we can do. Only the people in that country will have a better idea of what’s going on. This is part of our big transition (WSO and ACA), we’re becoming a more professionally managed organization and that means understanding what kinds of commitments we have around the world.

So to answer your question, it’s a joint effort between the WSO represented by the EC and someone we can rely on as a country representative to help us make sure we can serve the fellowship in your country. Otherwise you’re going to go through same old system of sending an email to someone in the states who knows no idea about your situation and maybe nothing ever happens. That’s why we’re here in Europe, to be that contact, but it’s a two-way street. If you don’t step up, then you don’t get support. I apologize for getting emotional.

Linda: Can I be the contact person for Latvia? I feel like I am integral as someone who participates in these meetings. I can say, I want to do this. I want to report all information to you and you accept me? How does this work?

Majbrit: Linda, we’re not looking for someone to approve you in your own country because what you need to understand, and that’s all of you guys listening in, the European Committee decides who they’re working with. That person doesn’t necessarily have to be a chairperson or chosen by the Intergroup. It would be preferred, but if you’re not working with the Intergroup and you see you can offer something to the fellowship, you can go to them and tell them, well I’ve actually been calling in to the EC and have been working on getting literature out for our community, so maybe I should be literature chairperson for the intergroup. So I’m saying it’s a two-way street, you don’t have to have them elect you because first of all we need someone on the ground who can tell us what’s going on in your country. It also ties in, this is very important to understand, we are going from a distribution organization right now, we’re getting literature out to the members, we’re going from that organization to be a more spiritual board so that we will have special workers taking care of distribution of literature, and this ties in with if we need a special worker to help us on the EC, the more country reps we can tell the board of the WSO that we have in Europe, the more they can see our fundamental need to have a special worker help us. That’s all just to tie in that everything about this is money and it’s about working smart and saving money where we can and get the literature out to people as fast as possible. The more country representatives we have show up, the better for us, because as Jeffrey said, even though I’m the EC chair, I can’t keep up with 48 countries in Europe. I have no chance of knowing what’s going on unless people call in and tell us what’s going on. I’m done working 50 hours a week hunting down this information, we need people to step up and do this so we can efficiently help you. And I apologize for getting a bit emotional here as well, but this is part of our recovery, to take responsibility. When you step up and do service for your fellowship, that is responsibility on a higher level and this is what we need. 

Jeffrey: Linda, welcome aboard, you are now the EC country representative for Latvia. Just to let other people on the call know, because I think there are other people who have come on board or are very close to doing so, we have a special channel set up on a website called Slack. It’s kind of a communications platform which is kind of like a chat/upload document. A lot of companies are using it for internal communication instead of email. The EC of the WSO has their own channel set up on Slack and we will be in the coming days or in the week or so, it’s already set up, we will be inviting the country reps to get on to this communication platform because I think you’ll see it’s a great place to share a lot of information. It’ll also be a great place to network and share ideas with other country representatives and then other countries can gain insights from that.

Majbrit: A lot of talk evolving around people wanting American speakers to speak at the meetings and do shares at the meetings. In this platform, there is a general page on there for you to post your wish and see if some of the other ACA members want to help you and maybe even find a sponsor. This forum, slack is what we have now, but we’re trying to put up our own webpage for Europe, but until we get that up and running, it’s a pretty good place. It’s a safe place and there is a moderator who keeps an eye on the tone, so it’s a very useful page. You can even join some of the committees, but preferably, we’d like it if you join the EC. It’s a good place to start and we have our own private channel, it’s called slack.wso.com. Better yet, you’re supposed to write Jeffrey or me to get an invitation because it’s invitation only. Send Jeffrey or me an email. They’re in the newsletter.

Jeffrey: The WSO channel on slack has different channels, many of them are private. But as Majbrit mentioned, as soon as you are invited to the WSO EC private committee channel, you can then ask to join other open channels such as a new ACA international channel for ACA members outside of the US.

Majbrit: It’s kind of like Facebook, you need to make a profile, and then you’re on. Very user friendly.

Michael: In about five minutes, I have to drop out. Is there any information you wanted to ask me, and I also wanted to inquire about the update about the literature on amazon.co.uk.

Jeffrey: Okay, by the way, Michael is now our EC country representative for Ireland, so welcome aboard Michael. Regarding coordination with you, we will follow up with you by email in the coming days. As far as the amazon.uk update, as far as I understand, it’s all ready to go. We have 100 books of each getting ready to get shipped, there was some problem getting it all set up on Amazon – and I’m glad we’re finally getting set up on Amazon because for years people have been selling used books, ACA literature on Amazon at exorbitant prices and putting in erroneous information. All kinds of wrong information and this all had to be manually taken out and requested to Amazon to do so. We’re now very close to having this shipment out and I’m hoping that by the end of June it’ll be in the warehouse. And then we need to speak about your fellowship in Ireland and what else we can do for them.

Dennis: Hello, I have a comment to make about the connection and communication between countries and slack. I think slack is a great thing, but for me it is more like chat, online conversation. I have experience in Skype and group chat and it’s difficult to find information regarding specific topics in the archive of these chats, so I think in slack maybe the same thing. For me, it’s more comforting to exchange by email and my proposal to establish an email discussion group in google groups to communicate more offline and to find and archive specific topics. That way we don’t have to see all the chats at once. What do you think about that?

Majbrit: Can I suggest that when we have set up our own channel, we can actually upload documents and emails that have been sent out and those documents can be found in the same channel. What I propose is maybe do an hour where we work slack like a tutorial so that people can be taught. It’s very easy uploading – we can store 10gb of information per channel and that means we actually have an archive built in there. It will make it very easy. I’m just saying that right now I’ve got gmail as an account, godaddy, slack, and if I have to work yet another system…I can’t find time to learn about an even newer system. I don’t know, what do you think Jeffrey, of course we’ll use email as we usually do, but to send small quick messages, we can even use our conference calls to hold meetings…we’re not saying that we should substitute any of the things we do now with Slack, we’re just saying that people can use Slack to contact each other from other countries quickly and easy, especially the US. So, what do you think Jeffrey?

Jeffrey: I don’t have anything against looking at something on google groups at some point, but I think we have so many things we’re initiating and getting started and since slack is already up and running, this should be the business place for the EC to work with other committee members and representatives to share ideas, information and documents. It’s obviously not about the spiritual side, it’s all about practical logistics, printing, pricing, all of the practical organizational stuff. All of this will be handled by the EC on this channel because it will cut down on a lot of email traffic. As Majbrit was saying, Denis, we get a ton of emails from all over just related to the WSO on a global basis. Slack really helps to cut down on a lot of the traffic and we can find it easier on Slack. So, not against it, but I think one step at a time is the thing I’d mention.

So, looking at it, we’re at the top of the hour. So I think the smart thing to do at this point is ask if anyone has any more questions relating to this topic or something else.

Irena: I was wondering that this call was going to be recorded, is that right? Where can I find it?

Jeffrey: At the moment we don’t have an upload facility on the recording, but we make a transcript and put together minutes from that and then share it worldwide. We then upload it on the repository on adultchildren.org. That just takes a little while because we don’t have anyone volunteering to help do this work so we have to hire out special workers to do that and then we organize it into minutes. Obviously if we had a secretary, they would be charged with doing that. 

Irena: Thanks, that was very helpful.

Jeffrey: Would you be interested in being our country rep in Norway?

Irena: Sure thing, you can put me down as doing that. I can tell you about the activity in one sentence: We have four ACA groups in Oslo, and about four or five other ACA groups scattered in the country. We’re really small, but growing, and appreciate being part of the greater ACA community.

Majbrit: We can set up some time to have a Skype conversation to discuss what we’re planning on doing here in Europe?

Irena: That would be great.

Jeffrey: Before we close down, does anyone have a burning question?

Hanna: I would just like to ask which tri-folds you loading to the website. Do you know what I mean? Which one are you downloading to the website to use? (Where on the website do you find tri-folds to use?)

Jeffrey: You have to go to the international literature page and go to multi-lingual literature. Unfortunately, the only way to know if there is something new is to check manually. The position of the EC is to make all of the tri-folds for use outside of the US in A4 and freely available for download on the website, whether it’s adultchildren.org or our EC website. I’m in the process of putting together a proposal to do that. 

Dennis: I would like to make an announcement about the third ACA European Meeting in Moscow in September. I will be in touch with you Jeffrey and Majbrit about visas, transportation, and accommodation as well as workshops. I welcome all ACAs to Moscow in September.

Jeffrey: We apologize about not staying as in touch regarding printing and distribution, we will get in touch with you Denis soon. On that note, I think we can close the meeting.

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A motion to close the meeting was seconded, and the meeting was closed with the Serenity Prayer.