European Committee Minutes of May 2016

Minutes

Monthly EC Meeting

Saturday, 7 May 2016

14:00 CET

Please notify the secretary at EU-Secretary@adultchildren.org 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 Five: Each group has but one primary purpose, to carry its message to the adult child who suffers.

 

B.  Roll Call of European Countries:  Jeffrey, Prague, Czech Republic, EU Finance and Literature 

Sub-Committee Chair/WSO Board Trustee;

Majbrit, Denmark, WSO Vice Chair/European Chair;

                                                           

C.  Establish Quorum

D. Guests:Iune, Spain

Linda, Latvia

Desiree, Netherlands

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, can you start us off by telling us what’s new since the last call from your perspective?

Majbrit: I had a wonderful time at the ACA event in Holland. There were a lot of workshops and meetings and we socialized. I got a very big impression of how the fellowship is working and also talked and worked with the Intergroup preparing for the event. It validates why we have a European Committee, because I think this is one of the things we need to do, connect with the fellowship. Also, I’ve been in touch this month with Russia, Italy, Switzerland, Greece, the Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, and Denmark. Some of the most common questions are “how do I get ahold of a sponsor?” and “how can we participate in literature?” All in all, usual ACA questions, and I’m answering those and I’m keeping in touch with those people to support them in their endeavor of finding what they need. Also, we went to Florida for the ABC and the first ACA convention. It was completely different because normally it’s three days of hard work inside a room with all the delegates. This year we had workshops in-between, there were meetings, there were shares, and all along, we were in a venue where we were all together. From 100-250 people. It was really, really nice. It was a tough weekend, but in a lot of sense, the fruit of what we have done over the past years. 

Jeffrey: First I’ll talk about what has been going on since our last call and then we can touch upon our new plan for the EC. I want to convey a similar message about the Florida event. We were both there for the ABC; it was difficult in some respects, it’s new for a lot of people and it was the first ABC I’ve ever attended, but I agree with you completely. What came after that, the first ACA world conference was an incredibly wonderful experience. About 200 people in total, the speakers, the sharing – it was all really, really, amazing. I especially thought the kickoff for the world congress, the handing out of the coin in honor of the first world event and the ten-year anniversary of the BRB melted together into an incredibly emotional and moving experience that’s hard to describe unless you were there. Bill D. who is one of the board members and chaired the ABC and led the committee to organize all that did an amazing job with all of the volunteers there. They made it look very easy and certainly makes me wish I can be there next year. Be on the lookout for things on the ACA website that talk about or highlight portions of the event. It should be appearing soon. I’d also like to mention briefly that I was in Budapest yesterday and had a chance to meet several members of the fellowship down there. It was a really good experience to make contact in person with someone from the fellowship in Hungary because they are doing a lot of interesting things there. They are also looking for help and support from the WSO which in Europe amounts to us [the EC]. I have some notes about issues on their mind, they ranged from translation at the top of the list; sponsorship (there is a real lack of old timers in fellowships in Europe); outreach; dealing with press and media; and relationship with other 12-step programs. Once we can get our website up and help disseminate this type of information a lot more clearly, this information won’t be such a mystery.

          

F.  Old Business: 

Old business was not mentioned in this meeting, instead a jump was made to new business.

G. New Business:

New business for this meeting pertains to the plan being implemented for the EC.

Jeffrey: Majbrit, would you like to start us on information regarding the first plan for the EC that we plan to follow for the rest of the year?

Majbrit: What I was thinking about was that we actually set up a lot of subcommittees at the ABC and that we might want to mention slack.com? You know, the new thing Bill set up where people can see all of our work?

Jeffrey: Yes, I think we should have Bill set up a channel for the EC at some point. Probably soon so we can have a rolling discussion there and anyone who is then joining the committee can be a part of that conversation.

Majbrit: Yeah, I just think that I was in there and the way the information is flowing and the way people are actually connecting is really something that we should use. It’s certainly a way to learn how to set up committees in Europe so we can work together to solve these issues on hand. For the first time ever, we actually got a budget for the European Committee -  Anyone who wants to learn things about that, I know we have a plan for that and we have a plan for setting up a website for the European fellowship to allow us to interact with the fellowship in a way we haven’t been able to. The email system we have set up and the one we have been using for the past two years does not contain a database. Currently, there is no archive of the emails and there are no lists of people I’ve been contacting and who I’ve been talking to. I have to make it manually. The system we are setting up from the WSO lets us save all the emails and we’ll be able to send out emails in a completely different way. Jeffrey and I will both be on this media daily to check in daily to see if people are writing in to us. This means that instead of get referred through the WSO website to us in Europe, they can get ahold of us directly. I think I’ll let you talk more about the website Jeffrey. I can say we had a budget approved so we could participate in the yearly ACA event in Moscow in September. We have also sent out the first newsletter ever for the EC to tell people what we’re working on and to attend if they want to do so.

Jeffrey: Basically, it’s been clear to us on the EC that the main challenge in Europe is about organization. Once we’re organized we can communicate more efficiently. A lot of countries are isolated on their own, growing at their own place which is normal, but at the same time it’s not clear about where to go to get the answers to basic questions. This problem is made worse when the question is specific to Europe. It’s much harder to find the information you need. That’s one of the reasons why we decided we need our own website, this includes creating a page for each fellowship in each country – how many meetings are happening, when did it start, status of translation, links to websites in their own language. If someone is interested in visiting another country, they can find information about it. It should also make it easier for those of us on the committee to reach out and keep tabs of what’s going on with each fellowship and vice versa. This will also help the board and fellowship as a whole globally. The other thing obviously, as Majbrit mentioned, is organizing a database for emails. Last but not least, we’ve talked for some time about the issue of sponsorship in Europe. With the new site, we can make a password protected member’s area where people can volunteer to sponsor or say they need a sponsor, maybe introduce some sort of matching system as well to facilitate Skype or other internet based communication. Ideally, we’d like someone in the fellowship to come forward and help manage the website and serve in that capacity to help develop that website. It’s a very simple website so we don’t expect it to involve too much, but it would be best if they could be involved from the very beginning. In addition to that plan, I think it would be important to appoint as many country representatives as possible to be our eyes and ears. They’d report twice a year on the fellowships in their country with basic information on translation status, Intergroups, fellowship counts, etc. to help us understand the status of fellowships in countries. As Majbrit mentioned, we have a budget now and a couple of ideas we’ve mentioned that I think are interesting is the idea that we want to have the first European Intergroup business meeting. To invite all reps of Intergroups around Europe to this event and have a separate business meeting to discuss issues relating to translation, printing, and distribution of literature. We’re also talking about the idea of creating a workshop for translations. A lot of fellowships around Europe who are dealing with translation issues, some are obviously more advanced and have completed several translations of several pieces of literature. We think it’d be a good idea to have those with experience come in and explain their trials and successes to people who want to get started on translation to have the group benefit from their experience. Obviously, as part of our budget, the idea is to send at least one board member to as many annual national events as possible. Either myself or Majbrit. I’ve been in contact with the group in Hungary and they have an event in August I offered to speak at. I think that’s something that’s on the table and I think it’ll work its way through. Things like this, the more we can try to get the WSO closer to a national event and share what’s going on I think is very important. This feeds into the main point of our plan to support the fellowships plans on a case by case basis in each country. A lot of countries have their own unique problems, like in the Nordic countries they’ve translated their literature so we’re in a situation where we’re setting up local printing and distribution. Other countries are just starting to translate, Russia has translated theirs and now we’re trying to get it proofread and distributed in Russia. The last point to mention about our plan is to set in stone tracking and reporting mechanisms with the help of the finance committee for the WSO so we have a transparent and open picture of what the European contribution is to the global fellowship. We plan to post this information to our new website. So that’s just a quick overview of what we plan to do for this year. This leads into another quick point I’d like to raise, related to this. Obviously, Majbrit and myself are only going to get so far with all of these things that need to be done. The only way to move faster is to have members in Europe that want to serve with or on the EC. A quick review of what we need as mentioned in the newsletter:

Committee secretary – responsible for providing/editing the monthly agenda, minutes, newsletter, or report of the EC. As the communication will be in English, a native speaker who is very good at writing would be excellent but we are not limiting it to native speakers, they would probably have the easiest time of it though.

Website content administrator – this person would help design the new European Committee website as well as uploading new content and updating existing content. So knowledge of html, website content management systems, or related website skills, as well as the ability to communicate in English.

Literature subcommittee – Various liaison positions. We’re looking for people who can do our subcommittee research and contact external agencies and vendors in Europe for the purpose of verifying translations and setting up local printing and the sale and distribution of ACA literature. There is a lot going on in Europe in regards to printing and local distribution. For the first time this year (2016), we’ll be printing ACA literature in Europe. This will be going forward faster as we license local Intergroups to print literature and pay a royalty to WSO.

Country reps- this is crucial to helping us understand how we can help fellowships in a specific country. As said before, they act as our eyes and ears in their respective European country regarding membership, literature, 7th Tradition contributions, etc. It would be advantageous for anyone taking on this role to be an active trusted servant of a fellowship in their country as well as have the ability to communicate clearly in English.

The requirements for the positions are that the trusted servant attend the monthly EC conference calls which are held on the first Saturday of each month at 14:00 CET. The initial duration of these positions is until the end of this year and can be renewed by the trusted servant and the EC by agreement in 2017. As far as the time commitment is concerned, we expect anywhere between 4 and 8 hours a month for anyone of these positions depending on how much you want to serve. If anyone wants to serve or knows anyone who may be interested, please get in touch with me or Majbrit. Our emails can be found in the monthly newsletter.

Majbrit: Is there any way we can do a brief summary of this and put it into a comline article? Just putting it out there for now, but guests, please ask any questions you may have. 

H. Guest Comments (Open Call) 

Iuna: I was asked to ask you about the translation for the BRB in Spanish. We have a translation, but I guess it isn’t the official one? Do you know anything about it?

Majbrit: I know for a fact that Inezwho is also a board member is working on the Spanish translation. What they want to do is make a Spanish translation that can be read by people in Argentina and South America and Mexico and all over. That’s why it’s taking time, I don’t know how far along they are, but I can put you in contact with them. Send me an email and I’ll forward it to Inez.

Iuna: Brilliant, thank you. One last question, there is one more book that just came out on our list. A Spanish workbook. How do we get that?

Majbrit: I’m not sure how large your fellowship is, but it might be that we look into getting it printed locally. What do you think Jeffrey?

Jeffrey: I think we should try and include some Spanish literature in with the shipment that supposed to be going to the Amazon warehouse in the UK so that you can order it through amazon.co.uk. That would be the cheapest and easiest way that you could get it instead of trying to get it from the US.

Majbrit: I’ll make sure Larry knows that we should have the Spanish workbook on Amazon as well.

Desiree:The topic of multi-lingual workshops was brought up and how people seem to respond well to the availability of workshops in multiple languages. Concerns involving difficulties surrounding the 30% discount were raised. The ACA website does not make clear the process and Dutch speakers are having troubles understanding the English. Is there a way to add a Dutch option? There is some discussion on the Dutch translation draft? I am trying to get the copyright onto the Dutch documents and join together to get one draft. About the country representative, I think it’s very important that someone pick it up. If no one else wants to do it at this point, I would be glad to be of service. If no one else wants to do it, I will, but if anyone else wants to do it, I would prefer that. I know that two people in Holland are trying to get a Dutch website, but if the EC thinks it would be better to approve the Dutch website, then let us know.

Majbrit: I know for a fact that through the years I have been in the program, there have been various people trying to translate. Are these the people you are talking about? When we got our book, I know the Dutch were trying to get theirs. Do you think you could share what’s happening to the Dutch translation of the BRB?

Desiree: The people working on the translations were glad to give me theirs. We joined the translations to make one draft and sent them out to the groups. Then we got news that there already was a translation. They said they sent us the translation, I asked twice and never received it. 

Majbrit: The way the translation is set up right now, everyone can ask for a translation agreement. They don’t keep tabs on who has a contract. I find it very difficult to manage. They didn’t have a file prior to two years ago so I didn’t know who was translating which makes it very difficult for people to connect. What I want to know is if people were translating the BRB in 2002 or 2004, there should be notes or documents about that. It could make the job easier for the translation committee now if part of the BRB is already translated. I just want to know if that’s the case and if not, we have to find a better system to set up so that we’re not inventing wheel over and over again. Does that make sense?

Desiree:In September last year, before I got information about the translations, I emailed the Intergroup. I asked if they needed help or if they could advise me so I wouldn’t have to do everything again. The response I got was that they would ask the person who did that before and the response that he gave was that it’s really difficult and why would someone who just come to ACA bother do that. Just focus on the recovery… Then I joined the intergroup and asked to put it on the agenda and they gave me permission to collect the information. I can pass it on to you. 

Majbrit: Thanks very much Desiree, we’ll keep in contact to make sure we follow through on this. The way the current translation process is set up, it’s clear the WSO wasn’t clear that things would go the way they have been. I think it would be very good to have a “the way it’s done” on the European website. The current structure and lack of a database makes this very difficult confusing since it doesn’t facilitate communication. Setting up procedures for how it’s done is very important to prevent the loss of information. We were inspired by the Dutch people to translate our own book, but we never knew what happened to it. The goal is to get our structure so big that this is done professionally.

Desiree: We currently have fourteen people who have signed the translation agreement who have all entered the database with their translations.

Majbrit: Thanks Desiree. It’s helpful having an official ACA account to keep track of what’s happening within the fellowship.

Jeffrey: Regarding the Intergroup orders, it is officially functioning on the website. As we mentioned in our newsletter though, we now have alternative shipping carriers to send literature abroad. [More of this can be found in the ACA Newsletter]. To do this, contact me or a distribution center directly to get your order placed. I also agree with making a summary of the newsletter for our Comline to let people know the EC is getting organized.

Iuna: How will the 7th tradition contribution be labeled since it’s only coming from Madrid, Spain?

Jeffrey: You can determine it personally. “This is for meeting number…” and then list each meeting part of it. We recommend bundling the contributions, it lowers costs for the WSO in the long run.

Linda: I have an announcement from Latvia. We will have a summer retreat in July from 9th to 10th. We put the information on the ACA site about place and dates and more will follow. 

Majbrit: Please send us an email about this and then we can put it in our next newsletter.

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Announcements: The next EC Teleconference is scheduled for Saturday 4 June 2016 at 14:00 CET.

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