Summary of September Meeting of Northern New England Region
September 9th, 2017
We met in Brewer, Maine hosted for the first time by the relatively new Eastern Maine Area. We enjoyed better representation from our five Areas this time, but still more room for improvement.
Fund flow of $6000 to NAWS was approved after discussion. Consideration is being given to reductions in regional prudent reserve funds, probably through reexamining the need for fully funding both fiscal year one and two, or other reserves.
Regional Delegate Alternate Sam L. led a discussion pertaining to challenges of coming up with a more fair and functional seating formula for future biennial World Conferences, such as the one coming up in spring 2018 in California. Input is sought from Areas pertaining to how to work our way around the grueling sessions that run as many as 18 hours per day, perhaps by moving to a Zonal seating plan. How to get there from here when there seems to be so much resistance from US and Canadian Regions who are highly reluctant to give up seats in order to accommodate those newer regions or zones from other parts of the globe. Region is very interested in ideas for how to proceed beyond what is seen by many as the current gridlock. It would seem urgent in terms of conformity to various Concepts and Traditions for us to work towards resolution of this situation, but there are some vexing problems that sound exceedingly difficult for us to move beyond as a fellowship.
Sam L. also discussed his concerns, shared by many others, that fellowship intellectual property rights have been ignored by an element that has been appearing at zonal forums and major conventions. This small group of people has been making an effort to sell or give away literature that has essentially been pirated from the fellowship, depriving NAWS of a critically needed funding source.
These items are from the May 2017 Northern New England Regional Minutes and may be shorter than the original reports
Champlain Valley Area Service Committee of NA next meets on May 28th, 2017 at 1:45 pm at
the Turning Point Center, 489 North Main Street, Barre, VT. 05641.
CVA members are pleased to note the outstanding progress on the Regional Web Site and are already seeing the advantages this is bringing to recovering addicts beginning to be realized. Gratitude is sent out to all who worked to make this now operational web site a reality. Our CVA Convention is continuing to move forward with carefully developing plans for our November 10th through November 12th, 2017 annual convention at the Sheraton Hotel in Burlington, VT. CVANAXXVII–A New Way To Live is certain to be another well supported and exciting series of offerings and goings on and we hope that you are planning to attend, whether for the first time or if this has become an annual event in your lives.
Our Hospitals and Institutions Committee continues to provide reliable, high quality weekly NA service panels at two of the four correctional facilities in the Champlain Valley Area. Plans are now underway for us to also begin services to the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility (mostly serving women) in the very near future. We are grateful to our Areas members, groups and service committee for recent approval of our 2017 budget for H&I of $1000. A sizeable literature order will be placed this coming week in support of H&I.
Our Activities Committee is energetic and enthusiastic, with several movie nights, a bowling event and a visit to the Pigs in Space event in Connecticut recently. Our next event can be seen on the new Regional web site nnerna.org, or on our Area web site cvana.org. It is called Grill and Games and will take place in our capital city of Montpelier’s Hubbard Park on June 10th, 2017 from 1:00 to 5:00 pm. All are welcome and encouraged to attend. Please bring a dish if possible.
Due to a shortage of trusted servants we are seeing an increasing trend towards members of the Area Service Committee needing to assume two or even more than two service positions at the Area level. People with suggestions as to how to address this situation are encouraged to offer them to us on our web site, while CVA members are encouraged very much to please come forward to alleviate some of the work load.
We currently have open positions for Area Treasurer, Area Secretary, and RCM-Alternate. We also are very much in need of additional member support on the H&I subcommittee.
All is well in Eastern Maine. At the area level, we’ve started to slowly revamp our policy and guidelines to meet our area’s needs. When we started, our policy was just cobbled together from other area/region’s. We’ve also included a line stating that any amendment cannot be modified again for six months. Members have expressed concern as to lack of activities. At this time, all activities have been generated at the group level. We have one new group started in a new geographic area where there isn’t any meetings. We were contacted by the Greater NY Region about ordering literature from them and wondered if anyone had any information. FYI: I spoke to a former World Board member about this. As of a year ago, NAWS didn’t have an opinion on RSO literature sales. Historically, the offices were started to facilitate literature distribute (say, 20 years ago.) There have been problems in the past with their stability where NAWS had to step in a fulfill literature orders. She doesn’t know if this is a current problem. Large enough orders direct from NAWS are eligible for a volume product discount, so we should see a reduced price in the literature itself. She recommended prior to ordering from them, to contact them to verify what their discount level is and other money things. She also recommended contacting Steve at World to get more information about their current stability.
H&I continues to be strong. We have two standing commitments and in the process of starting a new monthly commitment. H&I also just fully revamped its policy, in large part to add structure to the roles of panel member and panel leader, including requirements as to how many subcommittee meetings must be attended. We’ve talked about getting an H&I meeting into a Veteran’s Home and wanted to get region feedback since it’s not a closed facility. PR hasn’t really held a subcommittee meeting in a few months, but continues to hold a flier hanging day monthly in different locations throughout the area.
Very little to report from Seacoast. Our campout committee is working very hard on this year’s event (new venue) and we have been encouraged to push early registration due to the new venue needed all the “rent” up front unlike the other place where they took a deposit and waited until after to be paid. Seacoast has no donation.
Granite State Area
Absent, no report
Maine area has been quite busy as of late. Due to an astoundingly low amount of group participation at the area level there has been some financial restructuring and fund conservation. Foremost there has been an attempt to transition to a digital phone service. We have also begun to address some inefficiency around our meeting list production. Our meeting list coordinator has informed us that we print too many, too often, on a non standard paper size. We started determining what options between all those variables will allow us to continue to serve our area effectively and efficiently. Lastly at our second to last ASC our treasurer made a series of motions to assure that our area will continue to be solvent. We have increased our prudent reserve to $2000, created a set aside account to prevent negative cash flow, changed our donation dates to align with the fiscal quarters, and consolidated our conventions into one event. On the subject of effective service, Maine area has elected several new trusted servants. After asking our H&I chair to step down due to responsibilities not being met, Ben L. has been elected as an interim chair. Kenzie C. has been elected as outreach chair, and after several months without one, Liz D. has been elected as secretary. We also have a number of events coming up. IDT Social Media and Our Spiritual Principles and speaker jam on July 15th 12-6 at Mercy Hospital in Portland, Sisters in The Sun Women’s Retreat from July 14th-16th at the in Alfred, Maine and last Live The Program, Live The Miracle speaker jam on June 11th in Biddeford, Maine (Proceeds will fund MASCNA Convention)
Northern New England News
The contents below are excerpts from the May Northern New England Minutes, and may be shortened from the original reporting in the minutes:
|•||Chairperson: present||•||RCMA, Granite State: absent|
|•||Vice Chairperson: present||•||RCM, Maine: present|
|•||Treasurer: open||•||RCMA, Maine: open|
|•||Acting Secretary: open||•||RCM, Seacoast: present|
|•||RD: absent||•||RCMA, Seacoast: absent|
|•||RDA: present||•||RCM, Eastern Maine: present|
|•||RCM, Champlain Valley: present||•||RCMA, Eastern Maine: open|
|•||RCMA, Champlain Valley: open||•||MRLE Chairperson: present|
|•||RCM, Granite State: absent||•||Acting Website Coordinator: open|
MRLE Report (Multi Regional Learning Event)
Flyers were printed out and distributed at NEZF. We still have 9 of 12 regions in the NEZF committed to supporting the MRLE. The World Board Participation Request form has been submitted and we should expect to hear back sometime this summer. World Services did reply and note that they do not currently have any scheduling conflicts.
Future of the WSC- WSC Participant Video Conference Call
Aattended the WSC Participants Video Conference Call on the Future of the WSC on 4/8/2017. We discussed the challenges faced during the 2016 WSC with the existing format of discussing and making decisions on old business and new business and proposed changes that could take effect as early as the 2018 WSC. The proposed changes can be found in the Future of the WSC PDF I sent in the March minutes and I will also include a copy in the May minutes. There was general consensus that we could use the new Video Conferencing technology to push new business proposals through the decision-making process earlier on in the conference cycle and that this technology would be able to help make new business at the WSC in future conference cycles more manageable.
The NEZF in Sturbridge, MA on April 28-30.
On Friday night, Regional reports were read, it was really interesting and exciting to hear about how NA works in other geographies in the northeastern US. There is a lot of interest in the MRLE and there is interest from other regions in our Zone about hosting an NEZF Service Symposium in the future. More will be revealed.
Trusted servant reports were read. An Ad Hoc committee was formed to discuss the vehicle that the NEZF website will use to provide PR and H&I resource sharing between regions. An update will be provided at our next NEZF web call in late June. Our web call schedule was changed to the last Sunday of each month at 3pm using the same Zoom video-conferencing platform that the WSC participant calls are using. We started reviewing and approving a few house-keeping policy updates to align our policy with how we actually do business.
On Saturday we began with Open Forum. We discussed How do we get better participation from the group level up to WSC? Ideas included: GSR assembly put on by region, making RCMs accountable, direct participation by delegate team in ASCs, service learning day to focus on involving young members, helping the newcomer understand that service is also a way to enhance your network and personal recovery beyond the local fellowship, focusing on service in sponsorship, focus on how that service work affects your personal recovery. Expansion of network, limiting service commitments, stripping down standing subcommittees.
Then we had a workshop on Fellowship Development where we discussed an area split in NE region. This situation was based on personalities, not principles so there was not much for our region to draw on. They did note that a shared services positions was created… they had a separate meeting list in the same geographic territories, it sounded messy. We also had a presenter who talked about FD subcommittee who goes around to areas and provides workshops on whatever the fellowship needs, including building stronger home groups, area planning tools, IDTs, sponsorship. The purpose of subcommittee is to provide access to service bodies to broader network of experience, connect areas together- one may have significant PR tools, others may have no PR.
Our next workshop was on Unity, led by former NE Region RDs.
- We brainstormed what the newer member’s experience with the older people in areas/regions. Feedback included that older members stop showing up, or were unwilling to serve, may have a mixed message or started in another program, showed apathy, they are resistant to technology, lack of patience with the newcomer, as sponsors don’t encourage or require service commitments.
- Then we brainstormed what the older member’s experience was with newer members? Feedback included that they are enthusiastic but have a lack of experience and understanding with what we’ve been doing for thirty years.
- Then we brainstormed how we become like-minded? Major takeaways were that old-timers need to work on training, mentoring newer members, stay involved in service, get egos out of the way, and newer members need to reach out directly to request participation from old timers, sponsorship is a big area for improvement.
Technology and social media
- Current resources were highlighted, including Social Media IP, PR Handbook, PR Basics, Green and Gold traditions essays and our new guiding principles workbook. Social media is a great PR resource, and way to disseminate and share information internally. However there are potentially challenges for NA principles like personal anonymity and fellowship unity. What are some of the principles that come into play (or perhaps should come into play) when using social media? What successes can you share about applying these principles while using social media as a NA member or service body? Feedback included quick disseminate information, share information, coordinate service work, PR tool.
- We brainstormed what challenges to applying our principles have been faced using social media: As individuals? As service committee, for communications within the fellowship? Feedback included maintaining anonymity, respecting others anonymity, maintaining spiritual principles, providing equal access to information for those who do not participate in social media.
- We brainstormed that considering the challenges and applying our spiritual principles, what solutions can be offered? Taking our personal recovery into our social media interactions, electing a single point of accountability to be the administrator of group pages, and asking people to sign onto some terms and conditions of the page before joining. Fourth, fifth concept, 12th
- We finalized some housekeeping changes to our NEZF policy.
- We discussed the Greater NY region proposal about Illicit and Illegal Literature. While no official resolution was reached, there was general consensus that while we should discourage the distribution and sales of illegal/illicit literature at future NEZF workshops, all NA members are welcome at such workshops and to create a scene at such a workshop would create further disunity and make NA appear unattractive as a whole. More will be revealed.
- We discussed the potential workshop topics for the October 2018 NEZF in NJ region and some of the ideas included: the future of the WSC work we’ve been doing on our video conference calls and the IDT on an atmosphere of recovery in service.
RD/RDA Year 1&2 Budget
Per our conversation at region, I have attached a revised RD/RDA Year 1&2 budget. I’m not quite sure how this budget was being generated before me, but I have defined the Year 1 budget as expenses the RD/RDA expect to incur between May 2017 and May 2018, and the Year 2 budget as expenses that the RD/RDA expect to incur between May 2018 and May 2019. As you can imagine, the Year 2 budget from last year has become the Year 1 budget.
Missing from the Year 2 budget last year and therefore added to the Year 1 budget for this year were: October 2017 NEZF, December 2017 MRLE, and travel expenses for RD/RDA to travel to ASC meetings. I have also added MARLCNA. Total Year 1 RD/RDA budget is $4,980. I will note that this is a significant increase over the Year 2 budget from last year, which is primarily due to the expenses that were inexplicably left out of the Year 2 budget last year. The only thing I added to the Year 1 budget (last year’s Year 2 budget) was MARLCNA. The Year 2 budget last year covered only WSC 2018 expenses. In my budget, green highlighted items are items I included in my versions of the budgets that were not included in the prior version of these budgets.
Year 2 budget (last year’s Year 1 budget) is mostly the same, with the only change being the addition of MARLCNA. Total Year 2 RD/RDA budget is $2,870.
I’d like to recommend changing the names of these budgets. They are currently really confusing, especially as we progress and the Year 2 budget becomes that Year 1 budget. I recommend we change the terminology. I think we should be calling this year’s budget the ‘2017-2018 Budget’, and next year’s budget the ‘2018-2019 Budget’. This way as the year’s roll on, the names of the budgets remain the same.
The IDT Workshop on Social Media and Our Guiding Principles has been scheduled for July 15, 2017 at 12pm at Mercy Hospital in Portland, ME. The RD from Western NY and CT regions have agreed to co-facilitate. The event will be paired with a speaker jam which will run from 2-6pm. I brought flyers. I suggest that a $100 check get cut to me for food expenses. The flyers were $12.66 when combined with the MRLE flyers I also printed.
East Coast Convention Unity Call
I received an email from a board member of this year’s East Coast Convention. On the opening night of the East Coast Convention (at Connecticut College, New London, CT, June 24-26), a ‘Unity Call’ will be held. The “Unity Call” features members and institutionalized members joining together in a call; and listening to the opening night speaker at the NA convention while a member shares their experience, strength and hope living a productive responsible life without the use of drugs. I think the ‘ask’ here is to bring work of the ‘Unity Call’ at the ECC in June to our H&I Subcommittees to see if there are any commitments being held in our region whose host institution is interested in participating in the ‘Unity Call’.
I’ve attached January 2017 NAWS News with my report. NAWS is seeking feedback on its two new pieces of recovery literature- a mental health IP and a daily meditation book based on the living clean- and links to the online surveys can be found in the attached PDF. Feedback is due by June 1, 2017.
NAWS is working on building a local service toolbox and is soliciting input from the fellowship on what types of tools you’d like to see developed. A link to the online survey is available in the attached PDF on P4. For example, they plan to build a guide to consensus-based decision making as a priority unless the survey results direct them otherwise.
Revisions to the GWSNA has been published and can be found on the NAWS website.