World Service Business Convention Report - 2020
A LETTER FROM THE WSB CHAIR
Although we didn’t have the Business Convention this year, there has been a lot going on in the world, in our fellowship, and on the World Service Board. The World Service Board has been meeting more often and doing the best we can to communicate to the fellowship. These have been exceptional times, and we have done our best as trusted servants to tend to tasks such as running the FA Office, getting the word of FA out to the public, keeping up with the literature, producing connection, discussing the Traditions, and keeping our local service groups active.
The onset of a world-wide pandemic created confusion and so much unknown. We seemed to make it through okay day by day and are still figuring out how best to do our recovery and abstinence. I pray that everyone has found a gathering or two or three to attend and is receiving the nurturing that is needed with all of us food addicts. When two or more are gathered, there is God in our midst. So, we can’t see each other “live,” but we have still found ways to communicate with each other thanks to modern technology. I am really proud of the way our fellowship has banded together and kept our recovery first. Newcomers seem to be finding their way to the gatherings thanks to our website that has become the way most newcomers are hearing about us.
In this moment, I realize we can no longer not talk about the racism and oppression that have been such a painful reality for so many for so long. It is important that with God’s guidance we are willing to have conversations that might be difficult and to stay open to seeing our blind spots. The World Service Board (WSB) is committed to discussing these issues at our July Board meeting and to continue addressing them over the long-term. It is my hope that all FA members help to ensure that FA is a safe and healing community for everyone. Given the intensity of our world right now, we must not forget to stay focused on our basics, continue to weigh and measure our food, do every tool every day, and reach out to newcomers.
It has also been a sad time with our dear Cynthia leaving us. Amongst others, she played an important role in the formation of FA. Because I am inspired by her unwavering conviction to the principles that FA is founded upon, I make it a point to listen to the FA history recording at least once a year. Cynthia touched thousands of lives and will live forever inside of us all with her words, her patience, her dedication to this program, her loving kindness, and her unending tolerance. She understood the human condition and how one addict can help another addict like no other.
You will notice that there are no remarks included in this report from our Vice-Chair. Most recently, our dear Vice Chair, Ann H., had a bicycle accident and ended up in the ICU. She is now out of the hospital and recovering at home slowly day by day. Her husband is keeping us informed of her progress.
We are reminded daily that all we have is this one day! That is how I was able to stay abstinent--just for one day. If we keep an attitude of gratitude and are brutally honest with our sponsors and our recovery, we have a pretty good chance that God will free us from this misery of food addiction.
From there, we can help the world by helping another food addict.
Let’s move forward in unity, one addict helping another!
Please stay healthy as we venture out into this world! Hopefully, there will be an end to this pandemic, and we can all get together in-person at the June 2021 Business Convention!
In Service, Bonnie H
Chair, World Service Board
OUR PRIMARY PURPOSE
FA, as an international non-profit, is required to meet annually to provide conference members with a financial report and an opportunity to elect board members. FA follows Massachusetts statutes since it is incorporated in the state of Massachusetts.
Although the World Service Business Convention was cancelled due to the pandemic, FA has still fulfilled its legal obligations due to special legislation passed by the state of Massachusetts as a result of the COVID-19 emergency. This legislation gave non-profits permission to skip their annual meeting in 2020. The statute also stated that board members who were up for election in 2020 would be able to maintain their elected positions for one additional year.
Despite the pandemic, FA members continue their efforts to reach the newcomer. Since our incorporation in 1998, we have grown from fewer than 100 members to over 10,000 members, collectively attending more than 606 meetings worldwide.
Structurally, FA is a “bottom- up” service organization. World Service, Inc., or WSI, is here to help reach the newcomer by serving FA as a whole and by supporting intergroups. Intergroups support chapters and meetings, who in turn support the most important entity--the individual FA member. WSI officers, committee chairs, and committee members are not here to exercise power or authority. It is just the opposite. Our role is to humbly serve and support.
To be useful to the overall fellowship, WSI needs some amount of formal organization. This includes a board made up of four officers and nine committee chairs. The specific committees are Bylaws, connection, Convention Planning, Literature, Office, PI, Service Group Support, Traditions Review, and Twelfth Step. Over twenty subcommittees support these WSI standing committees.
Six additional committees–finance, personnel, design, inquiry response, board motions review, and project resources–support the board. Each year, if needed, the Resolutions Committee and the Emergency New Business Committee are available to support the conference with main motions.
TREASURER’S REPORT: STELLA J., WSI TREASURER
FA is on track and within budget. Although we are not having meetings, members can make donations on the FA website. Through practicing corporate poverty, i.e. not collecting excessive funds but maintaining a Prudent Reserve, FA is in good financial shape. In addition to a Project Reserve for project funding, FA has an ample Prudent Reserve in the event of significant unanticipated costs or reductions in income.
PRINCIPLES FOR FA FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT
From “Your Seventh Tradition” pamphlet
Our guiding principle is to carry the message
- Use prudent financial principles & have “sufficient operating funds, plus an ample reserve” (Concept Twelve)
- To maintain corporate poverty:
- Be self-supporting (Tradition Seven)
- Use FA funds wisely (Concept Twelve)
- Keep focused on our primary purpose (Tradition Six)
- Keep a prudent reserve (Concept Twelve)
- Pass on extra funds to support more FA work (Tradition Five)
SUGGESTIONS and REMINDERS
- Donate to WSI online or by mailing a check
- Subscribe to connection for yourself
- Suggested donation: $2 per meeting
- Donation limits
- A member can donate up to $3,000 per year
- A member can make a one-time bequest of $5,000
SUMMARY Budget Fiscal Year 2020: July 2019-June 2020
(FY2020 Actual through mid-June, rest of June forecasted)
Beginning Balance: $367,000
(including inventory & temporary liabilities)
Income / Expense
Donations & Interest
Total Income & Expense $345,000
Funds from Project Reserve: -0-
Total Net Income/Expense: -0-
Projected FY20 YrEnd Balance: $367,000(including inventory & temporary liabilities)
Remaining funds for next
fiscal year: FY2021
Prudent Reserve = $247,000
Project Reserve = $120,000
BYLAWS COMMITTEE REPORT (NORMA JEAN P., CHAIR)
The Bylaws Committee meets regularly to review the bylaws and address related issues. The committee is currently discussing increasing communication regarding the motion initiation process especially in regard to those on the frontier.
The Bylaws Committee had one motion for the 2020 WSBC. Since the Business Convention was cancelled, the plan is to present it at the 2021 WSBC.
World Service Board Elections
There were seven board members up for election in 2020. Per the Massachusetts statute passed in response to the national COVID-19 emergency, they will stay in place for an additional one-year term and will be up for election in 2021.
The chair of the Traditions Review Committee had already planned to resign (after four years of service!). Per our bylaws, the WSB appointed her replacement with the one individual who sent in an application for the 2020 election. Her term will last two years, per usual.
As of the 2022 WSB Conference, our bylaws will be in sync again in regard to the rotation of elected board positions. (Refer to WSB Bylaws, Article V section 4(e)). Board members are standardly elected for a two-year term.
World Service Board Members
Retiring Board Member
- Traditions Review Patty R., ME
WSI Committee Chairs
- Bylaws Norma Jean P, OH *
- connection Dom K, GA *
- Convention Planning Vanessa, CA *
- Literature Karen LB., MA **
- Office Jan B, CA *
- Public Information Annie H, CA **
- Service Group Support Pam K, CAN **
- Traditions Cheryl W., MI***
- Twelfth Step Regina M., NY **
WSI Executive Board
- Chair Bonnie, FL *
- Vice-Chair Ann H., NY *
- Secretary Abigail H., PA **
- Treasurer Stella J., TX **
*Board member elected in 2018 whose term has been extended one year. Up for election in 2021.
**Board member elected in 2019. Up for election in 2021.
***Board member appointed by WSB in 2020 for a two-year term who is up for election in 2022.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM CHAPTERS & INTERGROUPS
EASTERN AREA INTERGROUP: Christine W., Chair
Public Information Committee
- Organized a "Training the Presenter" workshop after the EAI Body meeting in July to train willing members to be presenters of the HCSS to health care providers.
- Updated the webpage for the EAI PI Committee to list all resources available to EAI PI-Reps and EAI Fellows seeking PI Outreach guidance and assistance.
- Coordinated a successful Public Information Session at Debra's Natural Foods in Concord MA in September 2019. There were two committee members at this outreach, which was the result of a project started in 2018 where PI outreached to religious institutions that have monthly support groups for women/moms.
- Presented a PI Resources "deep dive" at the EAI Body Meeting in October 2019. Along with Lisa B from Oakland, the chair went over the PI Resources available on the FA website. A committee member shared on the Info Session at Debra's in September.
- Purchased a laptop and projector to use for HCSS showings. We are encouraging Boston area fellows to offer a showing of the HCSS to their health care providers.
- Purchased a Zoom connection for our monthly PI early call and regular committee meetings.
- Presented on the bi-monthly call of the WSSGSC for LSG's about the PI Resources available on the FA website.
- Financial assistance summary:
- Health Fair Booth Fees (4) $1350
- Trifold printing $1066 (15 orders)
- PI Materials (table cloths, banners) $817
- New Meeting Literature $60
- Info session Costs (2) $400
- Meeting Advertising $75
- Racks (617 shipped) $1393.81
- Waiting Room Booklets (335 shipped) $355.10
o Total $5516.91
- Formed Bylaws Committee with six members
- Organized a Bylaws Deep Dive for EAI body meeting
- Worked with fellow who was going to submit a main motion for the 2020 WSI Conference so that he felt comfortable withdrawing the motion.
- Worked with Executive Board regarding Remote Voting Motion and presented motion to Intergroup, assisted with conference calls. Motion passed by FA-EAI body.
- Reviewed Emergency Mass Legislation regarding Non-Profits and how they would function during COVID-19.
- Presented to EAI Board and Maine Chapter formal recommendations regarding Elections and Voting on motions during COVID-19.
- Spent $1500 in parliamentarian consultation regarding Remote Voting Motion & Massachusetts Emergency Legislation.
Service Support Weekend Planning Committee
- Formed the Service Support Weekend Planning (SSWP) Committee to plan and hold the FA EAI Service Support Weekend.
- Decided to expand the reach of this weekend in order to include more fellowship areas and members in EAI.
- Drafted an application to host the weekend in September 2019 and sent to the FA EAI fellowship.
- Chose the Washington, DC area fellowship as the next city to host the FA EAI SSW, historically occurring annually in Boston, MA, on November 6 - 8, 2020.
- Grew SSWP Committee from five to fifteen people, including fellows in the DC area to help with planning and logistics.
- Hired event coordinator Julie Nack Locke of HelmsBriscoe, to send out RFPs to hotels in the greater DC, MD, and VA area.
- Selected hotel in Gaithersburg, MD as the next site for the SSW, the drafted and negotiated a contract.
- Canceled the 2020 SSW in-person and to host the weekend virtually due to the Coronavirus.
- Formed SSW Virtual Planning Subcommittee which included members from EAI Financial Aid and Resources Committee and EAI Technology Committee.
- Spoke with an event consultant, Lauren Cramer of TurnKey Events, for guidance on how to host a virtual conference.
- Decided to produce the event in-house instead, using FA members and potentially outside companies as needed. Lauren has agreed to speak with us at any time if needed, and we purchased a gift card for $200 to compensate Lauren for her indisputable guidance.
- Planned to meet in June 2020 to discuss formats for the weekend and platforms needed to have the greatest user experience and impact. SSWP Committee and FA EAI Board will decide theme, ideas, timelines and registration fees in July. By September, SSWP Committee plans to open registration and it is yet to be determined if this will be only for EAI or if can include entire FA Fellowship
Twelfth Step Committee
- Coordinated the listing of Thank-a-Thons on the FA website
- Conducted live EAI Orientation sessions at West Roxbury and remotely.
- Created an EAI Orientation video and booklet on the FA website to replace live process.
- Started a process for monthly Informal Fellowship Zoom Gatherings on the Twelfth Step.
- Developed a document on "Making Twelfth Step Calls".
- Arranged home meetings for a Florida fellow who was undergoing cancer treatments
- Planned a springtime Fellowship Day on the theme of "Service with a Smile" on hold till 2021.
- Corresponded with FA members who sought help or asked questions of EAI.
- Returned phone calls to nonmembers seeking help or asking questions about FA or EAI.
- Updated new meeting information on the website and maintained EAI accuracy of committee changes on website.
- Updated the trifolds in all areas of EAI keeping them current and accurate.
- Continued ongoing assessments of web pages for EAI accuracy in anticipation of the website changing in the future
Service Support Committee
- Surveyed existing EAI LSG's in an effort to (a) gain a deeper understanding of their current activities, (b) learn ways in which we can better serve and support these groups and (c) establish a set of useful communication tools. Note - we have identified a core group of 10 EAI LSG's
- Recruited and established a core committee comprised of a cross-section of fellows actively engaged in an LSG.
- Identified a member of the WSI core team to edit and rewrite the existing LSG Policies and Procedures Guidelines to better reflect current state (note: this six-month initiative is currently in the final edit stage)
- Developing a process for providing EAI financial assistance for LSG's hosting Fellowship Days.
- Submitted Annual Report to the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, updating them on the new person taking the position in September.
- Kept accurate minutes of all FA-EAI Executive Board, Board, and Body minutes along with archiving them on Gmail drive.
- Archived the FA-EAI Maine Chapter minutes including their board and body minutes on Gmail drive.
- Helped facilitate the new procedures for all committees' oral and written reports to be in alignment with the FA-EAI bylaws.
- Opened the board and body meetings with two and five minutes of quiet time, respectively, followed by the Serenity Prayer. Also, closed the meetings with a moment of silence and the Serenity Prayer.
- Read a brief summary of minutes to begin each EAI body meeting.
- Prepared EAI monthly report to be distributed to all EAI meeting representatives. (since COVID-19 pandemic, the report is now sent to all EAI members)
- Provided more straightforward information from the Intergroup and important highlights from the committees by updating EAI Report format. Scheduling also changed as Office and IT members have contributed well thought out structures.
- Continued quarterly calls with topics that best address the needs and requests from FA members, especially those on the frontier. Recent change to the format includes a Zoom platform.
- Supported any committee or executive board member that requests it. Attention and consultation ongoing with the EAI Chair.
Financial Aid and Resource Committee
- Updated the procedures document to review Health fair funding (this is PI funded)
- Funded two individuals to travel as speakers for FA information sessions
- Developed and introduced an online funding application for the Business Convention.
- Reviewed and approved approximately twenty funding applications for the 2020 Business Convention prior to COVID -19 and subsequent cancellation of the convention.
- Decided as a committee to disperse our service to other committees until such a need for funding arises in the future.
- Processed 45 reimbursements and placed fourteen literature orders.
- Updated information on EAI donation page to include clearer instructions.
- Explored possibility of going to fee-for-service model with EAI's accountant (e.g., WAI uses accountant only during tax season). Open to revisiting in the future but determined that having an accountant on a modest retainer is an invaluable resource that the EAI Treasurer uses routinely for providing fiscal guidance.
- Learned the importance of keeping the EAI fiscal year in line with the calendar year.
- Explored possibility of attending Quickbooks Online trainings to learn more about our bookkeeping software and decided to tap into our accountants' knowledge instead.
- Explored cost effectiveness of online donations over checks: Learned that although they are much more labor intensive, checks are more cost effective since they are processed by an EAI volunteer who generously donates her time.
- Analyzed PayPal v. check donation volume using 2018 figures
- $34,317 (~80% of total donations) from checks - if those check donations had been PayPal donations, we would have been charged $924 by PayPal.
- Updated Treasurer's Report format to include committee expenditure breakdowns
- Held a retreat to establish short-term and long-term goals (asterisks next to goals we met):
- Work with accountant staff to clean up coding in Quickbooks
- Routinely provide committee budgets
- Begin routinely donating to WSI
- Work with website redesign committee to make donation page more useful to members (website redesign has been delayed until 2021)
- Provide a Finance Deep Dive at EAI body meeting
- Recruit at least one more person to engage in our committee's service
Teens and Twenties Committee
- Supported over seven in-person outreaches in New England
- Supported three long-distance outreaches, 30+ fellows total participated.
- Waltham Health Fair May 2019: 6 fellows
- New York State Fair Outreach: 2 fellows
- Portland Maine Outreach April 16, 2019: 2 fellows
- Boston Latin Academy Outreach – 4/29/19-5/3/19: Over 10 fellows helped at over 15 different
- Stonehill College November, 19 2019: 2 fellows
- Newton North Health Fair: January: 6 fellows
- Waltham Classroom Outreach: 2 fellows
- Due to Covid-19, we canceled three scheduled outreaches. Boston Latin Academy Outreach in March 2020 nor the Waltham Health Fair May 2020, nor the Mt. Holyoke – Five College Consortium at Amherst College, which was to be in
- Completed and uploaded the Teens & Twenties Kit with an easy-to-access link on the Teens and Twenties webpage on the EAI site.
- Completed Interactive Demonstration of the Health Care Professional SlideShow via GoToMeeting
- Helped WAI/EAI project by reaching out to LSC asking if they can help with any colleges in their areas
- Received annual leads from in-person fellows at September Deep Dive.
- Moved to GoToMeeting in 2020 and finally Zoom June 2020. The new platform is attracting membership from outlying areas to participate and be a part of not only our committee but EAI body meeting.
- Shifted our energies to digital emails to send to counselors/teachers/staff to reach the young person.
- Purchased laptops for each committee chair complete with Office 365, Webroot security, and three-year Geek Squad Protection. Each committee also received a hotspot and a projector to conduct their committee meetings and give access to EAI members around the globe.
- Created a standardized configuration script to be applied to each new laptop to insure uniformity
- Made a seamless transition to facilitating the EAI Board, Body, and Committee meetings remotely in response to COVID-19. We purchased an internet pipe with increased bandwidth to support the demand since each meeting would now be 100% remote.
- Introduced remote electronic voting to the membership with an eye toward future implementation.
- Migrated from the GoToMeeting platform that supported 25 video cams to the Zoom platform that supports as many webcams as licenses. Purchased 12 Zoom Business class licenses for the board, body, & committee meetings that upgraded the licensing to support 300 users for each meeting.
- Hosted Zoom & Gmail training sessions
- Standardized the bit.ly link for EAI sign in
- Policies, Procedures, & Documentation:
- Created PDFs for each committee instructing them how to use Zoom & Gmail
- Created an online inventory of all assets and their serial Tagged every asset.
- Created policies and procedures documentation how to access and use the Gmail, Zoom, bit.ly & Poll Everywhere applications. P&P contains usernames, passwords, and contact information for each
- Created an orderly hierarchy in Gmail using folders and the Google drive to store all pertinent email about the IT committee and stored artifacts that are easily accessible by committee members and will provide for continuity with each leadership rotation.
WESTERN AREA INTERGROUP (BRANDON C., CHAIR)
Western Area Intergroup meets monthly (typically the second Sunday of the month) in Oakland California. Attendance is typically between 150-200 members. The committees below meet from 10:30-11:00am, then everyone comes together in one big room from 11:00am-12:00pm. After five minutes of Quiet Time, the Executive Board reports out, then each committee Chair and/or members report out activities from the committee.
- Supports 248 meetings
- Coordinates and updates 22 area trifolds in English and Spanish
- Sells FA literature monthly at Intergroup meeting
- Hosts monthly Newcomer Orientation at Intergroup meeting
Public Information Committee
- Services five geographic areas through Community Outreach
- Informs healthcare professionals, employment sites, colleges and community lay groups about the FA program of recovery
- Coordinates volunteers for health fairs and public information sessions
- Partners with Web-links and Service Group Support Committee
- Provides trainings to Intergroup subcommittee members on ways to get the word out through public information
- Reaches out to organizations interested in learning more about FA to schedule an information session, participate in a health fair, arrange FA literature for display/distribution, or to present the slide show for health care professionals
Convention Resource Committee
- Acts as a liaison between the WSI Convention Chair and the WAI intergroup
- Reports monthly about both the Business Convention and Fellowship Convention; keeps WAI members up to date on registration, lodging and other important convention details
Twelfth Step Committee
- Coordinates homebound meetings for FA members that are unable to attend FA meetings due to an illness or injury. Ten area coordinators help facilitate Homebound Meetings. Six homebound meetings took place in the first quarter of the year.
- Provides Twelfth step calls to people interested in FA who are unable to attend meetings due to a physical condition
- WAI Connection Subcommittee: Conducts writing and artwork sessions at intergroup; participates in bimonthly call for connection reps; assists members with submitting articles, artwork, subscriptions and accessing connection within the FA website; added Frontier section to connection magazine.
- Outlying Area Speaker Phone List Subcommittee: In order to assist speaker-getters in outlying areas, updates and sends quarterly list of speakers with 90 days or more of continuous abstinence willing to travel 1-3 hours outside of the Bay Area to share.
FA MAINE CHAPTER OF EAI (SHIRLEY H., CHAIR)
- The FA Maine Chapter was established in 2002 to further the FA program in accordance with the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of FA, maintain a communications center for FA groups affiliated with the Chapter, foster unity in the fellowship, and educate the public about the FA program.
- FA members, whose meetings are affiliated with the Chapter, work toward these goals at the meeting and chapter level.
- At the meeting level, members work to maintain healthy meetings and carry the message of FA recovery in their local community.
- At the chapter level, members work to maintain communication among the meetings affiliated with the Chapter, maintain the Chapter presence on the FA website and coordinate PI and Twelfth Step activities on a regional level.
- During the past year the Chapter Board completed the transition of historical and working documents to the Chapter’s secure online workspace. Because a computer has become an essential tool for officers and committee chairs and to ensure equity and access for FA members willing to serve in these positions the Chapter approved purchase of a computer for the Office Chair in 2019 and the purchase of computers for the Vice Chair and Twelfth Step Committee Chair in 2020.
- The Chapter meets monthly at Maine General Medical Center in Augusta, Maine. In the fall of 2019, the hospital required liability insurance for all groups meeting at the hospital. The Chapter purchased liability insurance which covers all Chapter events and all FA meetings affiliated with the Chapter.
- In March 2020, the phrase “One Day At a Time” took on a whole new meaning for the Chapter. As COVID-19 spread across the world, social distancing measures were implemented in Maine and southern New Hampshire
- COVID-19 restrictions impacted our lives and our fellowship. All 23 meetings affiliated with the Chapter were suspended. Eighteen of the meetings opted to host informal gatherings, at regular meeting times, either by phone or online. The gatherings have kept the local fellowship connected, carried the message of recovery and expanded the network of support as FA members from around the world have participated in these gatherings.
- The Chapter Chair and Vice Chair positions were extended until the next scheduled election in 2021. This decision was made after careful review of the EAI Bylaws, the Massachusetts Emergency Act, which clarifies EAI Operations during COVID-19 restrictions, and the decisions made by EAI and WSI to extend terms until the 2021 elections. Committee Chair appointments were also extended for one year.
- The Chapter is currently meeting online to continue the service activities which support the recovery of current FA members, support the food addict who still suffers and ensure information about the FA program remains accessible to anyone seeking recovery from the obsession and compulsion of food addiction.
- Registered Meetings in Maine:
- Number of individual, registered meetings at beginning of fiscal year: 22
- Number of individual, registered meetings at end of fiscal year: 23
Vice Chair Report: MEViceChair@foodaddicts.org
- Facilitated Chapter communication by drafting the FA Maine Chapter Highlights. The Highlights included information about resources, activities and service opportunities available throughout the Chapter. In addition, the Highlights communicated relevant information from WSI and EAI. The Highlights were published monthly and distributed via email to each meeting’s Chapter Contact. Chapter Contacts read timely information during meeting announcements and business meetings.
- Served as the Liaison Coordinator, which promoted communication and unity between the Chapter and meetings affiliated with the Chapter.
- Supported Chapter Contacts in understanding their role, the purpose and activities of the Chapter.
- Ensured Chapter Contacts were receiving the FA Maine Chapter Highlights in a timely manner.
- Solicited ideas and suggestions from meetings on how the Chapter could be more effective in carrying the message of recovery.
- Responded to questions from meetings regarding meeting and Chapter issues.
- Assisted FA members with navigating the FA website, accessing information, and updating their profiles upon individual request from FA members .
- Coordinated the collection and distribution of contact information as the meetings transitioned to informal gathering platforms due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
PI Committee: MEPI@foodaddicts.org
- Registered and staffed FA Information Booths at four community events (New England Annual Conference of the UMC, Cancer Survivors Day, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Spectrum Generations Health Fair). Six community events were postponed or cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions: University of New England (UNE) Health Fair Biddeford Campus, UNE Health Fair Portland Campus, Maine Nurse Practitioners Annual Meeting, Bucksport Regional Health Center Health Fair, Let’s Go National Obesity Conference, Healthy Aging Expo, 2020 Annual HOPE (Having Opportunities for Personal Empowerment) Conference
- Presented the Healthcare Provider Slideshow Presentation to practitioners at Scarborough Medical Practice and Winthrop Medical Family Practice.
- Presented the Healthcare Provider Slideshow Presentation to multiple meetings throughout the Chapter. These presentations familiarized FA fellows with this important resource for educating the healthcare community about food addiction and the FA recovery program.
- Supplied FA banners, FA tablecloths, Meeting Directory trifolds, FA Information Booklets and registration fees to support participation in Health Fairs and Information Sessions.
- Supplied FA and the Healthcare Professional pamphlet, FA Information Booklet Meeting Directory trifolds and racks for meetings to distribute in their communities.
- Managed the FA Maine Chapter Phone Information Line by coordinating a group of FA fellows who respond to calls received on the information line. These FA fellows respond to caller questions and offer to mail FA information packets to individuals
- Reached out to Chapter Members, via the Chapter Highlights, to seek volunteers willing to help with PI activities.
Office Committee: MEOffice@foodaddicts.org
- Completed the transition of Chapter Board member emails from Yahoo mail to Gmail.
- Continued to offer support and training, as needed, for the Chapter Board to use the Google Drives Archives system. Uploaded all historical information to the Drive by March 2020.
- Continued to offer support and training as the Chapter Board and Committees acclimated to using Google Drive as a secure online workspace.
- Communicated with WSO to keep the Chapter pages of the FA Website up to date.
- Produced a monthly Database and Directory Report.
- Produced and distributed the monthly Maine Chapter Meeting Directory to Chapter Contacts and other interested persons/organizations.
- Distributed FA Maine Chapter Highlights & and the 12th Step Service List to Chapter Contacts monthly.
- Maintained Chapter affiliated meeting registration database.
- Maintained Chapter Post Office Box in Augusta.
- Distributed to Meeting Contacts (at the time called Web and Directory Contacts) for each meeting registered with the Chapter a “Manage Meetings” document to support Meeting Contacts in making needed changes to the FA website.
- Communicated with Meeting Contacts (at the time called Web and Directory Contacts) for each meeting registered with the Chapter, to determine concerns related to meeting registration and Contact position changes being made regularly on the FA website.
- Assisted FA members with navigating the FA website, accessing information and updating their profiles, upon individual request from FA members.
- Distributed up to date information to the Chapter fellowship related to changes following the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Completed Job Descriptions for the Office Committee Chair and the Office Committee Mail Coordinator.
- Discussed use of the foodaddicts.org website and its capability to run reports to support the work of the Office Committee. Reviewed reports able to be run, including a list of all contacts for each meeting, with email addresses, phone numbers, etc. Provided training to Chapter Chair and Vice Chair about use of these features.
Bylaws Committee: MEBylaws@foodaddicts.org
- Welcomed a new Bylaws Chair.
- Focused on increasing knowledge regarding governing documents, EAI Bylaws and the Twelve Traditions.
- Provided feedback to the Chapter after exploring with EAI and the WSI Inquiry Response Committee the pros and cons regarding questions raised at the meeting level.
Intergroup Liaison: MEIGliaison@foodaddicts.org
- Facilitated collaboration with EAI to carry the message of recovery and support local meetings.
- Attended monthly EAI Service Group Support Committee via conference call.
- Informed the Chapter regarding EAI resources, current issues, activities and events.
- Encouraged EAI Contacts in meetings affiliated with the Chapter to update EAI contact information and participate at group level, by reading reports, EAI Meeting Health Question and attending Chapter, whenever possible.
Twelfth Step Committee: ME12thstep@foodaddicts.org
- Convened monthly committee meetings to discuss and plan Twelfth Step projects and activities.
- Organized and provided a monthly orientation for FA members attending the Chapter Meeting for the first time.
- Offered FA Conference approved literature for purchase at the Chapter Meeting.
- Updated the Twelfth Step Outreach/Service List monthly. This list includes contact information for fellows, with 90 days of abstinence and a FA sponsor, who are willing to be contacted to do service like leading a meeting, providing rides to meetings, or participating in homebound meetings.
- Coordinated and collaborated with the WSI Twelfth Step World Service Committee.
- Encouraged members to travel to support new meetings and meeting on the Chapter’s frontier.
- Hosted a Chapter-wide “connection Writing, Art and Photography Session.”
- Presented a Twelfth Step Service skit to the Maine Chapter. The skit generated a lively sharing session about the joys and fears of doing service.
- Continued to work to develop a Twelfth Step Highlight Calendar to inform meetings of upcoming events (Chapter Meetings, Meeting Support Day, EAI Service Support Weekend, World service Business Convention).
- Provided Gratitude/Thank-a-thon information to meetings and supported groups that hosted meetings on Thanksgiving/Holidays.
- Planned the Annual Maine Meeting Support Day and Annual FA Maine Chapter Awareness Day. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 restrictions, both events were cancelled/postponed
- Transitioned Twelfth Step historical and working documents to the Chapter’s secure online work space.
- Began the process of using the online workspace for Twelfth Step Committee coordination and collaboration.
HIGHLIGHTS FROM WSI COMMITTEES
PUBLIC INFORMATION COMMITTEE (ANNIE H., CHAIR)
Healthcare Outreach Subcommittee
We presented the Health Care Professional (HCP) Slide Show at nine information sessions. Two of these were presentations at universities for healthcare students, and one was part of a monthly bariatric patient support group meeting. The rest were presented at hospitals and small medical offices. Audience size varied from 4 to 30.
The committee has started work on a short video to inform HCPs that food addiction exists and is affecting many of their patients. The video will present information on FA as one solution to this problem.
Media Outreach Subcommittee
The Media Watch team sent out 411 emails to professionals and journalists who wrote or were referred to in articles about food addiction topics. Media Outreach provided lists of media contacts to local fellowships using our Cision Database. We also provided support as needed for 25 published interviews and articles in media sources in Melbourne, Western Australia, San Francisco, and Akron Ohio.
Digital Outreach Subcommittee
- Podcasts Subcommittee: There are now 25 audio recordings of FA member’s stories up on our FA Podcast channel. Over the past year there have been over 45,000 downloads, and FA podcast availability has been particularly helpful during this time of a pandemic. Working with the Literature Committee we are in the process of evaluating all of our existing speaker recordings with the goal of uploading as many stories as possible to our Podcast platform.
- Google AdWords Subcommittee: Google AdWords brought in approximately 325,000 users to our website, reflecting a 97% increase from the previous year. 60% of our users came through mobile phones.
- Google Analytics Subcommittee: Total traffic (users) to the FA website was 455,500 (up 50% from previous year)
- Google Alerts Subcommittee: The Google Alerts team sent 1,570 articles to Media Watch and 500 articles to Blog Watch for follow up.
- Blog Watch Subcommittee: The Blog Watch team posted comments with information about FA on 159 blogs and articles relating to food addiction. We have begun outreach in China and Taiwan and have translated the Blog Watch posts into Mandarin, so that they may be posted in those countries.
- Weblinks Subcommittee: A link to the FA website was added to 252 other websites, including colleges and other health referral organizations. Approximately 9,000 people found our FA website by clicking on one of these links.
- College Outreach Subcommittee: We worked with area coordinators in California, Maine, Massachusetts, New York and Florida to send over 2,000 emails to 190 colleges. We received responses from 14 schools, and we were able to help them inform their students and staff about FA by providing literature and holding on-campus FA Information Sessions.
PI Tools and Operations
We informed the FA fellowship about available PI tools and online resources and encouraged members to use updated, more current resources in the PI Section of the FA website rather than the print version last revised in 2013. We consulted with the Gratitude in Action (GIA) editor to highlight PI work in three issues of the GIA Newsletter. We emailed all registered PI representatives the link to the revised document “Help for PI Representatives”. and we presented updated PI tools at:
- Western Area Intergroup (WAI) PI Committee in August
- Eastern Area Intergroup general session in October
- WSI Local Service Group (LSG) support call
- Frontier support call in December
- WAI Pacific Rim call to support PI reps and LSG work.
Additionally, we posted an updated template of a general article/press release to offer to interested journalists and completed a set of stickers to help members world-wide to customize Health Care Brochures with local information.
We also worked as part of Digital Strategies Committee to draft an updated Social Media Policy to present to the Traditions Committee.
Western Area Intergroup (WAI)
The Community Outreach Subcommittee worked with local service groups to respond to requests for Public Information sessions from community organizations, universities, health care establishments, and local diabetes support groups, we trained fellows in Northern California to use the Healthcare Professional Slide Show and coordinated with others around the country to identify and implement best practices for presenting it. We completed 13 college and community health fairs, 2 information sessions and 4 FA slideshow presentations. The WAI PI Committee continued to support the Pacific Rim fellowship in their PI activities by holding semi-annual conference calls, cohosted with the WAI Service Group Support Committee.
Eastern Area Intergroup (EAI)
For the last few months the EAI committee meetings have centered around how to reach the still suffering food addict during this time of limited public gatherings. We focused on weblinks and media watch activities when we see articles/websites that have articles or resources for those suffering from weight gain related to being “sheltered in place”. We have also been focusing on ways to direct newcomers to our phone gatherings.
In addition, we acquired a laptop and projector to use for Healthcare Professional Slide Show presentations, and to provide Zoom access to our monthly PI calls and committee meetings. There was a PI Resources "deep dive" at the EAI Body meeting in October and also at the Service Group Support Committee meeting in May. There was a successful Information Session at Debra's Natural Foods in Concord MA in September, as a result of a project started in 2018 where we outreached to religious institutions that have monthly support groups for women/moms.
OFFICE COMMITTEE (JAN B., CHAIR)
As I started to write the annual report for the FA Office, all I could remember was life since COVID-19. It was encouraging and refreshing to remember before March of this year and look at how much our FA Office has accomplished. Here’s a rundown of some of the year’s larger projects. Thank you to our Office Director Adrienne Chiles for all her work — before and during COVID-19.
The FA Office, working with the Convention Chair, coordinated registration and convention logistics for 348 FA members at the Saddlebrook Resort in Tampa Florida last October.
Health Care brochure and online presence
We began selling the “FA and the Health Care Professional” brochure on the FA website last fall and added For the Health Care Professional page to the FA website.
The Office completed the 2019-20 census, which informs us that our worldwide membership has grown to 10,000 food addicts.
Ability to make all donations online
Members and meetings can now make online donations to World Service, Eastern Area and Western Area Intergroups, and the Maine Chapter on the FA website.
New FA website
A large focus of the FA Office is the FA website. It has two purposes: to reach still suffering food addicts in their search for a solution to our disease, and to provide our members with the information and services (i.e., literature, mp3s, and registration) we need. We are currently working on a new FA website that will upgrade our mobile design; meeting, shopping, and user experience and interface; search engine optimization; and accessibility.
Annual FA Business Convention and COVID-19
By early March, more than 400 members of FA registered for this year’s business convention in Danvers Massachusetts. Two weeks later, the effects of the global pandemic were felt, the world began to close down and this year’s convention was cancelled. The FA Office sadly and quickly processed full refunds for everyone who registered.
Since March, the FA Office has responded to questions from still suffering food addicts, and members, and kept the FA website up to date with the latest information about COVID-19, meetings, and communication from the World Service Board. The FA Office continues to assist the newcomer, FA members, Intergroups, and our Chapter as requested. We also continue to update the current FA website and its functions, including the online ordering of FA materials while we work on the new site.
Digital Strategy Committee
Our Digital Strategy Committee continues to meet monthly to evaluate and improve online ways of reaching still suffering food addicts.
The FA Office is working with the Literature Committee to make the audio and eBook versions of the FA book available on Amazon in the very near future.
FA literature in other languages
The FA Office is working with the Literature Committee on the printing and distribution of the German translations of FA literature.
TWELFTH STEP COMMITTEE (REGINA M., CHAIR)
During this last year, the Twelfth Step Committee carried out its mission: to help members of the fellowship grow in recovery through service at meetings, intergroups, chapters, and World Service; to develop written and audio resources for members via phone and internet; and offer support to those members isolated due to distance, language barriers, and physical limitations.
Gratitude in Action: GIA@foodaddicts.org
- Published four editions of the email newsletter.
- Devoted the December edition to encouraging all fellows to attend Business Convention and exploring the benefits of serving as a World Service Conference Member.
- Accelerated publication of a newsletter on giving service during the pandemic.
Meeting Effectiveness Support and Assistance (MESA): MESA@foodaddicts.org
- Posted “Guidance on Behavior Issues at FA Meetings” to the FA website.
- Completed the MESA Rep service position description and Meeting Effectiveness Questions.
- Conducted four Information Calls about the MESA rep position.
- Developed Practical COVID Considerations for Registered FA Meetings and conducted two Resource Calls on the topic.
- Responded to approximately two dozen MESA Helpline inquiries
World Service Conference Member Subcommittee
Before this ad hoc subcommittee completed its work and disbanded in June 2020, it
- Developed, implemented, and analyzed the results of a questionnaire, learning that 45% of meetings surveyed had no one eligible to be a WSCM
- Found that individual eligible members did not attend WSC due to: too expensive or work related issues 20%; lack of interest (18%); bad time of year (graduation, weddings) (7%); family or health issues (4%); missed or forgot registration (4%).
Frontier Subcommittee: email@example.com
- Recommended changes to the website for newcomer to more easily access the Digital Newcomer’s packet, links to the WSB letters during the pandemic, and the Meeting Contact.
- Collaborated with other FA fellows to post new language on Why Food Addicts Need In Person Meetings on the website.
- Discontinued Frontier Resource Calls during the pandemic as frontier fellows had access to online gatherings.
LITERATURE COMMITTEE (KAREN B., CHAIR)
Writing and Editing Subcommittee (WES)
- Retitled and lightly edited the Anorexic? Bulimic? pamphlet at WSB’s request. It is now called Bulimic? Undereating? Underweight?
- Wrote a blurb for the website for the new pamphlet "Food Addiction and the FA Solution"
- Proposed and attained Board Approval of a new pamphlet consisting of the first two chapters of the FA book. Worked with the Design Committee and wrote a preface.
- Reviewed current pamphlets and proposed a revision of five.
- Proposed a series of phone calls to solicit input from the fellowship on future FA literature
- Obtained catalog of ISBN numbers for now and future library of work
- Board approval to place FA eBook and audiobook on Amazon to be uploaded fall 2020
- Investigating print on demand possibilities that may also translate and design literature
- The Food Addicts in Recovery e-book is available on Amazon.com.
- Posted four June business convention recordings to FA website and made available as podcasts.
- Recorded six recordings at October fellowship convention (four in English, two in Mandarin) available as MP3’s and podcasts.
- Worked with Digital Strategies on developing intro/outro for podcasts.
- Collaborated with the PI Committee on development of policies and procedures for the recording, editing, and publishing of FA qualifications for publication as Podcasts.
- Chose six speakers for the 2020 Business Convention. (Recording of the speakers has been postponed due to the cancellation of the 2020 Business Convention).
- Working with Fleetwood on how to record qualifications during pandemic
- Developing a literature survey for fellowship--on final edit
- Distributed communication to EAI and WAI on new pamphlet “Food Addiction and the FA Solution”
- Started highlighting a piece of literature monthly
- Oversaw professional translation into German of the newcomer packet, “Food Addiction and the FA Solution,” “Living Abstinently,” and the updated Health Care brochure.
- Collaborating with Design Committee, Operations Committee, and PoliLingua to finalize design of the three German pamphlets
- Completed Spanish translation and editing of the FA book, “Food Addiction and the FA Solution,” and the new health care brochure. They are now with the Design Committee.
- Updated the Spanish meeting format using a professional translator.
TRADITIONS COMMITTEE (CHERYL W., CHAIR)
The TRC’s mandate is to consider how the Twelve Traditions guide us on various issues or situations raised by FA members or service groups. Inquiries are submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org, the committee meets to discuss the situations, then shares their opinion with the inquirer. The TRC is not a governing or policing body, nor does it get involved in resolving the issue; rather, it enables the person(s) to deal with the situation or the other person(s) involved.
In addition, during this period, the committee discussed:
- The TRC reviewed the Social Media policy with the Digital Strategies Team.
- The TRC discussed the impact of the Covid-19 on meetings.
- The TRC reviewed a possible motion re: grandfathering any previous WSB, WAI, EAI or chapter board member as a WSC voting member.
From January-June 2020, the TRC received eleven inquiries. Seven Responded to by Chair (based on historical record)
- Speaker calling into meeting
- FA statement re: medications
- Meeting representatives signing a contract with meeting site.
- Meeting bank account and electronic payment
- Meeting shutdown because of Covid-19
- FA gatherings and the 90 day abstinence requirement
Two Referred to other committees
- Drinking water and use of electronics at meetings – referred to MESA
- Use of Facebook page by Chapter and LSG – referred to Public Information Committee
Two discussed and addressed by the Traditions Committee (detailed inquiries & responses below):
- Fellow using FA phone list to solicit for outside workshop
- FA EAI Maine Chapter Liability Insurance Inquiry
Inquiry 09/19-3 Fellow using FA phone list to solicit for outside workshop
Issue: A member received an email from an FA fellow who used FA Meeting phone lists to solicit for an “Emotional Sobriety” workshop facilitated by a non-FA member that runs a business where he facilitates workshops based on his interpretation of the Twelve Steps. The request enclosed a flyer and registration form that outline the intent to complete a “deep dive” into Steps 10, 11 and 12 with opportunities for small and large group questions and sharing and experiential learning. The member asked the Traditions Review Committee to provide their thoughts on the appropriateness of the marketing this outside business to FA members at all and specifically using the FA Meeting phone lists.
Response: The TRC reviewed this inquiry and were clear that even though this workshop uses AA’s Twelve Steps in its curriculum there are multiple Traditions related concerns regarding this outside enterprise and the way it is being marketed to FA members. The issue of using FA Meeting phone and email lists has come up many times in the past and the TRC will take this opportunity to reiterate reasons why the use of these meeting lists to promote outside enterprises is in conflict with the vital principles of FA.
- Traditions One and Five underscore the fact that the common welfare of FA is affected when FA Meeting Group lists are used by outside enterprises to solicit participation in non- FA Twelve Step-related enterprises such as this workshop. FA members, particularly vulnerable newcomers, come to FA to receive the FA program, as it is laid out in the FA literature and at FA meetings. Confusion is likely when members provide their contact information expecting to receive FA communication and instead, they receive promotion material or invitations to join outside ventures. Tradition 1 protects members and groups from the potential for disunity between members forwarding these solicitations and other members involuntarily on the receiving end. Tradition 5 advises groups to focus on our primary purpose—to carry the FA message to the food addict who still suffers. The marketing of this outside workshop through the FA group contact list diverts the group from FA’s primary purpose.
- Tradition Six states that an FA group ought never endorse or lend the FA name to any related facility or outside enterprise. Each twelve-step program is a separate enterprise and thus cross-promotion is not in line with Tradition 6. In an attempt to accord with this
Tradition, the workshop’s promotional flyer states that “this workshop is not affiliated with any twelve-step fellowship, it is all inclusive and open to anyone interested in optimal
living.” That said, the issue is not the content of the promotional material in question, it is
that FA group members are linking FA with this outside enterprise because they are distributing promotional material on the workshop’s behalf using FA contact lists. To implement this Tradition, FA’s bylaws restrict materials to be placed on FA meeting
literature tables and exclude this type of material. The TRC believes that the same principle applies to the mass distribution of the workshop promotional material by email through FA group contact lists. One-on-one interaction between members on the individual level at meetings, on the phone or by email of this type of information is not guided by the Traditions so this principle would not apply.
- Tradition Twelve states that anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions. This is one of the most critical principals of the FA program. FA members receiving an email promoting this workshop, knowing their contact information was taken from an FA Meeting Group contact list, and used by an outside organization are likely to feel that their anonymity and privacy has been breached. FA Meeting Groups must ensure that we maintain an environment of trust in our meetings so that members, particularly newcomers, feel safe that their contact information will be kept confidential and not be used for non-FA purposes.
If this is an ongoing issue, the group conscience may choose to add a note at the bottom of meeting list stating, “Please respect the privacy of FA members and only use the contact information on this list for internal FA member communication and not for any other purposes.”
The TRC has suggested that people are at their own risk when they agree to put their names on any FA contact information lists. The TRC recommends that the inquirer contact the person using the FA meeting contact information inappropriately to explain the rationale as set out above and request that they not to use FA member contact information going forward. The FA World Service Board may want to add something on this topic to the Meeting Guidelines documents relating to the meeting phone list and phone list person.
Inquiry 03/20-1 FA EAI Maine Chapter Liability Insurance Inquiry
Issue: Is it a violation of the Traditions for the FA EAI Maine Chapter to allow FA meetings affiliated with the Chapter to use the liability insurance purchased by the chapter?
Response: The TRC does not see any direct conflict with the Traditions, but there are considerations related to the Traditions.
- Tradition Four (Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or F.A. as a whole) provides for meetings to be autonomous and allows them the opportunity to decide how they will independently provide insurance for their meetings. Tradition 4 also reminds us all that meeting decisions must consider how those decisions will affect FA as a whole. Ill-informed decisions regarding insurance could impact the whole fellowship of FA. For example, if meetings use Chapter insurance, which does not end up covering the meeting, and there is an insurance claim, the FA organization could be brought into that claim situation.
- Tradition Seven (Every F.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.) allows each group to decide through group conscience if they wish to use Seventh Tradition funds to pay for insurance.
The TRC recommends that the EAI should be consulted on this question. They have experience in this regard. EAI had insurance that was being used to cover meetings throughout EAI. Years later when a claim occurred, it was made clear that the meetings were not actually covered. EAI has since advised meetings to get their own insurance, as required by their landlords to ensure that the meeting is in fact covered.
The TRC members are not insurance experts but they see some potential issues regarding the Traditions if meetings were to use the insurance purchased by their Chapter.
CONVENTION PLANNING COMMITTEE (VANESSA C., CHAIR)
Due to the coronavirus, the 2020 Business Convention was cancelled. Planning for the 2021 Business Convention, to be held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel from June 4-6, will begin in November 2020.
SERVICE GROUP SUPPORT COMMITTEE (PAM K., CHAIR)
The Service Group Support Core Committee consists of the following members:
- Secretary/Forum Planning Committee Chair
- Eastern Area Intergroup (EAI) SGSC Chair (ex-officio)
- Western Area Intergroup (WAI) SGSC Chair (ex-officio)
- Maine Chapter Chair (ex-officio)
- LSG Guidelines and Recommendations Ad Hoc Committee Chair
- EAI Local Service Group (LSG) Representative
- Gratitude In Action Liaison Sub-Committee Chair
- Education and Information Sub-Committee Chair
The Core Committee meets bi-monthly to discuss ways to develop and maintain Intergroups, Chapters and LSGs and to support these groups as they assist their meetings in reaching food addicts who still suffer. The Core Committee is charged with creating an arena for cooperative work and instructive dialogue between other World Service Committees and the World Service Board (WSB).
The SGSC Chair, WAI Chair and EAI Chair meet quarterly. Working together fosters communication among the Intergroups and the World Service Board.
The SGSC holds bi-monthly calls for all who are interested in getting the FA message out through the efforts of Local Service Groups (LSG). Relevant topic(s) are covered on each call starting with a short introduction followed by discussion and Q&A about ways the topic(s) helps with our primary purpose - to reach the still suffering food addict. In addition, we look at ways to promote unity and strengthen fellowship across the local area meetings.
These calls are not geared only to those areas with an active LSG. Areas thinking about starting an LSG benefit from hearing others from around the globe share on initiatives that have been successful as well as those initiatives that did not hit their mark.
The Education and Information Sub-Committee offered the following call topics for the last year:
- It's Your Call: Working Together to Make the Most of It
- LSG Guidelines and Recommendations Deep Dive
- Focus on Sacramento and Toronto LSGs
- It Takes A Village: LSGs Working Together to Co-ordinate a Successful Info Session (Part One focused on LSG's upfront preparation to increase the effectiveness of an Information Session and Part Two focused on working together for productive follow- up after the Info Session.
- Writing is Right for The Fellowship - connections Workshops for LSGs
- FA Website Overview (a general overview was followed by a PI-focused tour)
- Staying Connected: Using Telephone Trees
In conjunction with the Twelfth Step Committee, the Gratitude in Action Liaison Sub-Committee launched the LSG Spotlight in "Gratitude in Action." The focus of the articles highlights the work of LSGs and ways doing service with an LSG enhances personal recovery.
The SGSC maintains a document titled “Local Service Group Guidelines and Recommendations.” It is posted under the "Service Group Support" section of the FA website. Always under review for necessary changes, we have completed a detailed review and will be rolling out the revised document in the near future.
The SGSC brought back the Forum at the 2018 Business Convention. It was clear from the number of people in attendance and the positive comments written on the evaluations that the Forum should be repeated in 2019. Again, attendance and evaluations were positive and the SGSC Forum Planning Sub-Committee was well on its way to planning the Forum for the Friday afternoon at the 2020 Business Convention. As that didn't happen, we are currently looking at ways to offer a virtual Forum to the fellowship. Stay tuned!!
CONNECTION COMMITTEE (DOM K., CHAIR)
The connection Committee is always working to make connection magazine more accessible to everyone in our fellowship. The July/August issue includes an article in German. We will continue periodically publishing articles in other languages as we explore how to share the message of recovery through connection to our non-English speaking fellows in the US and around the world.
On a similar note, we are exploring making connection available in audio format for our FA fellows who are blind or who have visual impairment. We hope to start testing something with that soon.
In May, we published a special digital issue of connection that featured stories of recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic. The response to that issue was overwhelming in the best way, and we hope to be able to explore other special issues in the future.
Additionally, we have started ramping up our digital writing sessions amidst the pandemic. Hundreds of fellows from around the world have joined us for these collaborative online sessions that help us all learn best practices for writing for connection magazine. We just started a Writing Session subcommittee led by Angie R. from NY, and we'll soon have more opportunities to do these as the subcommittee starts to strategize.
Looking ahead, we're very much in need of more art and articles! We are particularly looking for articles from people with experience staying abstinent on the Frontier. Because we are all currently at home and not going to face-to-face meetings, we are expanding our internal connection definition of the Frontier to include all of us during the pandemic. So, if you have a story to share from staying abstinent during this time, please submit! We would love to feature it in this section.
Lastly, if you have submitted articles or art recently, please resubmit via email to email@example.com. We have been having issues with our online submission form and want to make sure we receive all of your submissions. If you plan to submit something soon, please send to that email address as well instead of submitting on the connection website.
Thank you for helping us make connection such a special piece of literature for our fellowship!