Annual Report - 2009
May 29–31, 2009
This Convention Report was prepared by the FA-WSI Secretary Margaret H., with assistance from the FA World Service Board and the FA World Service Office Staff
Opening Remarks by the FA-WSI Chair
When FA began in Massachusetts, USA, everyone commuted to the same meetings in the city of Chelsea. Even when people moved away, they all had sponsors who were directly connected with the Chelsea meetings. Today, FA and its World Service organization have grown beyond what we could ever have imagined. We now have over 3,500 members, three intergroups, four chapters, and more than 400 meetings in a number of different countries, including Canada, Germany, and Australia. Probably the majority of FA members have never heard of Chelsea, Massachusetts.
WSI is a much more complicated organization now, though our challenge remains the same: to support the strength and meet the service needs of meetings throughout the world. As we begin our work together today, I would like to highlight that context and then talk about who you are, as the World Service Conference; who we are as the World Service Board; and the nature of our work together.
The World Service Conference
Last year’s revision of the bylaws caused us to rethink every aspect of our organization’s structures and processes. As is the case in AA, FA’s business is conducted by a board, with ultimate authority for decisions resting with the World Service Conference (WSC) – FA members speaking for and guiding the fellowship as a whole through their group conscience.
When we established the WSC, we referred to members as â€•delegates. We used to say that each delegate served as the representative of his or her meeting. We made the abstinence requirement for service low so that we could maximize representation.
As we worked on revising the bylaws, we realized that our reality was not reflected in the policies governing some of our structures. Could or should a person represent a meeting? This implies that the needs of a meeting in Alaska differ from those of one in Sydney, Australia, that the needs of a food addict in each area are different, and that each representative should consult his or her meeting and then vote accordingly.
In fact, though, we do not operate on a model of representative government. By its affirmation of the revised bylaws last year, the WSC affirmed that our needs are met through the efforts of trusted servants, not representatives. Though all food addicts in FA recovery are just food addicts in recovery, there are stages of recovery and levels of service appropriate to each. We ask members with a solid time of continuous abstinence to act as our servants. And while it looks like their decisions are made through voting, they are actually made through prayer and group conscience, as each person seeks to find the best way to meet the needs of the newcomer and FA as a whole.
As members of the WSC, you do not represent your groups. You are each a trusted servant of the whole. Therefore, we ask you and ourselves to think about the needs of all food addicts seeking recovery as you pray for guidance. Have an open mind to new information and new ideas. Have humility. But we also need to be brave and speak. These two days at the convention are not separate from our daily lives. The Steps, the principles of recovery, and the God we ask to help us through each day will show us the way forward.
The World Service Board
The WSB exists solely to serve the FA fellowship and you! You should be able to ask for literature and receive it quickly, for meeting lists, for a website that has the information you need. You should have, in us, a resource you trust when you wonder how to approach the media or think that your meeting practices may be in tension with one or more of the Traditions. If we are doing our job well, you should hardly know that we are here because you get what you need when just you need it. You should feel organizational support for individual recovery, the well- being of your meetings, and your own Twelfth Step work.
As FA has grown, the WSB has been challenged to grow with it. Recently, I was speaking about our work with a friend who is a management consultant. He observed that usually a board directs others to handle all of the organization’s operations. In our case, WSB members do double duty, taking care of both board work and operations. We have outgrown our infrastructures, and the work load has almost increased beyond what can be handled by any one chair, each of whom is, after all, volunteer.
In another sense, too, the WSB wears two hats. On the one hand, we are, above all, a spiritually based group charged to give our service to the whole of FA. On the other, as I have had to learn over the past couple years, we are a small non-profit business. WSI is responsible for rent for a large office, for the production and sale of literature and CDs, for personnel compensation, and a large annual budget. We are at the point now where we need to consult occasionally with lawyers, accountants, and, certainly, a parliamentarian.
WSI needs help, but I am aware that we should not rob people from intergroups and chapters to find the assistance we need. We exist to support their work, too. World Service work is not more important than efforts at the area or local level. I urge that you not privilege in your minds the WSB. It is not more prestigious or significant to be involved at the WSI level. The central work of FA is individual – the conversations between sponsor and sponsee, between meeting members and newcomers – and thus the good service of chapters and intergroups is vital, too.
Our Work Together
I have heard that Dr. Bob’s last words to Bill W. were his admonition that the fellowship should keep it simple and not mess it up. These are good words for us. We must keep it simple. FA is God-given, and its essential principles embody unchanging, simple truths.
- We are unified by our definition of abstinence and our clear understanding that the boundaries of abstinence do not change with shifts in circumstances or settings. Nuts and dried fruits are not on our food plans. We do not go to a salad bar and put them into a bowl with lettuce as ingredients in a salad – so defined because all the ingredients are from a salad bar.
- Isolation is a core part of our illness. We cannot get well if we continue to isolate. At our meetings, we stand up, face the room, and do service at whatever level we are able, whether by reading or by sharing. FA is a high priority for us, and we need contact with other food addicts in recovery. We don’t rationalize going to NA or AA simply because those meetings happen to be shorter and scheduled to our liking. Telephone conference calls are not meetings.
- We do the disciplines to put the food down, and we do the Steps so that we can keep the food down. We do not â€•studyâ€– the Steps, we do them. This takes time – always more than a year. We make participation in AWOL a priority and do not change our open FA meetings into Step meetings. A newcomer hearing a discussion of the Fifth or the Ninth Steps might well be frightened enough never to return and would leave without ever knowing that there were people in the room with whom he or she could identify.
- We are rigorous in our own programs and faithful in our efforts to pass on what we have been given. People coming into our rooms are dying. Whether or not our suggestions make them angry, we can’t water down the program. We have a responsibility to be respectful, good listeners who also aren’t afraid to ask hard questions and say what we really think.
- We need to grow up. Early on, I was struck by Bill’s story that psychologists who did a study of alcoholics discovered that immaturity was a characteristic common to all of them. We have been given a great gift, and our own recovery will be strong only if we exert ourselves. After a certain point, we need to stand up and get going. If we’re alone without a fellowship, we must get busy! I can have a great program, even if I’m completely alone. All I need to do is to remember Bill W. and Dr. Bob. Like them, I need to go out and find a suffering food addict who has never heard of FA. If we are alone, we can take FA literature to anyone who might come in contact with food addicts – doctors, nurse practitioners, dentists, personal trainers, chiropractors, massage therapists, counselors, priests, rabbis, ministers, nutritionists, employee assistance personnel. We can put up notices listing a phone number where we can be reached or have small announcements put in local newspapers. Even without a meeting, we can talk individually with anyone responding and help them begin if they are ready. When we have one or two sponsees, we can start a meeting, and once there are a few people with six months of abstinence, we can list the meeting with WSI and publish it in the papers.
When Dr. Bob and Bill talked about not â€•messing it up, I am guessing they might have been alluding to denial. Unless I live this program each day, I’ll relapse into denial. I can’t rationalize if I’m forty or even ten pounds overweight, if I’m underweight or madly eating diet mints. We must also watch for denial within our organization. The chairs must maintain a credible body size, and the Board needs to respond honestly to questions raised by members of the fellowship. We have no authority to govern, but we have a responsibility to share our understanding of the FA practices that have worked so well for hundreds of recovering food addicts.
Our challenge today is to keep the FA message and recovery as strong as it was when there were fifty people sitting in a church in Chelsea, despite the fact that there are now more than three thousand of us, and we are separated by oceans.
When a man enters an FA meeting leaning heavily on a cane because he is 5’4 and weighs 380 pounds, when a woman walks in who is fifteen pounds underweight and has dark gray teeth because the enamel has been worn away by a lifetime of bulimia, when a call comes from someone frightened to put down the food after three institutionalizations and two suicide attempts, we need to be ready. Together, we are working to make an organization that is known for offering immediate hope to food addicts and the promise of a solution. We are responsible.
Motions and Voting Results
MOTION 1: COMMITTEE PROCEDURES
Text of Motion:
The following section shall be added to Article IX Committees of the bylaws: Section 11. Procedures
Committees are authorized to adopt their own procedures, to be effective immediately, subject to review, amendment, or rescission by the WSB. Any such committee procedures or changes to such procedures shall be reported to the WSB upon adoption or amendment. The World Service Conference shall be notified in the next annual WSC members’ notice of the fact that procedures have been adopted or amended and that the details will be available from the WSO. In case of dispute, the Conference shall determine whether a procedure adopted by a committee is within the power of the committee.
The following footnote or â€•provisoâ€– shall be added to the bylaws following Article IX Committees, Section 11:
The addition of section 11 to these bylaws does not have the effect of automatically rescinding all previously adopted committee procedures. Committees do have the authority to amend or rescind specific committee procedures in accordance with section 11, notwithstanding that such committee procedures were previously adopted by the Conference.
Outcome: Passed unanimously after questions but no debate.
MOTION 2. WORLD SERVICE BOARD PROCEDURES
Text of Motion:
Article VI Board of Trustees of the bylaws is amended by striking subsection 3(e) and adding a new subsection 2(c) as follows:
(c) The WSB is authorized to adopt its own procedures, to be effective immediately, subject to review, amendment, or rescission by the World Service Conference. The WS Conference shall be notified in the next annual WSC members’ notice of the fact that procedures have been adopted or amended and that the details will be available from the WSO.
Outcome: Passed unanimously after questions but no debate.
MOTION 3: CONFERENCE-ADOPTED POLICIES
Text of Motion:
The approval of the Conference of WSI shall be sought for those policies that are to be administered by the board and that affect FA or WSI as a whole. These are to be designated Conference-adopted policies, and they are to be adopted and amended as motions in accordance with the Conference’s usual procedures. In case of dispute, the Conference shall determine whether a policy adopted by the board affects FA or WSI as a whole.
Outcome: Passed unanimously without discussion.
MOTION 4: theconnection MAGAZINE Text of Motion:
The World Service Board moves that the Conference recognize theconnection Magazine as the international journal of Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous.
Outcome: Passed unanimously after questions but no debate.
MOTION 5: FA CONFERENCE-APPROVED LITERATURE
Text of Motion:
2003 May (as amended in 2009)
- No materials may be offered for sale or distribution at an FA meeting, except as follows:
- Conference-approved literature (as listed below in subsection 2)
- Conference-recognized literature
- WSB-approved literature
- Materials distributed by the boards or committees of WSI, FA intergroups, or FA chapters
- Telephone lists (of registered FA meetings)
- Meeting directories (of registered FA meetings)
- FA Information Session notices
- FA Conference-Approved Literature includes:
- Twenty-Four Hours a Day (Hazelden)
- Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
- The Little Red Book (Hazelden)
- The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (AA)
- All FA pamphlets and books that have been approved by the World Service Conference, including those translated into other languages
Outcome: Passed as amended with no debate; 3 opposed.
MOTION 6: LITERATURE APPROVAL PROCESS POLICY
Text of Motion:
Conference-approved FA literature consists of works intended for the entire FA fellowship and made available to the public at large. Such literature shall be written or revised by or under the direct supervision of the Literature Committee. The process for the writing, revision, and approval of such literature is described below.
REQUESTS FOR LITERATURE
- Meetings, chapters, and intergroups (or their boards) may submit to the Literature Committee chair a written request for the writing or revision of a piece of literature. If approved by the Literature Committee, the request shall be taken to the World Service Board.
- Requests approved by the WSB are given to the Literature Committee for their direct action.
- Should it see need, the WSB may directly ask the Literature Committee to create or revise a piece of literature.
WRITING AND REVISION
- The Literature Committee or its subcommittee shall submit the completed draft of its work to the WSB to receive the board’s feedback and input. The draft shall then be returned to the committee for revision.
- This revised work shall be submitted to the board for its approval. Once approved, it will be deemed ready to submit to the fellowship for feedback.
- The final revision process will begin with a minimum of thirty days posting on the WSI website to allow for review and submission of comments by members of the FA fellowship.
- Within the next sixty days, the Literature Committee shall thoughtfully consider all feedback, further edit the draft as it deems necessary, receive comments from the WSB, and submit a final revision of the draft to the WSB for its approval.
- The final, WSB-approved draft of the proposed literature shall be posted thirty days prior to the World Service Business Convention, where it shall be presented as a motion for adoption by the World Service Conference.
- At the World Service Business Convention, work approved by the WSB and proposed for Conference approval shall be discussed, approved as is, or sent back to the committee for further revision and presentation at the Business Convention the following year.
- Revisions shall be done in accordance with the timeline and process described above.
- Once approved by the World Service Conference, literature shall be formally deemed Conference approved.
Outcome: Passed after questions but no debate; 2 opposed.
MOTION 7: ANONYMITY, ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION, AND USE OF FA INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY
Text of Motion:
Registered FA meetings, intergroups, and chapters may freely use WSI materials owned or controlled by FA in registered FA meetings. Some examples of these materials are meeting formats, definition of a food addict, FA tools, and Meeting Guidelines. Use of such materials and any FA intellectual property is otherwise restricted. The World Service Conference directs that permission be obtained from the World Service Board by anyone wishing to use the FA logo, WSI materials, or other intellectual property on the internet or in any other medium of public communication.
Outcome: Passed as amended after debate; 2 opposed.
MOTION 8: SPONSORSHIP PAMPHLET
Text of Motion:
The World Service Conference delegates final revision of the pamphlet â€•Some Thoughts About Sponsoringâ€– to the World Service Board and authorizes the Board to publish the pamphlet within the coming year. By virtue of these actions, the final pamphlet will have Conference approval.
Outcome: Passed after debate; 85 in favor and 41 opposed.
III. Election of Officers
All board positions that were up for re-election were uncontested. Therefore, the body voted in the following trustees by acclamation: Margaret H. (formerly Margaret C.), secretary; Joan M., treasurer; Misch E., Chapter and Intergroup Support Committee; Jane M., Literature Committee; Bonnie H., Public Information Committee; and Jim S., Twelfth Step Committee.
IV. World Service Committee Reports
Bylaws Committee (Joshua P., Chair)
- Posted the final, 2008 World Service Conference-approved revision of the FA bylaws on the For Members section of www.foodaddicts.org.
- Formed the Special Committee on Governing Documents (a/k/a, the â€•governing docs committee). This ad hoc committee, initiated by the WSI Chair and brought together by the current bylaws chair, formally began work in November 2008 on a review of the FA governing documents for consistency with our newly revised WSI bylaws.
- Worked with our parliamentarian, Michael Malamut, to develop a new, simplified way of organizing WSI committee and WSB operating procedures. The central idea in the new concept was that committees and the WSB would henceforth only have â€•procedures, (a/k/a operating procedures) while the term â€•policiesâ€– would refer only to Conference resolutions that have ongoing effect (until this year known only as â€•continuing effect motions).
- Assisted WSI committees and the WSB with developing updated operating procedures. Since the board and committees do so much of the day-to-day work of FA world service, this was a logical starting place for carrying on our revision of the governing documents. While some parts of this process are still ongoing, the WSB and most committees have made substantial headway in completing useful new operating procedures documents. When finished, these procedures will contain important information about how FA world service is carried out, and will be useful for members of the fellowship wondering how to interact with the WSB or WSI committees. These procedures will be posted on the website as they are adopted.
- Feel free to contact the chair of the bylaws committee, Joshua P., at email@example.com if you have any questions relating to our bylaws or other governing documents.
Chapter and Intergroup Support Committee (George M., Chair)
- Continued to have a geographically diverse committee as an ongoing resource positioned to help the fellowship throughout the world: Representation from Australia, England, Washington State, Ohio, Washington DC, from California to Florida to Maine.
- Continued nurturing the development of the Michigan, Maine, Southern Florida, and Central Florida Chapters, and WAI, EAI and Unity Intergroups. The majority are thriving as communities.
- Supported pre-chapter activities, particularly Ohio, Washington State, Washington DC, and Australia.
- Advised Upstate New York Chapter as they chose to discontinue as a formal chapter.
- Planned two Chapter and Intergroup Support Forums - May 29, 2009, at the Business Convention and October 15, 2009, at the Fellowship Convention. Twelve breakout groups, with 300 + participants at the Business Convention. Anticipate 600 at the Fellowship Convention.
- Published Best Practices News Flash and other articles in the new Gratitude in Action newsletter.
- Assisted in communications between intergroups, chapters and the WSI Board.
- Coordinated quarterly chapter and intergroup chairs meetings to share communication and develop programs that meet FA’s needs.
- Worked closely with the Office Committee in improving the administrative systems and the use of our Website by Chapters and Intergroups.
- Continue to develop new ways to support service leaders as they organize to reach the newcomer.
- Increase support for those involved in pre-chapter activities.
- Increase communications between chapters and intergroups, and among chapters, intergroups, and the WSI Board.
- Continue to serve as resource to current chapters and intergroups.
theconnection Committee (Jacquie P., Chair)
- Created new Committee position: Writing Team Leader Coordinator.
- Enlarged Writing Team Leader group to increase geographic diversity in contributions.
- Enlarged Art Team membership.
- Sent Fellowship Letter regarding meeting subscriptions and Connection Reps.
- Reviewed and forwarded Committee Policies & Procedures to Governing Documents Subcommittee.
- Created hiring protocol for paid editor.
- Hired paid editor.
- Met our Committee objective to increase geographic diversity in contributions for each magazine edition.
Convention Planning Committee (Ann H., Chair)
The Convention Committee planned and facilitated the 2009 Business Convention by:
- Welcoming over 400 recovering food addicts to attend to FA World Service business at the Sheraton Ferncroft in Danvers, Massachusetts.
- Coordinating logistics with the hotel including meeting room selection and set-up, menu design, and audio-visual needs.
- Developing materials including registration documents, nomination and motion forms, and letters and notices to the fellowship, all transmitted electronically.
- Eliminating paper registration and working with the Office Committee to further streamline on-line registration and dissemination of information through the FA website.
- Coordinating with the FA-WSI office and working with intergroups to disseminate information to all FA members.
- Developing the convention agenda.
In addition, the Convention Committee continued the detailed planning of the second FA Fellowship Convention, to be held at the Santa Clara Marriott in Santa Clara, California, October 16–18, 2009, working with a group of dedicated volunteers in the San Francisco bay area.
- Plan and manage the next business convention to be held once again at the Sheraton Ferncroft Danvers Resort, June 4–6, 2010.
- Successfully plan, manage, and hold the Fellowship Convention in Santa Clara, California, with anticipated attendance of 800 FA members.
- Be mindful of the escalating costs of the conventions and plan accordingly.
- Continue to work closely with the intergroups and chapters to disseminate information about the conventions to our ever-growing fellowship.
- Work with the Chapter and Intergroup Support Committee to include a repeat of the Chapter and Intergroup Forum at the Fellowship Convention.
Literature Committee (Anne B., Chair)
- Finished editing stories and introductory chapters for FA book.
- Wrote draft of new sponsorship pamphlet.
- Created new titles for qualification CDs.
- Continue work on FA book with eventual goal of publication.
- Finalize new sponsorship pamphlet.
- Edit and revise as necessary other FA pamphlets.
Office Committee (Adrienne C., Chair)
- Completed the move of contents of the â€•fadocsâ€– website to the â€•for membersâ€– page of www.foodaddicts.org.
- Outsourced literature and CD production and shipping.
- Added online donation and translation button(s) on the website.
- Added online registration for conference members, the business convention, and the fellowship convention.
- Added new CDs to online ordering form.
- Welcomed new office manager for WSI.
- Developed the following sub-committees:
- World Service Office Support
- World Wide Meeting Directory
- Meeting Information and Registration
- FAQ (â€•Frequently Asked Questions)
- WSI Intergroup and Chapter Support Committee Liaison
- Online Services
- Formulated a sub-committee to develop a policy and procedure manual; this work is in process.
- Our focus today is to continue to manage the World Service Office, online services, and the World Wide Meeting Directory accuracy, complete the policy and procedure manual, add frequently asked questions for newcomers on the homepage of the FA website.
PI Committee (Bonnie H., Chair)
- This year the Census Committee did a tremendous job accumulating the membership count for the over 400 meetings in our fellowship and there are only 11 meetings left to account for. Next year we hope to completely implement it via the website.
Fact File and FA at a Glance
- Both are now completed and have gone to the World Service Board for approval. These documents will be helpful to the fellowship, the media, and the medical profession and will be placed on the Media Page of the website for everyone’s use
- This is a list of all the media addresses around the country. If you are having an Information Session or would like to get the word out for your local meeting, contact Tanya at firstname.lastname@example.org for a list of media in your area.
- If you come across websites that have a place for resources or links where FA might be included (i.e. an obesity site with a list of support groups; a personality’s site with tips for members; or a hospital, church, or city with community health resources) please email the website name and internet address to email@example.com. If you want to volunteer please mention that.
PI Kit Committee
- We are in the process of updating the letters to the Healthcare Professional and Clergy as well as adding information about Health Fairs and changing the questions on the format for Information Sessions. The major change, however, is removing the many references to www.fadocs.org which no longer exists.
- The Website Committee continues to update the stories on the Home Page and the Information Session Calendar as well as the â€•Media Pageâ€– which holds TV Interviews, Census Information and Press Releases. Also, the Public Information Section which holds the Public Service Announcements, PI Kit and all other PI info. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about PI work.
- Please contact email@example.com if you notice newspaper or magazine articles, TV or radio shows that you feel could benefit from hearing about FA.
- Plans are under way for a new survey. Teens and Twenties Committee
- We are contacting colleges around the country with a letter and a follow up call.
Because of interest from the fellowship we will also be looking into contacting the armed services.
The PI Committee has a Tri-Fold display appropriate for conventions that anyone can use and also through the FA Office you can order the Tri-Fold Banners which will only be available in chartreuse with black lettering (seen at the convention).
Traditions Review Committee (Sue G., Chair)
- Met monthly to review inquiries submitted by members of FA about possible violations of traditions. Prepared written responses to inquiries. Compiled an index of past questions submitted and responses given.
Twelfth Step Committee (Jamie M., Chair)
- To carry the message of experience, strength and hope within our fellowship.
- To facilitate communication and outreach to members on the â€•Frontierâ€– and members with language differences or physical constraints.
- To produce and distribute communication throughout our fellowship via Gratitude in Action, an e-newsletter of FA service.
- Continued to serve as a resource and guide for Twelfth Step service, addressing questions and concerns for FA members by facilitating communication and meeting special needs.
- Provided guidelines for accessibility for the FA-WSI Meeting Guidelines to inform meetings and individuals to make decisions to ensure that FA is available to all.
- The Gratitude in Action (GIA) e-letter was published in June as a 24-page edition, focusing on the history, organization and celebrating the 10th Anniversary of FA.
- Changed committee name from â€•Outlyingâ€– to â€•Frontierâ€–.
- Changed focus of FA Frontier Phone List from members with less than three meetings to people with no meetings.
- Maintained and distributed the FA-WSI Twelfth Step Committee FA WSI Frontier Sponsor List.
- Updated and distributed and the FA Universal Language Phone List.
- Assisted two new Spanish Speaking meetings with the necessary translations and possible speakers.
V. Intergroup and Chapter Reports
CENTRAL FLORIDA CHAPTER – Debbi N., Chair
Our Chapter serves just 5 meetings that are geographically close in proximity. We have a small group of members that participate in Chapter service. The Vice-Chair position has been vacant for over a year. We maintain a hotline, host 1-2 open information meetings a year, participate in 2-3 health fairs, provide the tri-fold pamphlet to our meetings, and send out regular PSA to local media.
Our meetings are held on the last Saturday of the month at 9:10 am, between the 8:00 am AWOL and the 10 am FA meeting. We were meeting every month until recently when the group decided to meet every other month. The focus of our Chapter meeting is changing to include more discussions about why we do what we do, how to reach the newcomer, and staging effective meetings.
July 1, 2008 Balance Forward - 1172.47
Contributions - 1832.68
Total - 3005.15
Telephone - 621.18
Printing - 158.63
EAI Donation - 250.00
WSI Donation - 750.00
Public Information - 150.00
Travel - 330.00
Total Expenses - 2259.81
Income less expense - 745.34
Balance in Checking June 30, 2009 - $745.34
MAINE CHAPTER - Patty R., Chair
The Maine Chapter of FA New England Intergroup has strengthened this past year. Attendance at chapter meetings has been consistently between 15-20 people on the 3rd Sunday of every month. A few highlights of our achievements follow, with detailed committee reports beginning on page 3.
- Instituted a system of â€•mentoring," whereby a member with less than 2 years abstinence may serve as a committee chair while being mentored by a longer-term member. Accepted a â€•Commitment of Officer and Committee Chairsâ€– outlining the role and responsibility of Board members.
- To increase participation in chapter meetings, we began including time for meetings to request speakers, for available sponsors to stand, and discussion time on a Meeting Effectiveness topic.
- Received an anonymous cash donation of $1,000. The funds are being designated for specific public information purposes to help us better reach the suffering food addicts in Maine.
- Developed a Welcome Letter and Orientation Packet for new, existing, and changing Chapter Contacts. The Meeting Liaison calls Chapter Contacts at least quarterly to help with meeting record accuracy, meeting effectiveness/health issues, and the nuts and bolts of running a business meeting.
- Changed phone number from a hotline to an information line to avoid misinterpretation as a crisis number.
- Were partially successful in listing FA in the free statewide Community Services section of phone directories, adding a distinct category for â€•Food Addictionâ€–. However, with major problems statewide with a new company providing phone service, these listings have not been realized.
- Listed the Maine Chapter Information Line in all 13 phone directories in the state of Maine.
- Trained Information Line volunteers how to respond to a healthcare professional calling indicating that they had run out of pamphlets for their rack and ensured that these pamphlets are sent in a timely manner.
- Archived most Maine Chapter documents in an electronically retrievable manner through the Maine Chapter Work Area on www.foodaddicts.org member pages.
- Held second annual Maine Chapter Support Day with 86 FA members in attendance. The day included the chapter meeting and two panel sessions Tools In Action and Meeting Effectiveness Tools, with lunch and a closing Q&A session. Evaluations were overwhelmingly positive.
- Placed paid announcements for FA Information Sessions in several statewide and local newspapers, along with free calendar listings on radio websites, area newspapers and cable stations.
- Delivered FA materials to University of Southern Maine student health and spiritual advisors. FA members shared their FA stories with students at an addiction class.
- Exhibited at two health fairs (Augusta and Rockland). Developed a list of Maine Health Fairs.
- FA members delivered 36 brochure racks with FA literature to libraries, doctor offices, health clubs, etc.
- Reviewed and discussed the entire PI Kit during the monthly Chapter Meetings throughout the year.
- Purchased a set of the three-panel FA banners for display at information sessions and health fairs.
- Made calls to each FA Maine Meeting Contact to encourage members to do service by becoming a PI representative for their respective meeting. Currently only three Maine Meetings have PI representatives.
- Worked with NEI Bylaws Committee to adopt a procedure for accepting and reviewing motions from meetings for the FA Business Convention. We did not receive any proposed motions from Maine meetings.
- Promoted the NEI Chapter Support Day by sending a flyer to all meetings and encouraging car pools. More than 15 FA members from Maine attended, with two board members serving as group leaders.
06/01/08 - Beginning Balance - $ 536.79
Total Income - $7,044.64
Total Expenses - $6,039.29
NEI $ - $ 842.44
WSI $ - $2,527.31
05/31/09 - Ending Balance - $1,542.14*
* NOTE: This includes a $1,000 donation received that is being spent on specific, public-outreach related expenses as directed by the Board, over the course of the 2009- 2010 FY.
Registered Meetings in Maine
Number of individual, registered meetings at beginning and end of fiscal year: 19
MICHIGAN CHAPTER – Lynn N., Chair
Once the Michigan Chapter finished all the â€•setting upâ€– issues, we have now moved on to the public information aspect of running a chapter. We talked to the Public Information Committee about doing two different Expos last summer but through much conversation with the traditions committee, we opted not to do both of them because they were thought to be too commercialized. Our focus right now has been on setting up booths as different health fairs all around Michigan. We have done several so far.
This year I have continued to support our chair by having open dialogue with the chair and doing whatever it is that the chair needs to help continue a healthy chapter. At each meeting I write down the highlights of that meeting. I read the tradition for each month. I will start to give an example of how that tradition has played out in the chapter or in a meeting in our chapter. That was suggested from the traditions committee. I keep myself abreast of any needs our committees are having at the time. My main role is to support the chair and help in all areas of need.
Office Committee Chair
In order to establish better communication between the chapter and meetings, I am in the process of finding a chapter contact person for each of the meetings in the Michigan chapter. As of June 13th, all but 7 meetings have a chapter contact person. The main responsibility of this person is to read email sent by the office committee chair notifying the meetings of service opportunities, chapter highlights and chapter meetings. The chapter contact person will also be responsible in filling out the meeting change form so the FA web site will be up to date. I am in the process of evaluating the use of the 800# and how to use it better and how to pick up calls that come in more efficiently.
Since most FA business is being done online, communication with the office committee is being done through firstname.lastname@example.org instead of email@example.com. As office committee chair, I participate in monthly conference call with the WSO office committee held on the last Sunday of the month.
PI Committee Chair
Here are the highlights for the Public Information Committee of the Michigan Chapter for December 2007-July 2008, since I just recently became the PI Chairperson.
We had two Information Sessions in the spring of 2008:
- Grand Rapids, March 8th
- Madison Heights, April 26th
The local meetings in those areas shared the expenses for the PI sessions, and fellowship from other areas in Michigan supported them. Announcements of our PI sessions were sent to NEI and placed on the web site calendar. As the new PI Chair I am now on the WSI-PI Committee Conference call the third Sunday of each month and I am gathering a wealth of information and resources to share with our Michigan Chapter. I attended the 2008 Business Convention.
I attended the PI Break Out Group at the Chapter Forum. I attended two WSI-PI Committee meetings at the Convention. We have purchased two banners for the Michigan Chapter, and we contacted a local business and paid $20.00 to change the phone number on one of the banners. For the months of June and July we have just started having PI Committee Meetings. There are many willing and eager members wanting to help inform the public about FA. Members are making available the letter to the Professional and the Clergy on the literature table at the meetings. We are encouraging members to take them to their doctors, dentists, clergy, etc.
Adopt-a-rack has taken off. We have two racks so far, one each at a doctor’s and dentist’s office in the Saginaw area.
BEGINNING BALANCE - $ 2053.54
Total Year Deposits - $ 9007.59
Total Year Expenses - $ 9615.66
Checking - $ 1445.40
YEAR END BALANCE IN CHECKING - $ 1445.40
SOUTH FLORIDA CHAPTER - Misch E., Chair
The South Florida Chapter, in existence since 2001, serves 18 meetings – 11 on the south east coast of Florida, and 7 on the west coast of Florida. At a typical chapter meeting we have between 8 and 12 participants, all from the east coast and representing 9 of the 11 east coast meetings. Representatives from the west coast do not attend the chapter meetings, but we do try to include them as much as we can.
These are the significant happenings within our chapter for the year beginning July 2008 through June 2009:
- July 2008
- We voted to increase our monthly escrow from $600 to $1000 to cover the expense of literature as well as rent and telephone.
- August 2008
- We changed our meeting time to 8:00 to 9:30 AM.
- We changed our meeting format to incorporate the PI Committee and the Office Committee into the regular meeting, with everyone serving on both committees; we also allotted time for putting together PI packets each month (beginner packets, letters to the professionals, tri-folds, etc.).
- September 2008
- We received two inquiries from doctors to whom we had mailed letters to last month.
- Plans were made for an Information Session in October.
- Gail D. presented the tri-fold she had prepared for our next Information Session.
- Gail D. resigned as secretary and Karen L. was appointed secretary.
- October 2008
- PI media efforts were finalized for the IS.
- November 2008
- Report: On October 26th the IS was held, preceded by a fellowship luncheon. The speakers were Darlene from MA, Marie from central FL, and Renee who is local. There were 31 newcomers.
- The chapter purchased a banner for the Ft. Myers area meetings.
- Misch will attend the Chapter Support Day in Boston.
- December 2008
- There was no meeting in December.
- January 2009
- Eileen M. resigned as Chapter Vice Chair.
- Bonnie H. was appointed as Chapter Vice Chair.
- February 2009
- Ellen V. resigned as Office Chair and Misch E. is standing in with this position.
- Quick Books soft-ware was purchased for the Chapter Finances.
- Ft. Myers has an Information Session scheduled for March 26th with a Fellowship Dinner.
- Nominations are open for Chair and Vice-Chair.
- The Unified Phone List is being updated by Nancy O.
- March 2009
- Plans were made for a Health Fair at the Jewish Community Center in Boynton Beach on March 26th.
- Misch E. was nominated for Chair and Bonnie H. was nominated for Vice-Chair.
- The chapter participants divided up the list of meeting contacts who had not yet completed the census, and committed to contacting each meeting contact to offer encouragement and assistance.
- April 2009
- The abstinence requirement for answering the Hot Line was changed by vote from 1 year to 6 months.
- Report: The Health Fair at the JCC was very well attended and there was a lot of interest generated. The chapter borrowed the Fri-Fold Banners from the west coast meetings, and they added a lot to the FA display.
- Report: The Information Session in Ft. Myers was successful; there were 60 in attendance and 6 newcomers; the meeting was well supported by the east coast fellowship.
- Donna C. will generate announcements on Craig’s List.
- Misch was re-elected as Chair and Bonnie was elected as Vice-Chair; no one else was nominated; they will be accepted by acclamation.
- Plans were made for a Health Fair at the West Palm Beach YMCA for April 19th.
- May 2009
- Meeting cancelled due to the Swine Flu!
- June 2009
- No meeting.
EASTERN AREA INTERGROUP (EAI) - Kathleen M., Chair
In June 2008 the Board had a retreat which was very productive in focusing its efforts for the coming year and the fruits of that effort can be seen in our service. We focused much more on Chapters, pre-chapters, and outlying areas because we wanted to strengthen our connection with our members. Ways in which we attended to this effort are as follows:
- We changed our name. From Chapter Support Day in November 2008, it was clear that the Chapters would greatly appreciate our changing our name from the New England Area Intergroup. There was much discussion on the name, even thinking of just calling ourselves by a regional number, such as Intergroup One. But realizing that no one would want to be number Two and it might offend other Intergroups, we eliminated a numerical basis. Although there were concerns about Eastern Area Intergroup because how far east are we talking about and what about Intergroups in the future that will develop in those areas, we decided that the name was broad enough and left plenty of room for another Intergroup to develop and call itself Southeastern, Middle eastern, for example. It was also thought that Eastern Area Intergroup was a nice balance to Western Area Intergroup and from the World Service perspective would reflect its largest Intergroups. Also Unity Intergroup which resides is in the South Carolina area did not mind New England changing to Eastern Area. The body voted the name change in at the May Intergroup meeting.
- Our attendance at Intergroup improved somewhat (maybe a difference of 5 more people each month) and I believe the jump in attendance was a result of our Chapter Support Day in November. Not just the one that took place this past year, but for a couple of years now we have made a big push to invite members from the southeastern part of Massachusetts, so we are slowly building our Intergroup.
- Two members from the southeastern part of Massachusetts came to the Chapter Support Committee’s meeting in January 2009 requesting guidance on what constitutes a healthy meeting. By March the Committee developed and sponsored a â€•ReachOutâ€– for that area. It was a huge success and other meetings in that area and the Ohio area are requesting ReachOuts. The people from the Southeastern area were hospitable and appreciative of our efforts. We expect more to follow in FY 2010. This year’s Chapter Support Day will happen on the Cape instead of at our regular location in West Roxbury. The change in location shows that members of our Intergroup are looking outward to extend a hand.
- Our relationships with our Chapters have improved. Historically there has been some unease in the relationship between our Chapters and our Intergroup. Both were unclear as to the role we had with each other and I believe a lot of that had to do with communication. Chapter Support Day is one of the ways in which we present opportunities to work on our communication with our Chapters. There has been, for a few years now, a big effort on the part of the Chapter Support Committee to shift the expectations that our Chapters members had about Chapter Support Day. In the past, people would come to Chapter Support Day and expect answers from Intergroup on how to handle various issues that arose from their meetings. I think that expectation has shifted because, as a result of these Chapter Support Days over the years, it became clear to both Intergroup and the Chapters that our Chapter members have much more experience with attending meetings that have problematic practices than our Intergroup members and we all needed to work together and learn how to better communicate with our new members why we do what we do. Because we recognized the importance of doing that, we extended our communication to pre-Chapters and outlying areas. Hence the development of ReachOuts.
- EAI Chair regularly attends the Chapter and Intergroup Support Conference call in order to hear ideas from the chapters and outlying areas and learn how EAI could provide service more effectively to these areas.
Not only has Intergroup made an effort to extend service to other areas, but it is beginning to extend service to each other by thinking about ways their committees’ work overlaps with each other, especially PI, Chapter Support, Teens & Twenties, and 12th Step. Committee chairs encouraged committee members to attend the ReachOut in November. A member from the
Teens & Twenties Committee attends PI’s monthly conference calls in order to serve as a resource to PI representatives. I expect more of this kind of effort to happen in the coming year as the Chapter Support develops more ReachOuts and I strongly encourage each Committee Chair to read the Secretary’s notes from each Intergroup meeting.
Again, as a result of the Intergroup’s focus on extending its outreach efforts, one of our Cape members presented PI with the opportunity to attend a Health and Safety Fair at a Stop and Shop distribution center in Assonet, MA, which is near the Cape. The PI Committee has created a Radio Contact person. This person will be responsible for getting PSAs on air for FAIS in the New England Area. PI will develop a centralized way for accomplishing that for other areas in FY 2010. In its efforts to be more farsighted, the PI Committee has consistently reached out to areas outside of New England. Currently on their monthly conference calls, members from Ohio, England, Maine, and New York attend regularly.
The Teens & Twenties Committee has continued to lead the way in outreaches. It has participated in 16. Four were in the fall and 12 in the spring. Because of their excellent database (created on a Google spreadsheet) which keeps track of the colleges of their outreach efforts, they have maintained a relationship with these schools and 8 of the 16 outreaches were repeats from last year. In an effort to help areas outside of the New England area, the committee created a â€•Teens and Twenties Starter Kitâ€– for anyone in an outlying area (individuals, meetings, chapters, etc.) interested in doing outreach to people in their teens and twenties. The kit is on our website.
The 12th Step Committee continues its efforts to reach out to meetings that need support. It has made commitments to meetings in three different areas of Massachusetts: Sharon, North Andover, and Ipswich. It has set-up at least 3 home meetings for members whose condition met the criteria for (one). It created home meeting guidelines. This is an excellent resource that will be posted on the website so that other Intergroups may use them. The Committee provided a travel fund for one PI session in Fort Myers, FL, and posted its criteria for the Travel Fund along with an application form on the website. It sponsored another successful Thank-A-Thon on Thanksgiving and assisted our Michigan Chapter in setting up its own Thank-A-Thon. Partnering with meetings continues, but right now there is no tracking of which meetings are partnering together. A database of partnering meetings, such as WAI has, is something for the Committee to develop next year. The 12th Step Committee continues to help the World Service 12th Step Committee distribute the Sponsorship List and Frontier Phone List. As part of their Committee work, members of the Committee make calls. I have also encouraged members of the Intergroup body to make some calls to members on the Frontier List.
The Convention Resource Committee continued its stellar work in helping this fellowship come together at the Business Convention.
- Awarded approximately $1,500 to fund six World Service Conference Members to attend the 2009 Business Convention based on need.
- Maintained the Ride and Lodging List to assist members with rides to and from the convention and house those staying in Boston before and after the convention.
- Provided information to the World Service Convention committee chair on how members can obtain the Ride and Lodging list. The information will be disseminated through the WSI report.
- Provide a series of suggestions in NEI Reports to help New England area FA meetings welcome and assist Business Convention travelers.
- Updated all CRC materials (letter to World Service Member, Financial Aid Application, reimbursement form, ride and lodging list, and evaluation form).
- Decided to increase the abstinence requirement for committee members to five years and required that new members serve on the committee for a minimum of six months before reviewing applications.
- Created an orientation packet for new committee members.
The Office Committee’s role continues to evolve. This past year 3 to 5 volunteers were recruited to help the WSI Office retrieve and return calls that were left on the WSI Office phone. The Committee cut phone costs significantly by changing its Verizon plan. The Office Chair attends monthly conference calls of the Intergroup and Chapter Support Committee in order to understand ways that the Committee may be better utilized. It created a Literature Kit which went to WSI for its approval. A member is developing a proposal consisting of helpful changes to our website.
In the coming year, in an effort to increase our spending on outreaches while decreasing our expenditures for overhead, our office secretary will gradually shift her responsibilities to members of the Office Committee. This will be a process which we will examine very closely in order to make sure that we are not sacrificing service to our members by eliminating the cost of a paid employee. We are also trying to sublet our office space now that it has become more evident than it was a few years ago, that people can work remotely from home. The Office Committee will also work more closely with WSI’s Office Committee as two of its members are on its conference call.
The Bylaws Committee, consisting of one member, has an integral role in our Intergroup. She provides counsel on questions pertaining to bylaws, continuing effect motions, and various issues that arise. The Bylaws Chair held conference calls with Chapters, Intergroups and their Bylaws Chairs to discuss good procedures for submitting Main Motions to WSI by Intergroups and Chapters. She prepared a consensus procedure for Main Motions that was used as the basis for
the specific procedure developed by each Chapter and Intergroup. She assisted EAI’s Chair in developing a Main Motion procedure to take to the Board and the Body Over several months, the Bylaws Chair prepared and presented a bylaw change to amend the name of the Intergroup from New England Area Intergroup to Eastern Area Intergroup.
EAI contributed $3,000 to WSI this year.
UNITY INTERGROUP - Margaret D., Chair
- Average 25-30 members attend UIG meetings on a regular basis.
- PI committee has subcommittees that meet every month which are: Teens and Twenties, Media Relations, General Administrative, and Professional/Healthcare. They have participated in Health Fairs. We have had a change in chairs over the last year. The current chair is attending WSI-PI committee meetings.
- 12th Step Committee has held fellowship gatherings for member to include family and friends over the last year. These gatherings have been a success for our fellowship. They continue to work on planning more gatherings and supporting struggling meetings in the area. The current chair attends WSI 12th Step Committee meetings.
- It was voted by the fellowship that UIG no longer support a Travel Committee for many reasons, one of which is monetary reasons. Members who want to attend the convention are encouraged to plan and save for the cost of the travel. As our fellowship is so small, at this time it is best if the money collected stay in the area to support the work the fellowship is doing for the food addict who still suffers in the area.
- UIG participated in the FA census and all the meetings affiliated with UIG were counted.
- At every UIG meeting there is old business that supports FA’s theconnection and encourages members to write articles and submit artwork for the magazine.
- Our financials currently show that 30% of all monies collected are sent to WSI and 70% remain in the General fund at the local level.
- The Fellowship recommended that the UIG Bylaws state specific Committee Chair term limits and that there be a possible change to the abstinence requirement. There will be a vote on these recommendations at the August UIG meeting as discussion has taken place prior to this.
WESTERN AREA INTERGROUP (WAI) – Kris S., Chair
Western Area Intergroup continued to expand areas of service to the food addict who still suffers as well as offer help to areas of the general FA fellowship. In March a new chair and vice chair were elected. Following the clear path paved by the preceding board, the newly elected Board continued fostering the Intergroup’s generous spirit of service to the newcomer, to the outlying area meetings, and to the general fellowship. We now begin every Intergroup general session with a few minutes of quiet time. Attendance at monthly WAI meetings averaged 350 members doing service through 4 main committees (12th Step, Public Information, Office, and Conference Resource as well as multiple sub-committees). The Teens & Twenties Committee became a sub- committee of the PI Committee.
Maintained the WAI Phone list of members in attendance at the Intergroup meetings for the purpose of use for FA service. Currently there are 578 names on the list; tracked those in attendance and dropped their names off quarterly if they had not attended Intergroup for the previous 3 months.
Took down the names of available sponsors who stood up at the Intergroup meeting. These names went out to those who requested to be on the email list to give to newcomers at their meetings. Done on a lap top connected to an AV system, the whole Intergroup could view names/numbers of available sponsors. We also mark those that are Spanish speaking.
Counted the attendees at the Intergroup meetings and announced to the group.
Began work on updating the WAI by laws. This is expected to be completed by October 2009. This includes adding a section addressing handling WSI Business Convention motions.
Took minutes at each Intergroup meeting and at each Board meeting. Typed up the minutes the same day as the Intergroup meeting so that the information was fresh, using the same template each month. Each committee chair sent a summary of their report to the secretary for inclusion in the minutes. After the full minutes and summary were completed, they were sent to the chair for approval. The Secretary then sent it to the Office Committee who emailed them to all of the Intergroup Contacts. Outside of Intergroup meetings, the Secretary is also a very involved member of the Board and provides insights and opinions on issues.
7/01/08 Beginning Balance - $ 25,620.98
Total Income - $ 39,600.24
Total Expenses - $ 38,534.18 (including $ 12,000.00 contribution to WSI and $6923.56 Literature and CD purchase from WSI)
6/30/09 Ending Balance - $ 21,476.00
We continue to keep our financial records in QuickBooks, currently using QuickBooks for Nonprofits 2008.
Our income was primarily from Meeting donations ($27,827.59), with additional income from IG 7th Tradition ($5,716.29), anonymous donations ($4,814.33), and interest earned from the savings account ($37.04). Our expenses included committee expenses for PI ($6,263.32), phone lines, yellow pages, and internet yellow pages, copies for IG meetings ($10,648.86), rent ($2,042.50), materials for Teens and Twenties ($1,214.13), and Travel funds to FA Business Convention (for voting members needing assistance in order to attend, and for speakers to travel to outlying areas i.e. Canada, Seattle) for FA Information Sessions ($6,263.32).
Our standard practices are to have monthly financial reports for IG, to prepare a yearly budget and update it quarterly with input from the officers and committee chairs, and to maintain a reserve consisting of 3 month average expenses as a basic prudent reserve, plus any larger cost planned expenses (such as conferences) and plus the travel fund reserves. This year we have been able to fund several people for travel to FA Information Sessions in Idaho, Texas and Canada as well as twenty one voting members to the 2009 FA Business Convention.
Approximately every three months the Treasurer reviews the financial status with the Officers and passes on to WSI any funds beyond our reserve. In the past year we were able to donate
$12,000.00. We have encouraged our meetings to split their donations as follows: 25% to Intergroup and 75% to WSI. We use Expense Reimbursement forms available on www.foodaddicts.org submitted with receipts to document the expenses. The treasurer maint