The 2019 RCA annual convention, with the theme “Recovering Romance in the City of Roses,” took place in Portland, Oregon, from August 2 through August 4, 2019. We were in attendance from the opening through the closing of the convention.
This year’s convention was the largest in RCA’s history, with 130 couples in attendance. There were many familiar faces from prior conventions. Close to one-third of the couples were attending their first annual convention, and some of the couples were relative newcomers, having been in RCA for less than two months. The level of energy, excitement and recovery was extraordinary. Couples came from all over the United States (25 states represented) and other countries around the world, including Canada (British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec), the United Kingdom, Denmark, Sweden and South Africa.
We are extremely grateful to all the members of RCA Oregon who participated in hosting this very successful convention.
Annual Business Meeting
On Friday, August 2, we attended the annual business meeting, chaired by Dick M. irw Vicki.
There are 138 meetings registered with RCA (although it has not been possible to verify whether all of these meetings still are in existence). All delegates, in person or by proxy, were registered and their credentials approved, for a total of 26 delegates. A quorum consists of 10 percent of the registered meetings (i.e., 14 delegates for this convention), and an annual business meeting can go forward only if a quorum is present. Because at least 14 delegates were present, a quorum was certified.
David H. irw Kathleen was re-appointed to serve as parliamentarian.
The officers and committee chairs submitted written reports, all of which are contained in the attached annual report. The officers also summarized their reports at the meeting. Here are some of the highlights.
Dick and Vicki have served on the Board of Trustees of the RCA WSO (Board) for the past three years and are rotating out of their service. Dick encouraged members to volunteer for service on the Board or committees. The only requirements for Board membership are at least three years of regular attendance at RCA meetings and completion of the Fifth Step. An application to serve on the Board is now found on the RCA website.
Dick reported on RCA’s independent contractors, including Ann Garrison (financial services), Betsy Dintaman (merchandise), Bob Petitti (communication) and Thetford Web Development (web contractor)
Vicki R. irw Mark is the vice chair. She introduced the committee chairs, who gave their reports.
The treasurer is Chris R. irw Francesca. Chris supplied financial statements prepared by Ann Garrison (appended to the annual report). Note that pages 1-4 and 6-8 are for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019; due to a miscommunication with Ann, pages 5, 9 and 10 are only for the month of June 2019.
Gross income for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019 (FY 2019), totaled $64,720, but this had to be adjusted to take out convention income of $21,020, leaving gross income of $43,700 for FY 2019. Income for FY 2019 included contributions of $16,523, literature sales of $19,261 and operating income such as royalties, which totaled $7,915.
Expenses for FY 2019 totaled $21,575, consisting of contractor expenses ($11,733), other operating expenses ($6,494) and expenses of the annual business meeting ($3,349).
After adjusting for convention income from FY 2017 and FY 2018, which should not have been included with FY 2019 income, and after deducting costs of goods sold and expenses, net income for FY 2019 totaled $15,267. This represented an increase of $2,402 over FY 2018.
Total cash at the beginning of FY 2019 was $61,415. Total cash at the end of FY 2019 was $98,059. John R. irw Jean pointed out that the amount of cash on hand, including the prudent reserve, is becoming excessive, and the Board will look into appropriate expenditures of excess cash, such as expanding the fellowship. But the Board will check the budget before committing to any new expenditures.
A delegate suggested that the RCA “budget” should be called a “spending plan” because the delegate believed that “budget” connoted deprivation. No action was taken on the suggestions.
Additional information can be found in the financial statements.
Hand in Hand Committee
The publisher of the quarterly RCA newsletter, Hand in Hand, has stepped down, and as a result, publication has been suspended. The Board is seeking another person who is willing to take on the service commitment of publishing Hand in Hand.
Vicki R. irw Mark is the chair of the Literature Committee. She reported that the Literature Committee continues to reach out to members to provide submissions to the RCA Daily Reader. At the time of her report, the committee had received 140 submissions. A total of 366 submissions is necessary to complete the book. Vicki reported that, since 130 couples were registered at the convention, if each member contributed just one submission, RCA would have enough submissions to edit and publish the book before the end of 2019. There will be a breakout session at the convention in which members can write submissions. (Since the convention, the committee now has a total of 171 submissions.)
Dan O’C. irw Kate is the chair of the Merchandise Committee. He submitted a detailed report, including tables, in the RCA annual report. Dan reported the current issues regarding sales tax. States are becoming more aggressive in asserting the right to collect sales tax on online sales. Currently, RCA pays sales tax to California and Virginia, as RCA is considered to have a physical presence in those states. The committee is investigating issues regarding taxation of sales through Amazon. The Board has hired a CPA, with a budget not to exceed $1,000, to investigate sales tax requirements for other states.
There was discussion as to why RCA sells its literature through both Amazon and its own website. The question was raised why RCA does not sell its literature only through its own website, so that RCA would not have to share its revenue with Amazon.
Many delegates addressed this subject and pointed out the benefits of making RCA literature available through Amazon, which exposes it to searches by persons who might never have known of RCA otherwise. The Trailblazers delegate couple pointed out that, as welcome couple, they had communications with newcomers from Europe, who, by ordering on Amazon, had been able to obtain RCA literature in a matter of days.
Gopal K. irw Wendy is the chair of the Outreach Committee. Outreach includes many things, such as taking on a service commitment as a welcome couple, greeting people at a local RCA meeting or convention and hosting a couple visiting the United States for the first time, etc.
The Committee is responsible for communication with the Group Contact Couples (GCCs). One of the issues is that some of the GCCs are no longer reachable through their contact information. The Committee is working on updating the list of GCCs.
The delegate from San Francisco, California, suggested that the Board take active steps to increase the fellowship. It was pointed out that RCA already has a separate Growing-the-Fellowship Committee but that the Committee has become inactive due to lack of membership. The delegate was invited to serve on that Committee and to revitalize it, and she graciously accepted.
The delegate from Oakland, California, drew attention to the low level of diversity in RCA and emphasized the need for RCA to take steps to increase the diversity of the fellowship in its outreach efforts.
It was pointed out that Spanish-speaking couples have contacted RCA seeking Spanish-speaking meetings, but that there are no such meetings at this time. Efforts will be made to seek out Spanish-speaking couples who currently are RCA members to see if they would be willing to start a meeting that will be conducted in Spanish.
John R. irw Jean is the chair of the Recruitment Committee. The focus of the Recruitment Committee is recruiting members to serve on the Board of Trustees and on the committees that serve the Board. An update regarding the status of the committees and the efforts of the Recruitment Committee can be found in the annual report.
David H. irw Kathleen is the chair of the Structure Committee. The purview of the Structure Committee includes rules, resolutions and credentials. Motions must be submitted to the Committee for ranking and submission to the RCA fellowship’s groups for voting in advance of the annual business meeting. Because no proposals were submitted this year, the task of the Committee was quite light.
There was a discussion regarding what can and cannot be proposed and acted upon at an annual business meeting which, under RCA’s bylaws, is quite limited.
Technology and Website Committee
Mark R. irw Vicki is the chair of the Technology and Website Committee. A detailed report of the activities of the Committee is found in the annual report.
Ad Hoc Committee on Trademarks and Copyrights
Dan O’C. irw Kate is the chair of this ad hoc committee. Applications were made to the US Patent and Trademark Office to obtain trademark protection for “Recovering Couples Anonymous,” “RCA” and the RCA logo, as well as to look into the possibility of copyright protection for the logo. Registration of “Recovering Couples Anonymous” and the RCA logo has been granted. Trademark registration for “RCA” is pending.
The Committee also will begin the process of applying for registration of the RCA trademarks on the RCA website. (Registration for the website is separate from registration for RCA literature.)
Annette K. irw Widar is the chair of the Translation Committee. The translation of the 4th edition of the RCA blue book into Swedish and German has been completed, and books are being sold. A draft of the Danish translation has been prepared but the project has not been completed due a lack of new members on the Danish literature translation committee.
The Spanish translation of the 4th edition and other literature has been completed but the literature has not been selling well, and outreach to the Spanish-speaking community is needed.
The convention formally opened on Friday evening with dinner, followed by the opening address by David and Kapiko, of California. Afterward, many couples participated in Irish dancing.
A wide selection of Saturday breakout sessions was available. The sessions were well attended. A list of the sessions is attached. Also, some members took advantage of a guided walking tour through downtown Portland.
Following dinner, Andy and Steve, of Hawaii, gave the keynote address. (Audio recordings of the addresses of both speaker couples are available on the RCA website:
Afterward, there was dancing to the live music provided by the band, the Low Bottoms, one of whom is a member of RCA in Portland and all of whom are in recovery. The band was outstanding.
The convention closed on Sunday morning with gratitude circles at each of the tables. One member at each table wrote up a summary of the comments of gratitude from the members at that table, and then, table by table, the summaries were shared with the entire fellowship.
Election of Board Members
The election of members of the RCA Board took place on Sunday morning. A quorum, consisting of 24 delegates in person and four proxies, was certified.
There were three vacant seats on the RCA Board. The names of four couples were
placed in nomination:
Tami R. irw John R., of Huntington Beach, California (El Segundo home group)
Michael W. irw Suzanne V.H., of Oakland, California (Oakland home group)
Art F. irw Sharon H., of Marina del Rey, California (El Segundo home group)
Angie B. irw Greg B., of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (Vancouver home group)
Tami R. irw John R., Michael W irw Suzanne V.H. and Angie B. irw Greg B. were elected to the Board, and Art F. irw Sharon H. were elected as alternate members of the Board.
Invitation to the 2020 RCA annual convention in Reston, Virginia (just outside Washington, D.C.)
The 2020 RCA annual convention will be held in Reston, Virginia. The convention site is very close to Dulles International Airport, which serves Washington, D.C. There is a great deal of excitement regarding the next convention, which will be hosted by couples from RCA groups in Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina. The theme of the convention is “2020: A Vision for You – Love and Understanding Beyond Our Wildest Dreams.”
The convention will take place at the Sheraton Hotel in Reston, and RCA has negotiated a special rate of $99 per night for the convention, which includes a hot breakfast. Some couples may wish to arrive before or to stay after the convention, in order to visit Washington, D.C., and the surrounding areas. The hotel will make the special rate of $99 per night available for up to five couples on Wednesday night, 20 couples on Thursday and Sunday night, and 10 couples on Monday night.
The cost of the convention, which includes lunch and dinner on Saturday, is an affordable $220 per couple for those couples registering before 2/20/2020. Afterward, the cost will be $250 per couple. Many couples already have signed up to attend.
Watch the RCA website for additional information and registration applications.
Conventions for 2021 through 2023
The 2021 RCA annual convention is scheduled to take place in Tucson, Arizona. The convention committee is gauging support for various venues, as well as the possibility of holding the convention in a month other than August, given the high heat and humidity in Tucson at that time of year.
The 2022 convention is scheduled to take place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Preliminary discussions are taking place with RCA Germany regarding the possibility of holding the 2023 convention in Germany.