Report to the RCA Trailblazers fellowship regarding
the 2021 RCA Annual Convention
(Presented by the RCA Trailblazers Delegate Couple, Kapiko and David)
Call for RCA members to take on service positions at the WSO level
Many enriching service opportunities are available to RCA members. The RCA World Service Office (WSO) is looking for members who are willing to serve on the WSO Board of Trustees and on the RCA committees.
Any member may serve on a WSO committee, and it is not necessary to serve as a couple. There is no requirement for committee membership other than a desire to be of service to your fellowship.
Committees include: Annual Convention Committee, Communications Committee, Concepts and Traditions Committee, Growing the Fellowship Committee, Literature Committee, Merchandise Services Committee, Outreach Committee, Recruitment Committee, Structure Committee, Technology and Website Committee, Ad Hoc Committee on Trademarks and Copyrights and Translation Committee.
You can learn more about committee service by going to this link: https://recovering-couples.org/tools/rca-service/. Then click on the committee that might interest you. For more information, you can write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To serve on the WSO Board of Trustees, you must have been an RCA member for at least 3 years, have completed Step Five and be working actively with a sponsor couple or co-sponsor couple. The term of service is two consecutive RCA annual conventions, with the option to continue for one additional convention.
Don’t worry about your lack of experience. Those who have gone before you will be happy to share their expertise with you. For some perspectives from past and present Board members, please go to: https://rcawsoabm.freeforums.net/thread/22/rca-service-board-trustees-committee
Annual Business Meeting
We attended the 2021 annual business meeting (ABM) of the Recovering Couples Anonymous WSO on Friday, July 30, 2021. We are reporting back to the RCA Trailblazers fellowship the highlights of the ABM.
The ABM was held entirely on Zoom and was led by the chair of the Board of Trustees of the WSO, Vicki R.
The Board’s Structure Committee certified a quorum, consisting of 12 delegates plus one proxy. A quorum is present when delegates and proxies representing at least 10% of the total number of RCA groups are present. There are 90 verified RCA groups.
The Board’s 2021 annual report includes detailed reports of the chair, vice-chair, treasurer and secretary, as well as detailed reports of the various committees of the Board. It also contains financial statements for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2021. You are invited to read the report, which can be accessed by going to the following webpage: https://recovering-couples.org/2021-rca-wso-annual-report/ and then clicking the “DOWNLOAD” button. The Board makes an effort to publish the annual report online by mid-July of each year.
A question was raised as to how the Board determines the number of active RCA groups. This task is assigned to the Outreach Committee, whose members are responsible for various regions of the United States, for Canada and for all countries outside of North America. The Outreach Committee members reach out to the contact couples for each of the groups that ever have been listed with the WSO to confirm whether they continue to meet as an active group. This is done shortly before the RCA International Convention.
Although RCA had operated at a deficit for many years, in recent years it has been operating in the black. The Treasurer reported contributions for FY 2021 of $22,849, an increase of $6,422 over 2020. Groups contributed 44% and individuals contributed 56%. The Treasurer reported cash in operating accounts of $96,565. Significant future expenses are anticipated for literature, starting live meetings and growing the fellowship, among others. Many committees did not operate during the pandemic, resulting in lower expenditures and increased cash for FY 2021. The Board anticipates that it will produce a budget by September or October and will take up the question of setting a prudent reserve.
The delegate from Walnut Creek suggested that RCA give 7th Tradition receipts to all groups and individuals who donate to the WSO to provide a record that amounts collected were, in fact, received by the WSO. The Board will consider this.
The next session of the ABM was devoted to debate on the two written ballot proposals which were submitted to the fellowship this year.
The first ballot proposal is to change RCA’s 11th Tradition as follows: “Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, TV,
and films, and other media.” There was no debate on this proposal.
The second ballot proposal is to increase the limit on expense reimbursements paid by RCA to members of the Board of Trustees for their travel expenses incurred in attending the ABM from $500 to $1,000. There were requests for clarification regarding the implementation of this proposal, which the Board will address.
Delegates will vote on these ballot proposals by electronic voting, which will close on August 8, 2021, i.e., one week after the close of the convention.
A question was raised as to how many votes are required for a ballot proposal to carry. This depends on the nature of the proposal. Proposals to amend the by-laws require a 75% majority. Proposals to amend the Standing Rules for Annual Meetings require a 2/3 majority. All other proposals require a simple majority.
Because the 12 Traditions are part of RCA’s by-laws, the first ballot proposal requires a 75% majority to pass. The second ballot proposal does not amend the by-laws or the Standing Rules for Annual Meetings, so only a simple majority is required for passage.
The Vice-Chair, Jonas, led the next session of the ABM. The chair of the Annual Convention Committee, Jim K., gave a report which updated and partly superseded his report in the Annual Report of the Board. Because of the continuing COVID pandemic, the Northern Virginia group is withdrawing from hosting a live annual convention in Reston, Virginia, in 2022. The 2022 annual convention will be virtual. The committee is working with the Calgary, Alberta group regarding the possibility of hosting the virtual convention, but nothing has been concluded. The Northern Virginia group is open to the possibility of hosting an in-person convention in 2023, but no decision has been made.
Mark R. pointed out that RCA has experience with hybrid (in-person/Zoom) meetings, as the ABM has been held in a hybrid format for 8 or 9 years. A hybrid annual convention is technologically feasible.
The Annual Convention Committee makes sure that a local group puts on a convention each year. The group recruits and appoints its own convention committee, which coordinates with the RCA WSO Annual Convention Committee but remains largely autonomous in planning, funding and operating the annual convention. The WSO maintains a dedicated fund of seed money which it can make available to groups hosting a convention to advance expenses such as hotel bookings which must be paid before members start registering and paying to attend the convention.
In 2020, in lieu of an annual convention. RCA hosted a virtual day of recovery. Attended by approximately 260 couples, this event had the highest attendance in the history of RCA.
The chair of the Communications Committee, Kate M., explained the mission of the committee. For more than a decade, RCA has employed the same independent contractor whose duty is to field and respond to questions submitted to the RCA website. Most questions are routine and answered by the contractor. On rare occasions, the contractor requires input from RCA, and the members of the Communication Committee provide that input. The primary task of the committee members is to read the e-mails submitted to RCA together with the responses. There are only a few phone/Zoom meetings, perhaps 2 per year. The incoming chair is John R. of New York.
The Merchandise Services Committee is responsible for all RCA-approved merchandise, including literature and time-in-program medallions (“chips”). The committee chair, Dan O., provided a highly detailed description of the business of the committee, which may be found in the Annual Report. After many years of service, the chair is retiring. He appealed for volunteers to serve on this committee. He has advocated that RCA engage the services of an independent contractor to handle most of the work now done by the committee.
The chair of the Structure Committee, David H., explained some of the committee’s functions, including serving as a rules committee. It had to create special rules to deal with the COVID pandemic and it put out a special ballot to adopt these rules. The chair also requested volunteers to serve on the committee.
In the fourth and final session of the ABM, the Structure Committee chair brought up an item of new business, relating to the manner of voting on ballot proposals brought before the fellowship. Since 2007 it was possible for delegates to vote by e-mail or by live attendance at the ABM. As a result, members who attended live could hear debate on ballot proposals, but those who voted by e-mail could not. In the past, proposals were made to eliminate e-mail voting or to provide only for mail-in ballots. All such proposals failed. Because of the pandemic, special rules were adopted which provide that all voting be electronic, and this has been implemented this year.
The chair then made a motion to refer this issue to the Board of Directors for resolution. The motion was seconded, and following discussion, it was approved with 12 delegates voting aye, 1 voting nay and 2 abstaining.
The delegate from the Yucaipa group raised the issues of inclusivity and diversity and the need to include an inclusion statement on the RCA webpage. The chair of the Board responded regarding the many statements of inclusion in existing literature but noted that the Literature Committee will be tasked with reviewing all literature for inclusion. The delegate was invited to participate as a committee member.
The ABM then was adjourned.
The 2021 RCA Annual Convention was an extraordinary success. Hosted by RCA Tucson, this was the first virtual annual convention for our fellowship. Tremendous technical preparation was necessary to mount a convention entirely on Zoom, and the result was a flawless experience for all of the participants. The Tucson convention committee was supported by a large number of volunteers, including many Zoom hosts.
Many RCA Trailblazers members were in attendance, including those who led workshops and gentleness breaks.
Because of the virtual format, this convention was able to operate around the clock for almost 26 hours, enabling members in all time zones to participate in some or all of the convention activities, which included:
∘ Three speaker couples: Beth and Gary K., Tucson, Arizona; Chris E. and James C., Tucson; Linda P. and Brian R., Walnut Creek, California
∘ 23 workshops, including:
∘ Deepening Your Recovery through Sponsorship (Sherry and Steve, Walnut Creek, California)
∘ The Couples Dialogue (Annie and Russ, Calgary, Alberta, Canada)
∘ Resolving Issues with Healthy Agreements (Vicki and Dick M., Palm Desert, California)
∘ How to Create and Use Agreements to Build a Stronger Partnership (Michele W. and Julian R., Nevada City, California)
∘ Love in Recovery: What’s Love Got to Do with It? (Joanne and Gary G., Tucson, Arizona)
∘ Writing Your Own “Couple Map” (Linda and Jim K., Charlottesville, Virginia)
∘ Let’s Not Talk About It: Health Issues, Aging, and the Recovering Couple (Felicita and Richard, Davis, California)
∘ Fighting for Non-Fighters (Megan and Sara, Tucson, Arizona)
∘ The RCA Tools (Jade and Gladys, Eugene, Oregon)
∘ The Impact of “Family of Origin” on the Coupleship (Sonia and Danny, Alexandria, Virginia)
∘ Ballroom Splendor Begins with 1-2-3 Waltz (Chris A.C. and Cheyenne C., Santa Clara, California)
∘ Inviting the Spirit into Our Sexuality (Beatrice and Theodor, Sweden; and David and Kapiko, Burbank, California)
∘ 10th Stepping the Extended Safety Guidelines, Darlene and Brent, Ocean View, Hawaii)
∘ Building Trust Before You Step Forward Together (Fred and Eva, Yucaipa, California)
∘ You Want a Contract About What? (Robin and Jason, Tucson, Arizona)
∘ Breaking Through Denial (Christiane and Roberto, International)
∘ Step Three: The Spiritual “Switch” (Günter and Shawna, Überlingen, Germany)
∘ Falling in Love Again Through Healthy Sexuality (Sami and Paul, San Diego, California)
∘ How to Repair Your Broken Relationship: Dixie and David, Longwood, Florida)
∘ Triggers and Conflicts: A Blessing or a Curse? (Helen and Simon, London, United Kingdom)
∘ RCA Issues for LGBTQI People (Chris and James, Starr and Linda, Tucson, Arizona)
∘ Our Discovery with the Tools of RCA (Rebecca and Barton, Santa Barbara, California)
∘ Working the RCA Steps in One Year (Donna and Gary, Fairfax, Virginia)
∘ Three Twelve Step meetings, including:
∘ Twelve Step meeting (general) (Facilitators: Melanie and Ron, Dayton, Virginia)
∘ Twelve Step meeting (Rainbow Healing: A Safe Space for Queer and LGBTQ Couples) (Facilitators: Sydney and Kate, Sacramento, California)
∘ Twelve Step meeting (Steps 10, 11 and 12) (Facilitators: Vicki and Dick M., Palm Desert, California)
∘ Five gentleness breaks, with yoga and meditation, between workshop sessions
Prior to the ABM, the two ballot proposals were discussed at our RCA Trailblazers meeting. As your delegate couple, we were directed to vote in favor of both proposals. We submitted our electronic ballot in advance of the ABM.
Three couples volunteered at the annual convention to serve on the Board of Trustees of the RCA WSO. These nominee couples are –
Dan and Mila T., Walnut Creek, California
Joe and Catherine E., Minneapolis Friday Night RCA, Minnesota
David and Valerie M., Walnut Creek, California
As your delegate couple, we voted for all three of these couples, who will fill vacant positions on the Board of Trustees.