That CNCA continue to provide hybrid functionality for every Area Committee Meeting and Each Assembly

Presentation of New Business at the Area Committee Meeting September 23, 2023

Presentation: Megan M., DCMC of District 15, presented. She stated that the district discussed this for several months and passed it.

Q: The finance committee has long discussed this. Because of the ongoing economic pressure of operating hybrid, we want to offer the following friendly amendment: “Additionally, every three years, the area officers will form an ad-hoc committee to assess the continuing need, functionality, personnel requirements, and cost of providing such hybrid service.”
A: We do not accept this amendment because it’s not necessary. We have oversight of these matters already.

Q: Would the chair entertain a separate motion to add this wording to the current motion?
A: Yes, you may submit a motion in writing after this meeting, but the motion remains as is.

Q: Can you clarify the statement of “every Area Committee Meeting” because we have several here. Is this just for the business meeting or every area committee meeting?”
A: It means the Area business meeting, not the subcommittee meetings.

Q: Does “Every Area Committee Meeting” mean the ACM that starts at 12:30 and ends at 3:30?
A: Yes, that is the intent of the district.

Q: Would you please consider a cost evaluation?
A: Our District did not consider the cost, so I can’t answer that for them.

Q: Would it be helpful to have a snapshot of our Area’s demographics regarding in-person, hybrid, and online meetings?
A: Yes, it would be helpful.

Q: Can this be broader to make all Area 06 General Service meetings hybrid?
A: That would change the motion, we want to keep it as is.

Q: Does this motion specify what a hybrid meeting must look like?
A: No, it does not. The district’s intent is to ensure there is hybrid accessibility to meetings. We had a motion but never had a policy.

The chair stated that because this business affects our assemblies and ACM, it will go to the Assembly.
Motion will become a Presentation of New Business at the Fall Assembly on November 4, 2023.

Presentation of New Business at the Area Fall Assembly November 4, 2023

That CNCA continue to provide hybrid functionality for every Area Committee Meeting and Each Assembly.
Presentation: Megan M., DCMC from District 15
During COVID, our Area immediately began meeting on Zoom. Now that we meet in person, it’s great that we can still access Area Assemblies and Area Committee Meetings online. It provides accessibility for people who can’t come in person. A member in our district put forward a motion not long after we came back in person. We never voted on it; it was tabled. District 15 wanted to have hybrid meetings made official.

Q: I’m hard of hearing. Is the motion to make hybrid meetings official?
A: Yes.

Q: I heard the Accessibility Committee chair say they’ve decided to become hybrid and return to Petaluma. Does the motion include the meetings in the morning from 9 am to the ACM?
A: Many are hybrid now, but they’re not included in the motion.

Q: Will there be a way to share best practices and have folks trained on hybrid capabilities?
A: The motion doesn’t address this.

Q: My group is online, and we have members from all over the world. Can an international member be elected as a GSR and participate in the Area?
A: That’s not part of this motion, but it’s a thoughtful idea.

I asked for my group’s conscience, and they decided they should continue hybrid because it’s useful to include more people and their conscience.

Q: Would you consider a friendly amendment to add the standing and subcommittee meetings to this motion?
A: No.

Q: Does this have any reach over individual meetings in our Area?
A: No.

Q: Can you clarify how we would include the subcommittees that meet before the ACM? Would it come in another/separate motion?
A: This motion doesn’t include the subcommittees. It’s just the Area Assemblies and the ACM.

Q: I’m a member of District 07’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing Accessibility Committee. Would the hybrid meetings be ASL-interpreted? Closed captioning is nice for those whose first language is English, but it’s foreign to those whose first language is ASL. Would an ASL interpreter be provided for Zoom meetings?
A: This is not part of this motion.

Q: Would the district consider a time limit on this? For example, until the end of this panel and the middle of the next panel?
A: I’d have to ask the district, but I think they would say no. It can be changed or rescinded later through another motion.

Q: Is there an intent to change anything about how the area currently practices hybrid?
A: No.

Motion to become New Business at the Pre-Conference Assembly on April 6, 2024.

New Business at the Area Pre-Conference Assembly April 6, 2024

Group Consciences:
Our District is in favor mainly for access. Our Area has a large geography. We should be prudent with cost. A strong minority of opinion of what is lost in the language of the heart in hybrid.

Our District strongly believes that this needs to be a policy. There is currently no policy. We’ve learned and created a system that works well. It’s been a long road, but we’ve made such progress. The motion is not about whether you like hybrid or Zoom or you don’t; it’s about making sure we provide this for remote communities to be able to attend ACMs and Assemblies. Important to our district because Area meetings are very far away. Many in our district cannot attend in person at all.

My group is in favor of a policy and commitment to hybrid. Our GSR cannot make it to assemblies due to travel concerns. She’s grateful to be able to continue to participate.

Our group feels it’s necessary for accessibility, not just for those traveling, but those who cannot attend for physical reasons or those whose groups can’t afford to send them.

Personal Opinions:
In our district, some meetings have split off and become virtual only. They registered with our area. Perhaps we should consider a virtual Area.

I use a mobility device, and I’m active in Accessibilities. Wouldn’t be able to participate without hybrid. Our fellowship has many members active online. This policy would encourage participation.

Having hybrid meetings is important for access. I’m concerned that people will find a reason not to come even if they can come.

This is a tool for remote communities to keep people informed and continue to carry the message. Our program requires sacrifice but sometimes you must make a bigger sacrifice.

Being able to see the captions on the screen is so helpful for me since I have a hearing impairment. I read lips and it’s hard for me to read people’s lips when they share at the microphone.

I was on Zoom in assembly in Eureka. I felt a large disconnect. If this motion passes, I hope those online can have breakouts and be able to communicate and connect.

Many things we do at District and Area may serve as a model for how other groups implement practices.

I’m a caretaker. I’d prefer to go in person but I’m not able to. I appreciate being able to attend online.

I support the motion. This relates to Concept Four and the Right of Participation for GSRs. My group is online and attracts newcomers from all over the country and internationally.

I’m grateful to be here online. I wouldn’t be able to attend if not hybrid. I care for a family member in hospice. We should operate focused more on love and less on fear.

Hybrid is both in-person and online. When we were online only during the pandemic, we disenfranchised people. Please understand if this passes, we are committing to both in-person and online. The idea that we could save money by meeting only on Zoom doesn’t apply if we commit to both.

I have sponsees that are caregivers. They want to be a part of General Service, but the hardship of travel expenses and childcare are barriers. Increasing technology isn’t the only way to increase accessibility.

I’m concerned about the structure of the motion. What about 10:00 meetings? 11:00 sharing sessions? They’re not included in the motion. I’m afraid we left out two very important sharing sessions currently being done hybrid and are not part of ACM.

My group is hybrid. Zoom is good. A woman in the hospital could join the meeting and wanted this available.

Being able to attend these meetings helps me to be a better GSR.

In 1939, technology came out to reach alcoholics in the US and Canada: The Big Book. Now it’s 2024 and we’re using a new way to reach out to alcoholics. This is moving us forward.

Q: I’m co-chair of my District’s Access Committee. I’m concerned about the other hybrid meetings that occur on the day of the ACM that are not included. Can there be a
friendly amendment?

A: (Area Chair): There would need to be another motion. Someone asked this question during the presentation of new business, and the motion-maker declined to add it.

We put in great labor. We reached for the future when the First 100 were visualized. We now see the world through the internet.

The Fourth Edition of our Big Book mentioned “new practices and customs,” including “online.” Modem to modem and face to face, A.A. speaks the language of the heart. I support this motion. We have members in our fellowship who find their sobriety meeting only online.

Hybrid meetings increase participation and may give us more flexibility in venues. We don’t need venues to be as large.

When I got sober, all meetings were online. At my first assembly in 2021, I was asked to be a timer. This is important to continue for new people. Being able to join online allows me to stay in service.

Hybrid is important because I’ve been able to attend. There is no excuse for not informing our groups.

Many people in our area must travel for work or personal reasons and want to remain in service. Being hybrid opens the possibility of not feeling isolated.

This is about accessibility. For a stretch of my sobriety, I was only able to participate online. I’ve been to some assemblies in person, but I miss them sometimes. I’m discouraged by the “us versus them (online and in person)” People being online is their choice. We adjusted quickly to meeting online in the pandemic. We’ve gotten better. I’m happy to participate.

I nearly lost my life to this disease in the pandemic and got sober on Zoom. I’m a single mother and can still be of service. Childcare costs and logistics are difficult to attend in person, but I do when I can. The online component is powerful, I’m sober because of it.

For inclusivity and accessibility, I support this motion. My husband is immunocompromised, so I don’t go to big gatherings. I’m active in General Service through being able to participate online. We should make another motion to include all the area meetings.

Motion to become Old Business at the Post Conference Assembly on May 11, 2024

Old Business at the Area Post-Conference Assembly May 11, 2024

Group Consciences:
There’s been discussion about what committee means and whether it’s just the ACM or all the committees. If it doesn’t include the committees, why not?

My group is online and in person. What keeps us together is our treasury because we have difficulty with hybrid and only use it once a month for business meetings. For recovery meetings, we function as two different groups. Our online group wants representation to know what’s going on and be able to come to these meetings. Our alternate GSR couldn’t get here today.

The motion does not include anything except the area committee business meeting because it would become untenable to provide a hybrid for every committee meeting. Some of them already are hybrid. Our district favors this motion.

My group had questions about this motion. They were curious why anyone would be against it. We voted and were unanimously in favor.

Someone from my group said it would make us lazy. I believe it makes us more accessible.

My group was surprised there was a need for the motion and surprised that PRAASA isn’t hybrid. We’re talking about allowing people who cannot attend in person. Let’s do it and keep it.

Our group fully supports this motion. Our district extends to the Oregon border, and we favor this for accessibility.

Hybrid meetings are expensive but are overwhelmingly supported. We should rethink the idea that some things are supposed to be hard. Some people can’t attend important meetings for a variety of reasons. Though it’s expensive, we are getting good participation because of hybrid functionality and feel it must continue.

We can disseminate information better by meeting hybrid. People can participate even when they have outside factors preventing them from attending.

My fellowship has thirty meetings, all but one are online. The geographic characteristics of these groups vary a lot. Having the online component of hybrid allows people to participate.

Personal Opinions:
Can the online part continue, and the physical location relocate in the case of an emergency? I’m not in favor of this motion because it obligates our ACM to always be hybrid and there is no flexibility if something happens, and we need to do something different. If we pass this motion how it’s written, we are obligated to do a hybrid production every time regardless of if that capacity is required. What if attendance drops off and we set all this up for no one. The intention of the motion is good, but I think it should fail for a better motion.

I agree the intention is good, but the wording could be improved. My group had to rebuild our GSR funds so I couldn’t attend in person. We need hybrid functionality; it’s a valuable operation we should continue.

Providing hybrid is an accessibility issue. It’s not about comfort or convenience. It allows people to participate fully. Not having hybrid prevents people who want to serve but are not able to for various reasons.

I favor this motion because online is the only way I can attend these meetings. We need to be inclusive. It saves people money for transportation to be able to join online. I got sober when we didn’t have internet. We need to keep moving forward with technology.

We want to be inclusive and get people involved; it would be exclusive if we stopped being hybrid. Being able to attend online helps with accessibility.

Before we were hybrid, people had reasons they couldn’t be here. There will always be reasons why we can’t be here. That’s why we get alternates. Being hybrid has made it so that we come together less.

When this came up, the lazy word came to mind. But today I can’t attend in person, and it would be devastating if I had to miss this because I couldn’t Zoom in.

We need this to continue to support our community and fellowship. The General Service Conference and General Service Office are doing this to improve accessibility and increase participation.

The pandemic started in March 2020 right before the pre-conference assembly and the General Service Conference. We had to do an assembly and do it quickly so our delegate could go to the conference in April. If this motion failed, we would not get rid of our hybrid components. We’ve created a committee and a team to be hybrid. I read this motion as no matter what, we must always be hybrid, even if there’s a fire and we can’t meet in person, or some other circumstance that hinders us from meeting hybrid. I’m worried about that.

I agree with what people have said about accessibility. We should think about how we struggle with AA as a whole in terms of being inclusive and wrapping our minds around what we are going to do with the online component. What will we be doing in the future? Is there a role for an online area that would still allow people to be in General Service? I don’t think we’re there yet, so I’m glad we’ve made the investments for hybrid.

Tradition one and responsibility statement came to mind. The importance of maintaining hybrid is that every alcoholic can be involved in general service.

I’m hard of hearing and watching the screen so that I can see an interpreter. This helps me understand. Closed captioning is important as well as ASL interpreters.

Being hybrid allows people to participate. Not having it is a barrier to access.

We need to have the capability to attend online. I’m a dog sitter, and I need to do that for my income.

We need to pay attention to people’s needs and change AA in a way that brings more rather than less. This changes for more. I’m going to care for my husband in his older life, and this allows me to participate. I’m not lazy, this makes me hungry for service.

This is a service to us. I might be there, I might not, but I need to be able to see you there. We need to make ACMs and assemblies hybrid whether this passes or not.

We do hybrid well in this area because we put in a lot of work and thought. Technology is not in a place where hybrid can be done simply or easily. Online only is, but not hybrid, even in corporate settings. I care about accessibility and hybrid a lot. It’s not the money that concerns me but are we self-supporting through trusted servants? Providing a service that requires in-person to be available is challenging. The technology committee is a large committee.

We can all get behind being accessibility. AA is getting older, so we’ll need more accessibility. I encourage those online to give generously online because that’s how we support the technology. The average in-person contribution is $3.50, and the average online is $1. If online groups/GSRs don’t contribute, people attending in person are subsidizing the people who need the accessibility to attend online. Let’s collectively fund it.

I love hybrid and the accessibility it provides. I want to make sure we don’t vote just based on that feeling. This motion is about making this a requirement for the future until another motion overturns it. We should keep the flexibility in place to keep it going or discontinue it in the future. Don’t look at this with fear of what future trusted servants might do with hybrid for reasons we don’t know yet. It’s working fine the way things are, and I don’t think we need to formalize it with a motion.

Looking at the wording of the motion and saying the motion forces us to do it if we have a catastrophe. Zoom started because of one. When one comes, there will be a solution. The idea of a catastrophe shouldn’t be a reason for voting against something that gets people involved, perhaps even more young people.

I don’t understand the comments about a fire. I’m here because of Zoom, and I didn’t have to spend money on gas.

If this motion isn’t passed, we aren’t going to eliminate hybrid. If it does pass, we have the responsibility to always offer it, even if we don’t have the means to do it. I’m worried about having that pressure that we must do it.

Can the chair give us the impact of the motion if it passes and fails?

Impact if the motion passes with a yes vote: Our area will commit to funding and providing service commitments for the hybrid functionality for every Area Committee Meeting and each assembly.
Impact if the motion does not pass voting no: Our Area Committee Meetings and assemblies will be either hybrid, in-person only, or virtual-only, depending on the Area’s decision at that time.

The history of this has been interesting and fundamental to my growth. I appreciate the discussions we’re having. If we vote no, it doesn’t mean we won’t have hybrid meetings. If it passes, it means it’s documented somewhere that we’ll do it. Another motion can overturn it. Voting for this is a way to say that we want it and that it’s necessary if possible.

I’m the technology committee chair. Thank you for sharing on this. Tech is a tidal wave that has overtaken A.A. as a whole and we’re at the tip of the wave. We voted last year to fund the hybrid team’s travel for room and board and mileage. The initial projections for that were $6,000 to $8,000 per year. Last year, the committee worked hard to cut costs and limit their services, we spent $4,700. We’re really trying to be prudent. This is a fabulous enterprise where spirituality and money mix.

I’m not clear on the intent of this motion. Our area goes out of our way to make things accessible and inclusive for everybody. Is the intent to give assurance that we’ll continue to provide hybrid, or do we just trust the area to continue to provide hybrid?

When considering a motion, we should ask what the need is. Is there a need to continue hybrid? If it passes, the area will commit to providing hybrid accessibility. With accessibility, you must put yourself in someone else’s shoes to think about it. If the area thought we didn’t need hybrid anymore, an ad hoc committee can be formed to investigate. When discussing the motion to reimburse the hybrid team for travel, people said we put the cart before the horse by not having a policy that we all agree we need this service. This motion would set a policy.

I can’t attend in person. I think it’s worth the cost. Hybrid allows us to collaborate, and I think we can do it in a sustainable way. We have greater attendance.
We can support creativity and innovation.

I was very active in general service for many years and then for various physical reasons, I could no longer make the trip to come here. I’m grateful for the pandemic because when it started, AA moved quickly to open virtual A.A. I spent three days learning how to get online to be able to participate online.
My participation has been constant and helpful to my group. This motion started because someone said virtual meetings would end in January because we could start meeting in person again. We can’t end this.

I have no dispute about the value of hybrid and the necessity of maintaining it. Our area has already committed the resources and funds to do this. Hearing the impact of a negative vote, I’m against this motion. We need to trust our trusted servants to decide when we can no longer do it.

I’m all over the place listening to this. I’m struck by what the last person said. I support hybrid and accessibility, but the motion will restrict trusted servants from making decisions as circumstances evolve, financially, logistically, or crisis-wise. This implicates future trusted servants.

The Chair re-read the impact statement and took a sense of the room of who was ready to vote. (94 Y; 27 N).
Vote by substantial unanimity: 107 in favor; 60 against. Motion failed.

Minority opinion was heard:

When the impact statement was read, it made me more in favor than against it. It’s based on what the Area feels at the time which can change at anytime. Having a solid policy gives us more voice and unity as a group.

We need this to be inclusive of everyone. If hybrid goes away, I won’t be involved in general service. There are 111 people online now. Those voices won’t be heard if we don’t have this assurance. I worry there’s a threat that may go away. If circumstances change and we no longer need hybrid, there can be another motion. A.A. must move forward and grow or it’s going to die.

I think it’s important that we vote to make a commitment to stay hybrid. Nothing in A.A. is concrete. We can always go back by creating a motion if that needs to happen. Right now, we have the technology, so we should approve this.

In my opinion, the wording of the motion is too vague, but we need to commit to being hybrid. The motion isn’t perfect, but we shouldn’t let perfect get in the way of good.

I got sober during the pandemic when in-person meetings weren’t available. Accessibility is important to allow people to participate in Service. The hybrid component makes service possible.

It’s clear from the discussion that hybrid is popular. It seemed the group’s conscience shifted after hearing the impact statement. It was close, but I think it’s because some people changed their vote in the last two minutes.

I voted for this because it shows our commitment to those who can’t physically attend. Voting no is a sign we’re not committed to them. If I could add an amendment, I would add “if reasonably possible” to the end of the motion.

You don’t have to give a reason why you join online. It’s important that people don’t feel they have to have the right reason to participate that way. Our groups are struggling with factions that want to have hybrid out or hybrid in. The only reason I can see for not doing hybrid is if we can’t afford it. This would be good for my district to hear what the Area is doing.

There was a vote to reconsider that was seconded.
Vote by simple majority to reconsider: 104 in favor; 60 against. Motion to reconsider passes.

Motion will continue as Old Business at the Summer Assembly on August 10, 2024

District 04 Santa Clara North