developing people's abilities to resolve conflicts
 ...without resorting to violence

 Conferences Past Conferences 1998 Annual Gathering  Minutes



SEPTEMBER 4-8, 1998



Dickinson, Texas

September 7, 1998


Rick Krouskop, Val Liveoak, Chelsea Kesselheim, May Margaret Economy, Diana Couch, Janet Lugo, Pat Wixom, George Sinnott, Eduardo Diaz, Henry M. Bernstein, Marian Klosterman, John Shuford, Jan Krouskop, Lloyd Bailey, Grace McGrath, Robin Willets, Ellen Flanders, Marjorie Kerr, Tom Truitt, Toby Riley, Ed Sweeney


Diana Couch began the agenda preview to open the meeting at 9:15 a.m.


May Margaret Economy: Something people don’t know about me is _____.

John Shuford read a letter from Peter Laughingwolf (attached).


Val Liveoak facilitated creation of community commitments.

    1. operate by consensus
    2. moments of silence
    3. honor time limitations
    4. speak loudly, not too often or too long
    5. follow basic w/s AVP commitments
    6. honor those in and not in the room
    7. air & resolve conflicts here
    8. allow playfulness
    9. honesty and integrity
    10. ZZZZZ’s = break
    11. use "I" statements


Marjorie Kerr proposed that we undertake a census of our facilitators. She has talked to a statistician and we can do a valid census based on a sample. It would be confidential and detailed. This will give us a picture of who we are. Questions included issues of need or not need for confidentiality; should this be labeled a census or survey; and is this data required by funding agencies. Marjorie also noted that the project would allow for multiple heritages or ethnic identifications. Other issues include workload for her, costs of project and volunteer help. Reservations of the board were whether the board needs to address this and does the ED have time to accomplish. With the reservations noted, Marjorie will go forward with project. She also described that she is developing the Management Support Team that was authorized previously. Most of the members are not AVP facilitators. We have gotten the donated copier down to Houston. It is neither fast nor high quality, but it helps. She has traveled to locals in various areas, facilitated a workshop at Folsom Prison, visited a support group at San Quentin, and attended a facilitator meeting with the Bay Area locals.


The minutes from the Board Meeting at Purchase Friends Meetinghouse, Purchase, N.Y. were approved with the following changes: Correct Ann Ward’s name (Ward for Wood), and note that Chelsea Kesselheim was present as Rocky Mountain Regional Representative.


John Shuford reported for group. He read the proposed policy statement. It was agreed to amend it to substitute "appropriate efforts" for "appropriate attempts." The lack of process for Board removal was noted and he explained that the focus group’s intent was for the Leadership Team to take action first followed by Board consideration. Another issue was lack of specificity on the steps to be taken as "appropriate efforts." Val Liveoak agreed to work with John Shuford on elaborating steps for further policy additions. Consensus occurred on adopting the proposed policy statement with the change of "attempts" to "efforts".


Jan Krouskop on behalf of the nominating committee presented the slate of officers: Rick Krouskop, Chair; Diana Couch, Vice-Chair; Janet Lugo, Corresponding Secretary; Henry Bernstein, Recording Secretary; and no candidate for Treasurer. The nominated persons left the room and, after discussion, were accepted. The Leadership Team was authorized by the Board to select an interim or permanent Treasurer.


Marjorie Kerr made a special report and recommendation. The national office was created four years ago. However, funding has been problematic all four years. Payment of her salary was caught up in January 1998 but again suspended in July 1998 for lack of funds. Funding is still a problem. She recently surveyed the committee chairs and leadership team. A bigger problem to her is the drop in volunteerism, productivity of committees, and enthusiasm. With the stress of those declines, the people involved are stretched and stressed. The tendency is for our volunteers who are stretched thin to lean on the National Office which then looks for volunteers to help it and the cycle continues. Our planned funding efforts depended on volunteers who did not come forward. We have been handicapped in applying for grants due to lack of statistics from the locals. As the current system is not working, she suggests, unless something significant happens in the interim, that the board direct that the Winter Board Meeting adopt a plan to shutdown the National Office and discontinue the salaried staff position. Her intent is that the shutdown, if necessary, be done in an orderly manner to minimize the damage to the organization by doing so hurriedly and at a higher price tag.

The Board meeting was recessed for lunch.

The meeting reconvened at 1:10 p.m


Henry Bernstein reviewed the agenda and lead the gathering: Right now I feel . . . .


The next item of business was approving resolutions relating to opening brokerage accounts at A.G. Edwards and First Albany to hold or receive stock donations respectively. After discussion, the resolution authorizing the opening of the A.G. Edwards account was approved by consensus. Then the resolution authorizing the opening of the account at First Albany was approved by consensus.


Jan Krouskop on behalf of the Nominating Committee proposed Steve Angell and Marjorie Kerr as our representatives to the International Network. Discussion about the International Network moving to allow regional and individual representatives as well as national representatives. Eduardo Diaz offered to also serve if needed. Discussion around what our representation is and the International Network’s request for one representative from AVPUSA and the board chose to designate a delegate and an alternate. After discussion, Marjorie Kerr was designated as our representative and Steve Angell as our alternate on the International Committee. It was suggested that Marjorie and Steve be appointed for one year terms and that was approved by consensus.


Lloyd Bailey reported for the committee. Ann Ward is Clerk and she is disappointed that she could not be here. He reported that the committee feels it cannot do both fundraising and finance. Marjorie Kerr reviewed four key points from the Winter Board meeting at Purchase, N.Y. They were that we have worked out the confusion over our ability to fund-raise in New York State. The phonathon scheduled for this spring was canceled due to lack of volunteers. The donor drive is in the draft stage and some materials have been prepared. Grants and proposals are stalled due to lack of supporting information such as the audit and annual report. Lloyd Bailey noted that Ann Ward believes she can send grant proposals to foundations when she gets material she needs. Discussion around our lack of follow-through on our commitments. It was emphasized that fundraising is most effective with one to one contact, in person if possible and by mail otherwise. We are not getting the information from locals we need. Tom Truitt proposed for the committee that we active seek data collection using a new simplified form that the workshop leader can fill out quickly and return to both a central location and to the local organization with central location compiling data and returning to the local. Consensus was reached on adopting a form and having workshop leaders send the form to a central location. During the Fundraising and Finance Committee report, there was discussion on distributing our manuals on disk and also around copyrighting our material. The suggestion is that we copyright our material and grant permission to use in AVP workshops and require prior permission for use in different programs. Other benefits of distributing manuals on disk were pointed out including quicker revisions, annotations for material. Negatives were loss of contact between local and AVPUSA office when ordering, cash flow for AVPUSA. Concerns about the use of electronic media excluding certain participants or groups surfaced. No decision was reached and no assignment or further action committed.


John Shuford reported for the committee. The committee of he and Henry Bernstein are working on draft brochures and updating the organizing kit. Lloyd Bailey suggested that AVP create a poster.


Grace McGrath reported for the committee. The Youth Manual is moving slowly toward completion. Most of the committee’s effort is being directed toward revision of the Basic Manual. Three new committee members are: Chelsea Kesselheim, Darrell Hefte, and Cynthia McBain.


No report.


No report.


The group reported via Val Liveoak that they recommend a policy that AVP/USA not proactively seek alignment but encourage joint endeavors at the local level to see what the experience will be. They recommend no action from the National organization. Alignment may be worth doing and should be tried on the local level.


The group reported that we need to review our health insurance when traveling and to inform international travelers to determine what coverage is available. American citizens traveling abroad may not realize the difference in medical treatment and other nationals traveling here may assume, for example, that medical treatment is social benefit as in their homeland. The Board by consensus accepted the report as a board recommendation to facilitators traveling on behalf of AVP.




Diana Couch noted that we need a conference committee. Janet Lugo volunteered for the committee and offered to chair the committee. The meeting will be February 19-21, 1999 in Albany, New York. Ellen Flanders also volunteered to serve on committee as well as Diana Couch.


Tom Truitt proposed a task force to look at alternatives to shutdown of National Office. He suggested the Structures Committee address the issue with additional volunteers: Lloyd Bailey, George Sinnott, John Shuford, Ed Sweeney, Toby Riley, and Ed Ducree. That was approved by consensus. Marjorie Kerr’s proposal that the next board meeting agenda be focused on developing a plan for the closing of the national office and discontinuation of salaried staff should that become necessary was approved by consensus. The Leadership Team was directed to work on a shutdown plan while the other group will work on reorganization alternatives.


Returning to this topic, the Board agreed that affiliations with other organizations should be initiated on a local level through a practical collaboration which might evolve as a model for other groups.

The Meeting was adjourned.




Dickinson, Texas

September 8, 1998


Lloyd Bailey, Rick Krouskop, Jan Krouskop, Leon Ray, Ed Ducree, Ellen Flanders, Fred Feucht, Robin Willets, Grace McGrath, Henry Bernstein, Tom Truitt, Dotty Joos, Pat Wixom, Val Liveoak, May Margaret Economy, Diana Couch, Steve Angell, Marjorie Kerr, John Shuford, Toby Riley, George Sinnott, Bob Barns, and Janet Lugo


Presented by Henry Bernstein and approved without change.


Grace McGrath lead the gathering which was a non-verbal gesture representing: My connection with the spirit of AVP.


Bill McMechan and Eduardo Diaz reported. The news is encouraging. There is a good deal of activity; a web site has been created; and an international directory has been produced. AVP International is seeking a loose structure and wants to give support to other groups around the world. They are seeking a means of sharing information and exercises and want equality of access to all things. The International Network hopes to have an annual report soon. The next International Network meeting will be in the year 2000 in England at Woodbrooke. There is now an International Network Coordinator, namely Bill McMechan. They want a group to support him and have formed a Council of Support with representatives from areas. The current representatives are: Michelle Karshan from the Caribbean Basin; Oscar Escobar from Central and South America; Eileen Schott from England, Scotland and Western Europe; Istvan Fedor from Eastern Europe and Russia; Ara Williamson from Australia, New Zealand and Asia; Theresa Edlmann from Africa; and a representative from the United States. They want to support new groups. With agreement from the trustees of AVP Britain, they will set the site and time for the next International meeting. The Network wishes to schedule the meeting during the off season to reduce travel costs. The next meeting will be 2002 and New Zealand wishes to host it.


Rick Krouskop presented the report which. Regarding IRS reporting requirements, we have had a tax specialist advise us to properly file in future as the liability versus the fine does not justify not reporting. He noted that the audit is a step in the right direction since it does fulfill our auditing by-law requirement but is not a CPA audit as required by some granting organizations. The report is attached to the minutes.


Rick Krouskop noted that there is not a proposed budget.


Additional discussion around committees working on plans for next board meeting. There will be at least two groups: The Structures Committee as originally constituted with a specific charter to give advice on reorganization to interested persons and an Imagine a New Society Committee with the members being those proposed in Board Meeting as additions to Structures Committee. The committees can review AVP administration, management and governance. The Leadership Team was directed to establish a time line for groups to draft proposals for the Winter Board meeting. Tom Truitt offered to serve as Treasurer if needed.

BUDGET (continued)

Returning to the subject of the budget for the next year, the budget from 1997-1998 was adopted as the budget for 1998-1999 by consensus.


The proposed amendment to the By-Laws relative to removal from office was adopted by consensus. The Policy Statement that accompanied the amendment was adopted with one change. The Policy Statement, as adopted, reads as follows:

"Within AVP, diversity is to be encouraged and different thinking is to be supported and welcomed. On rare occasions, however, an officer or a member-at-large of the Board, may by their actions or lack of actions, create or significantly contribute to a condition which seriously impedes the functioning of the Leadership Team, the Board or AVP in general. With this in mind, and after appropriate efforts consistent with AVP/USA policies have failed to remedy the problem, the officer or member-at-large Board member may be suspended from office by a decision of the Leadership Team (excluding the person being suspended from office). This suspension shall be brought before the Board at its next meeting for a decision to remove or reinstate. A person shall not be removed from office or the Board simply because of a difference of opinion or style."


The Nominations Committee proposed the following members for the Board: Khaki Sjogren and Janet Lugo, both for terms expiring in 2001. Candace Mayer LaRue has asked to not be reappointed to the Board as described in her letter. Janet Krouskop and Kathy King are approved for the Nominations Committee for 1998-1999.

The Meeting was adjourned.


Emergency Fund:

While in Haiti facilitating AVP workshops, Janet Lugo of New York, became seriously ill. Because of the complexity of the situation, her doctors in Haiti wanted to send her to the states for emergency surgery. However, the expenses involved in the transfer were not affordable and Janet had to have the surgery done in Haiti...paid for on the credit card of another facilitator from the states. Fortunately, everything went well and Janet’s health is recovering. However, this health emergency will place her under financial stress for some time.

Although not common, there are occasional incidents that can create financial emergencies for our facilitators, especially when facilitating internationally or otherwise "away from home" workshops. It has been suggested that a special fund be established to help meet some of these emergency needs.

The Leadership Team determined that something was needed to meet the immediate situation of Janet Lugo and to meet the needs of others in the future. Consensus was reached to establish an Emergency Fund to assist facilitators experiencing a financial emergency while volunteering for AVP workshops.

The disbursements from this fund are intended to be repaid. However, under unusual circumstances, funds may be dispersed as a grant. Contributions directed to this fund (not to any individual) may be sent to AVP/USA.

Until the Annual Meeting/Board Meeting in September, the Leadership Team will approve any disbursements from the fund. As such, the Leadership Team has approved Janet Lugo as the first recipient of a loan from this fund, at whatever level is available from contributions sent in. It is anticipated that Janet’s needs may completely deplete the initial contributions to the fund, until repaid.

The Annual Meeting/Board Meeting in September should address the following issues: Who should have the ongoing responsibility for disbursements from the fund? What mix of loans vs. grants is appropriate, and what would be the criteria for each? Should the fund be available for only emergencies in overseas workshops, for "away" workshops within the US, or even for emergencies at home? What kind of International Network coordination/cooperation do we want? Will we direct general funds (as well as dedicated contributions) into the Emergency Fund?

We welcome your comments and thinking, and, of course, your contributions. Please ensure that all contributions are noted with "emergency fund".

Revised: 02/26/2014            © 2014 AVP/USA, Inc.