In May, I suggested a slate of proposals to try and combat the current leadership crisis EUU finds itself in. Fortunately the members who attended our recent CC Meeting came up with some potentially popular solutions to our problems.
The CC Meeting, which was graciously hosted by Matt Gilsenan of the Basel Fellowship, followed a different format than previous meetings. Eva Kortekaas, Netherlands Fellowship and ICUU Rep, had suggested that we initially discuss my proposals in smaller groups to increase input and interaction (sometimes missing in sit-around-the-table, more formal meetings). Sara Ascher, Executive Director of ICUU, had suggested that we try and remember why EUU had made some of the fundamental decisions that had led to our current structural and operating principles and then see if they were still useful.
In response, I divided the CC attendees into four Work Groups (Volunteerism, Identity, Technology and Retreats), gave each group a list of questions, and asked them to consider the proposals. Here are some of the considerations they came up with.
- The Formation of a Retreat Steering Committee. This proposal was met with overall enthusiasm. Two minor modifications included trying to make the recruiting for committee members transparent and only paying the fees of the two co-organizers of each retreat.
- The Reconceptualization of our CC Meetings. This was one of the more productive discussions. It was decided that the Summer CC Meeting, which is often difficult for members to attend, would be replaced with one or more Zoom meetings targeting specific issues identified at the Spring Retreat CC Meeting.It was further decided that we would continue to hold the Spring and Fall CC meetings on the Sunday afternoons after the Retreats. These meeting will be a bit shorter (ending by 17:00) and focus on time-sensitive decisions and identifying topics requiring more in-depth discussion. The creation of the Retreat Steering Committee should make reducing the length of these CC meetings possible.
The Winter CC Meeting will be held at a Youth Hostel in Germany. Participants will arrive on Saturday and be assigned to a Work Group (decided on by the President). The Work Groups will work for several hours on the issues facing EUU and then have dinner together and socialize. On Sunday morning, a more formal meeting will be held at which the conclusions and proposals of the Work Groups are discussed in the larger group. EUU will budget a room for each Board Member, each Fellowship Representative, and the Committee Heads deemed needed by the President (out of the savings from the canceled summer meeting). We are enthusiastic that this new structure will ferment more ideas, more solutions, more fellowship and more fun than most meetings have previously done!
- Social Action Proposal. No one was in favor of eliminating the post of Social Action Coordinator – not after we had so successfully integrated Social Action into Fellowship life. Luckily, we didn’t have to. Terri Michos has generously agreed to take over from Jodi Stolzenbach and Diana Smith. I’m sure she would love some company, so don’t hesitate to help with one of our most meaningful volunteering activities.
- Transylvania Exchange Proposal. Jodi Stolzenbach is arranging the visit of the students at the Fall Retreat in Bad Homburg. Whether the program will continue, and who will coordinate it, are questions for the next CC Meeting.
- The Establishment of a Fellowship Coordinator was approved. Caitlin McGinn will be working on strengthening bonds between the Fellowships (including At-Large) and facilitating the visits of our UUA Ambassador.
- The Proposal to make the roles of our officers clearer was applauded but needed more time. One definite outcome was the proposed alteration to our by-laws which would change the Presidential term to two years with the possibility of a one-year extension.
- It was agreed that Pledging should be integrated into the Retreat Registration process and into the webpage, and that Pay Pal (or a similar service) be used for both Pledging and the payment of Retreat Registration Fees. Unfortunately, we have not been able to get this up and functioning for the Bad Homburg Retreat. Hopefully, the new Board and the Technology Work Group will have a solution by the Prague (Spring 2020) Retreat. This is one of the most exciting and necessary areas for EUU to investigate over the next year and a wonderful opportunity to learn more about popular technological tools for the running of small volunteer organizations. Contact Gevene Hertz for more information.
There are assuredly many more popular proposals that could strengthen our group. The new Board looks forward to hearing them!