VIMS Council Meeting Minutes (approved)
Friday, February 26, 2016 at 7:00 p.m.
Brock and June’s home
Brock, June, Sandra, Bruce, Brian, Rhonda
Absent with Regrets:
- Review and Approve Council Meeting Agenda:
Motion from Sandra to approve the agenda. Carried.
- Approve Minutes of Previous Meeting (December 10th, 2015):
There were no changes to the distributed draft minutes from the December council meeting. Motion from June to approve the minutes. Carried.
- Business arising from the Minutes and Updates:
- The scheduled council meeting for January was cancelled as too few council members were able to attend.
- Welcome to our new council member – Rhonda Duncan – and a formal vote for her inclusion to council. Motion from Brock for Rhonda to join council.
- Council came to a decision through email discussion that registration for Brock’s Meditation Basics course would not be sent via Constant Contact. This would be outside of current practice. Courses like this are useful and should be supported by posting on the website under Mindfulness Related Events and in the Newsletter. Maybe we will change the policy in the future but more discussion is needed if we are to use Constant Contact registration for fee-based courses.
- The Meditation Basics course didn’t run due to an insufficient number of registrants.
- A promotional piece on Jim Bedard’s book “Old Pond – the Teachings of the Elders” appeared in Buddhadharma with two recommendations. One appeared to be from the Victoria Insight Meditation group. This was brought to the attention of council but no one could find the owner of the recommendation. Sandra contacted Eric Bedard (a sangha member and Jim’s brother) who followed up with Jim. It became evident that the recommendation was actually the result of some commentary which had been edited out of context and should not have been used in that format for the purpose of promotion. The author has undertaken not to use this again.
- Ajaan Geoff will be teaching a weekend workshop in Bellingham in September 2016 (10th/11th) and will visit Vancouver Island afterwards. VIMS will not be involved in this visit.
- Thank you notes were sent to Helga Beer (the yoga studio) and Goward House (Elaine in her role as Manager) for supportive services provided during 2015.
- The 2015 Year End Report prepared by June and distributed to council members prior to the meeting was reviewed – Balance Sheet, Profit & Loss and the Financial Summary. An overall small loss was reflected – the actual being very close to what had been projected. A question was asked regarding the change in assets between 2014 and 2015 – June will investigate and report back to Council.
Motion from Brian to accept the 2015 Year End Report. Carried.
- Council gave June permission to approach two people from the VIMS community to review the 2015 books in preparation for the 2016 AGM in May.
- The revised 2016 Budget was reviewed. It contained some minor changes which were suggested at the initial presentation in December. The revisions were reviewed and agreed.
Motion from Sandra to approve the 2016 Budget. Carried.
- As we did not have a council meeting in January we are reporting here the month-end bank information for both December and January:
Account Balances as of January 1st, 2016:
Account Balances as of February 1st, 2016:
- Month-end report for January 2016 prepared by our Bookkeeper Wei was reviewed.
Motion from June to accept the report. Carried.
Council thanks Wei for her ongoing finance-related work for VIMS and June for her ongoing work as Treasurer.
- 2015 Year-end reports for the AGM in May 2016:
- Retreat Operations (done) – June to send council members copies for review. This document has been reviewed and approved by Isy House, the Retreat Operations coordinator.
- Financials (done) – council has received a copy of this report.
- The following reports are still to be compiled and distributed for review. The deadline for completion is mid-April:
- Communications – Bruce.
- Sunday Night Sit – Sandra and Margo.
- Study Group – Bruce.
- Beginner Drop-in – Brock.
- Changes in Council – Bruce.
- Council was reminded of the importance of getting essential information from the council meetings to Margo for inclusion in the newsletter. At each meeting Council will identify items that need to be sent to Margo for the newsletter and also to Bruce for website updates. Depending on the item(s) any of the council members could take responsibility for following up with Margo and Bruce.
- Constant Contact (CC) problem with subscription: A few regular Victoria IMS participants informed us that although they had signed up online for our newsletter (some multiple times) they were still not receiving it. June undertook an investigation with CC and discovered that there was a group of subscribers who had been affected by a technical problem with CC’s double-opt-in Confirm Subscription feature. June contacted 54 people and provided them with instructions to sign up again. 19 are now registered as having Express Permission (a CC status) to receive VIMS email communications. This required many phone calls to CC asking for their technical intervention and help as well as email support to subscribers who did not receive the email asking them to confirm (when they signed up online), or could not follow the instructions, or for whom the instructions did not work. The Confirm Subscription feature in CC has now been removed from our email signup process.
- Compliance with Canada anti-spam legislation (CASL): VIMS has 729 contacts on our CC contact list as of March 1, 2016. 462 of these have implied permission and 267 have express permission. In order to be in compliance with the Canada anti-spam legislation we will need to have all contacts give express permission by July 2017 or remove them from our contact list. There is a template available through CC that can be sent to these subscribers asking them to verify that they want to be on the mailing list. Once they respond with a confirmation they will join the express permission category. VIMS will need a strategy for following up with those who only have implied permission Sandra will speak to Rod when he returns to Victoria and try to work this through in the summer.
- It was agreed that there would be a change to the wording for the dana message on the retreat invitations and reminders to participants that VIMS sends out by email. Current related text: “The suggested donation for operational costs for this one day event is $20 ($40 for two days) but retreatants are invited to give whatever feels comfortable according to their situation.” Modified text: “The suggested donation for operational costs for this one day event is $20 ($40 for two days).”
- Website: The website needs to be updated regularly and consistently with relevant information from council meetings.
- Retreat Operations:
- Heather Martin’s retreat in January (16th/17th) was well attended. 97 registered; 25 cancelled (mostly in the week prior to the retreat); 72 were expected on the day; there were 12 ‘no shows’; 56 attended on Saturday and 52 on Sunday. Thanks to Joan as registrar and for stepping into the coordinator/manager role at the last minute when the assigned manager cancelled. Thanks to Bruce as coordinator and sound technician and to all volunteers who helped with setup and close on the two days.
- Margo McLoughlin’s one day retreat in February was also well attended. 76 people registered; 10 cancelled prior to the retreat; 66 were expected on the day; there were 15 ‘no shows’; there were 3 unregistered attendees; 54 attended in all. Thanks to Lawrie as registrar, Sandra as coordinator and co-manager with Helen. Thanks to Metta as sound technician and to all volunteers who helped with setup and close on the day.
- A letter was received at Margo’s retreat with a complaint about VIMS’ wasteful use of energy, specifically the fact that the door leading to the garden was kept open on a number of occasions while the heating was being used. Sandra (as coordinator of this retreat) will formulate a response and send it on behalf of VIMS.
- Victoria IMS received messages of gratitude from participants after both Heather and Margo’s retreats following the distribution of a post-retreat email entitled Reflections and Lost and Found Items.
- The question of promoting books (for sale) and non-VIMS-related events at retreats was discussed. Council felt that when there was potential for this we needed to make an assessment on a case by case basis. If it was agreed for any particular retreat/teacher, it should only be done towards the end of the retreat so as not to distract attendees from the retreat itself.
- One of the co-managers for Pascal Auclair’s retreat in March (25/26) cancelled and Brock, who is coordinator, will contact Joyce and Isy to see if they can find a replacement.
- Rhonda has agreed to maintain the 2016 Retreat Operations Report.
- We are still looking for volunteers who can step into various retreat support roles on short notice when there are last minute cancellations.
- Sunday Sit:
- Heather Martin has been scheduled (confirmed) to facilitate the Sunday night Sit for May 8th, July 10th, September 18th and November 13th, 2016. As we have retreats planned for the weekend of September 17/18 and for November 13 we will see if some adjustments can be made. The attendance at the Sunday night sit is often lower than usual on weekends when there are retreats. Sandra to discuss with Margo.
- Other possible facilitators for Sunday nights were discussed – e.g. Tuere Sala – Community Dharma Leader Seattle (Brock to contact), Arleen Pare – Poet (Brock to contact in conjunction with Margo), Leigh Brasington – meditation teacher (Margo to contact). Motion from Sandra to proceed with contacting these people. Carried.
- Council has suggested that it be mentioned at the Sunday night sit that volunteers are needed to act as co-managers at retreats. It was also requested (as a result of a complaint) that the facilitator remind everyone to turn off their phones, pagers and other technology that is likely to go off during the evening. Sandra and Margo will put together a short list of ‘reminder’ items for the facilitators: e.g. switch off phones, length of break, silence in break, lending library, etc.
- 2016 Programs:
- Jan 16/17 – Heather Martin – complete.
- Feb 20 – Margo McLoughlin – one day – complete.
- Mar 25/26 – Pascal Auclair – Friday and Saturday (Easter weekend).
- May 20 – Ajahn Sona with Margo – public talk (Jataka tales) – Goward House.
- May 21/22 – Ajahn Sona.
- June 26 – Ajahn Sudanto (Abbott of the Pacific Hermitage).**
- Sept 17/18 – Steve Armstrong.
- Oct 15/16 – Christina Feldman.
- Nov 13 – Brock Brown – one day.
- Other possibilities for 2016:
*Ajahn Tiradhammo (possible visit in July)
*Arinna Weisman – talk/Sunday night facilitation – June is in discussion with Chris about this.
*Solwazi Johnson – Brock will contact Solwazi.
**Council discussed and agreed on the need to provide an informative description of the retreat for registrants
- 2017 Programs:
- Jan 21/22 – Heather Martin – confirmed – Goward House.
- March 18/19 – Howard Cohn – confirmed – Goward House.
- May 27/28 – Ayya Medhanandi – confirmed – Goward House.
- Aug 19/20 – Ajaan Geoff – confirmed – University of Victoria venue.
- Oct 14/15 – Steve Armstrong – confirmed – Goward House.
Additional events could potentially be held in February, April, September (16/17 or 23/24) and November.
- Other possible teachers:
- Ajahn Sona
- Adrianne Ross – Brock to speak to Adrianne.
- Ajahn Tiradhammo.
- Local teachers Brock and Margo to do a one day each.
- Arinna Weisman talk.
- 2018 Programs:
- Carol Wilson has agreed to come to Victoria the first or second week of November 2018.
- Meeting adjourned at 9:45 p.m.
March 31st, 2016