The annual FEC Assembly is held in March of each year. Responsibility for hosting the community is rotated among Full Member Communities.
Each full member community and Community in Dialog (CiD) is encouraged to send 1 or 2 delegates, with transportation costs covered by the FEC within the organization's capability as determined by the delegates, with priority for full member communities of the FEC. Communities interested in joining the FEC may also send observers to attend the Assembly before becoming a Community-in-Dialogue.
During the Assembly, we accept new communites as CiDs, and promote CiDs to Full Member Communities. We create our annual budget. We discuss our shared values and current issues facing our organization or member communities. Sometimes we will wait to address more complex issues during Assembly instead of working through them in monthly conference calls or via e-mail.
Hosting the FEC Assembly at Your Community:
Pre-Assembly. Begin at least a month ahead to find out who is coming as delegates or otherwise from each community. Arrange for pick up at nearby airports, train stations, bus stations. Make sure you know who is coming, what mode of transport to what location, and what time/day/date they are arriving.
Special Needs. Find out if anyone has special needs around rooms, food, children.
In addition to delegates, the host community may be asked to host LEXers who want to come along with delegates. It is the host community’s decision to host LEXers or not. Non-LEXers may want to come along to sit in on the meetings or visit the host community. The FEC encourages folks to sit in on meetings, but if the host community feels they cannot accommodate these folks, it is their call. Keep in mind that delegates may have children they plan to bring along.
The Assembly actually begins the day before the first scheduled day of meetings. The day before the first scheduled day of the Assembly, folks begin arriving. The evening before the first day of scheduled meetings, the Delegates meet for a session of personal check-ins.
5 days of meetings. Usually, starting at 9 a.m. and meeting, in 4 sessions (two in the morning, two in the afternoon), until 5-6 p.m. Each day there is usually one session "off." There is an approx. 20 minute break between each session and 1.5 hours for lunch.
Room(s) For Assembly Meetings. Figure out what room the Assembly meetings will be held in. The ideal room is acoustically isolated, has enough room and chairs for the # of people attending, some light/air flow possibilities. It is preferable that all meetings take place in the same room, however being in one room one day and another on other whole days is preferable to changing rooms throughout the day. Be ready to brief the delegates on the etiquette on using that room (like do we have to clean up after each meeting, or at the end of each day, or just at the end of the Assembly?).
Working Sessions. During the meetings week the delegates group will break down into smaller groups to "get work done." This requires the use of several rooms at the same time. Think ahead about what rooms could be used for this, smaller rooms are fine (for 2-5 people).
Evening meetings. There are generally 2 evening meetings; one for Community Reports, and one for an "Open Space" Discussion Topic. These are scheduled in the evening so that folks living in the host community may attend. These can be held anywhere that the space is big enough and optimally in a space where folks are most likely to attend. Find out ahead of time from the agenda planner when these are so you can post them/announce them to the your community to encourage participation.
Meals. Ensure that meals will be provided to the delegates with a vegetarian/vegan option depending on dietary preferences expressed by those attending. Meeting breaks are relatively short and delegates need access to snacks that are easy and quick to prepare.
There is money available if your community feels a hardship in providing food and accomodations for delegates to the assembly, especially for smaller communities.
Delegates will need access to the phone and to the internet. As our organization has grown more internationally, there are communities associated with the FEC who would like to attend the assembly via phone or videochat.
Open Space Discussion Topic. Survey your fellow communards and work with the agenda planner to select a topic for the Open Space discussion that people in your community are interested in and have a greater chance of attending.
Work Party. Also, survey your community for ideas on, and find someone to honcho, the "work party," usually a couple of hours when delegates help out the host community with work.
Scheduled Socializing Events. It is ok, even encouraged for the host community to schedule socializing events with the delegates. It is also ok for the host community to ask delegates to help with domestic tasks each day such as doing dishes, helping in the kitchen.