2023 Year End General Assembly: Presidents Report

APDC Presidents Report for 2023 (draft in progress!)

Here we are again, my friends, at the end of another annual cycle.

The APDC Constitution, which I will summarize with greater detail later in this report, establishes the following responsibilities as those of the President:

The President shall be the legal or extrajudicial representative of the Association with powers of attorney without limit of amount. (S)He shall sign the minutes with the Secretary, sign the checks of the Association’s bank accounts, as well as the authorization of transfers, and shall preside over the General Assemblies and the Board of Directors’ meetings.

It is my great pleasure to fulfill this particular responsibility I accepted when you voted me in as President of the Asociacion Puente Diamante by sharing with you this report.

Preface and Acknowledgements:

I’d like to start of course, with tremendous gratitude for these 3 years past, and all who have come, and gone, and come again, or not. I offer exceptional thanks to the members who have been showing up consistently, cultivating lasting relationships with each other, our neighbors, the Diamante Valley community at large, Costa Rica.

The successes, the lessons, the experiences shared are a collective win but we are individuals who are the gears big and small, interdependent on each other even as we many not be aware of our own, or another’s, significance in our progress.

Or in some cases, lack thereof! So too, I offer my apologies for where I have failed this organization. As I reflect on the progression of activities undertaken, I feel some sadness that my absence has been protracted and this has stalled movement for the last half of 2023.

And how? Our Board of Directors only met 3 times this year, falling one short of what is called for in our Constitution. We did not meet a stated goal of hosting a retreat with working groups to address Constitutional changes, the drafting of Bylaws, the establishment of paid roles. Nor did we open a bank account for the Association, a primary goal for this year.

The changes to our meeting schedule that I proposed in this Forum post, and that were passed at February’s General Circle meeting, led to a disintegration of regular gatherings to discuss and direct further action by the DBC in 2023. Workshop Wednesday’s were a big hit early in the year, kicked off by this excellent non-verbal communication training series, then attendance dwindled and circles stopped… circling.

In past years we had such long lists of proposals passed, projects completed, participants lauded! What on Earth DID we do as the DBC this third time around the sun as Associates of the Puente Diamante?

Well, let’s refresh our collective membery with this stroll through the archives!

Board Meetings:

Here are the Minutes from Meetings of the Board this year, detailing discussion points, proposals, action items and decisions made this year:

2023-01-04 Board of Directors Quarterly Meeting Notes

2023-04-05 Board of Directors Quarterly Meeting Notes

2023-12-05 Board of Directors Quarterly Meeting Notes

Part of the APDC purpose is to engage with State institutions and cooperative and/or communal organizations for the best development of its activities. Throughout 2023 the Board has worked to get a bank account established and encountered many roadblocks. These hurdles still today stand in the way of receiving and distributing funding including grants and donations for our projects.

Our good fortune to have Sat Prem (Petr) join us as Treasurer this year by itself was not enough to overcome, and it became evident that further changes to the Board configuration are necessary. I even offered to resign as President recently in order to make way for someone more qualified and capable! Instead, for now you still have me🙂, as Tim Brahier has graciously tendered his resignation as Vice President and created that space.

Vice President Nomination:

Please take a moment to read this Forum Post with my nomination of Randall Saborio for Vice President of the DBC / Asociacion Puente Diamante. I hope, dear member, you will join the call on Wednesday Dec. 20 to hear the proposal at General Assembly, and I trust that any objections raised will help lead us to more confidence in the decision taken by the membership at that time.

Constitutional Articles - 2023 Activity:

The Constitution (a legally registered document with Costa Rica) of the APDC (aka DBC) charters members to conduct affairs toward the betterment of our society.

  • It sets forth in Article 3 the purpose of this Social Impact Organization as:

    • To create collective models of coexistence based on the practice of ecological, social, economic, worldview dimensions and in the management of goods and resources of all kinds in a sustainable, adaptive and regenerative way, facilitating continuous programs of related mentoring.
  • Activities listed in Article 4 for the DBC to perform in the fulfillment of the Purpose:

    • To propitiate the support of State institutions, cooperative and/or communal organizations for the best development of its activities.
      • Talks, programs, training, healing and integral learning centers, volunteering, seminars, congresses, meetings, conviviums, alliances.

In these regards, while there are many shortcomings as addressed in my preface, I see that our Collective and it’s Associates have been very hard at work since our establishment and 2023 is no exception to this! The focus on ‘Workshop Wednesdays’ in the beginning of the year, the engagement as a community to develop our co-existential relations and skill, participation in events such as the Protopian Convergence in Arenal and the ReFi Costa Rica event in San Jose, and the circles that many members of our collective body have engaged in to work through our personal and societal challenges, on reflection has been quite significant.

  • As a registered Asociación Colectiva, Article 5 identifies APDC resources as:
    • Donations and legacies
    • Subsidies and specific items from the State
    • Voluntary contributions of all kinds of goods and services
    • The Association may also enter into contracts of all kinds and carry out all kinds of lawful operations aimed at achieving its purposes

This is a valuable section to consider…

Laying the groundwork to enter into contracts that allow us to carry out lawful operations, building the capacities of our young people to step into positions that hold powers, receiving voluntary contributions of goods and services - we did a lot of this in 2023.

The APDC was not created with any purpose of establishing or running a profitable business; indeed it cannot, according to our Constitution. It does however, intend to provide experiences that help Associates practice their ecological, social, economic and worldview dimensions toward personally sustainable livelihoods through the offerings outlined in Article 4. You gotta give this to us - we have been practicing deeply in these areas and I personally believe we will see a substantial growth spurt in the coming 1-3 years for what we put into it these past 3!!

  • Articles 6, 7, and 8 address the types of Associates (aka Members), how one may request affiliation, and how to cease affiliation.
    • Procedures place the responsibilities for this on the Board of Directors, and describes specific processes for notifications, extraordinary meeting scheduling, and appeals.

In the drafting and approval of our Constitution, we attempted to keep it as simple as possible, and leave many of the possible variations on membership and affiliation types to a group commissioned to draft the Bylaws of the Associates.

While many have expressed interest in being ‘part’ of a group for the purpose of establishing bylaws, membership benefits, and land node agreements, none have stepped forward to lead such a committee at this this time.

And so it is…n’t happening… yet.

  • Articles 9 through 18 establish the bodies of the organization, their duties and powers:
    • General Assembly: The highest body, comprised of All Associates / Members

      • To comply with the Law of Associations and its reforms, the bylaws, programs and regulations of the Association, as well as the agreements emanating from its bodies.
      • To attend the meetings that are called.
      • To cooperate with the conservation of the assets and the proper development of the activities and programs of the Association.
      • To support the efforts, programs and activities that are carried out for the fulfillment of the Association’s objectives.
    • Board of Directors: Elected by the General Assembly to conduct affairs in accordance with the Constitution

    • “Prosecutors Office”:

Yo, this is the meat – You!

Who the Associates are, determines what we do… It’s what you do. If you want to legally hold the rights to land for conducting our affairs, for having the spaces to provide educational content for ourselves and other members of the community, enriching experiences that connect us as people of place… What we do and how we do it is up to you.

We can change our circles, change our governance process, change how often we meet and what we do when we get together, change the impact we are having on society. WE can do what WE find to be the best way to coexist in harmony, to resolve tensions, and to be better members of society here, in partnership with Costa Rica and our municipalities, as neighbors and as a part of life in all it’s joys and tribulations.

You can nominate new Board Members, and only you can vote them in.

You can propose initiatives and you can object to initiatives proposed by others.

You can get the APDC in shape to receive land grants. You can draft contracts for partnerships.

So what do you want to do, yo?