Monday, March 18, 2013

Atlanta Poly Weekend 2013

During St. Patrick's Day weekend, while many folks were attending outdoor events and drinking green beer, I was indoors for three days at a conference.  To add insult to injury, this occurred during the most beautiful weather of the year in Atlanta, Georgia.  That's the bad news; the good news was the conference itself.  Atlanta Polyamory, Inc. (API) sponsored its third annual poly con, aptly named Atlanta Poly Weekend 2013, and it was outstanding.  I feel fortunate to have attended the past two poly cons and both easily met and exceeded all of my expectations.

During 2013, I attended 14 workshops, the keynote address, a presenter's panel, two podcasts, a comedy show, the closing keynote and an API membership meeting.  I missed three of the four workshops running concurrently during each session period, and for various reasons, the talent show, the Saturday night dance lessons and dance, and the con wrap-up session.  With these few exceptions, I was a full participant and regret being unable to attend some of the concurrent workshops.  

Looking back, all of the workshops were good and several were genuinely outstanding.  I will write about these in future posts.  For now, I will briefly discuss the API membership meeting, which was open to all conference attendees.  It was announced during the meeting that the board of directors voted to dissolve API, a 501c-7 non-profit corporation.  A new non-profit corporation will be formed as a 501c-3; as I am not a corporate attorney, no attempt will be made to explain the differences.  I do know that API outgrew its charter, which limits the amount of funds that can be accepted by non-members.  This has potentially serious tax consequences and puts the officers and directors at financial risk.  Simply put, something had to be done.  

The technicalities of the corporate change probably had little meaning for the majority of folks in attendance.  However, when it was announced that the conference would continue on into the future with very little noticeable change, the audience response was a resounding round of applause.  There was no doubting the importance of the conference in the minds, hearts (and probably genitals) of those present.   

The name of the new corporation will be Relationship Equality Foundation (REF), with a broader geographical and inclusive scope and purpose.  REF will focus on the southeast and will continue to educate and advocate, but going forward, for all relationship and family structures.  I am excited about the change.  I believe it is needed, but I also feel a certain sadness for the organizers, directors and officers, who for legal reasons, cannot assume the same positions with the new corporation.  I also confess to some concern about a possible leadership void.  Billy Holder, Chairman, more than anyone, has poured his heart, soul, blood and tears into API.  He is a natural leader, and his leadership will be greatly missed.  (Although, I suspect he will find ways to add his talent to the new venture.  I certainly hope so.)         

As previously stated, there is much more to write about and I promise to do so.