Live streaming, Solstice Party, the budget, & sexual harassment: December 2017

President’s Message

Happy Holidays my fellow Humanists! This month, we’re covering our new live streaming system, a quick budget update, sexual harassment and codes of conduct, and our Annual Solstice Party!

We’re (almost) live streaming!

Video capture cardAs a modern, up and coming community, it’s imperative that we continue to improve our technological prowess. In order to reach more people in the valley, whether they can attend our meetings or not, we’ve had a small team putting together an HD live video streaming solution.

Lights, camera

HSGP's YouTube Channel ScreenshotToday, after months of effort and scrounging for affordable parts and deals, I’m proud to announce our YouTube Channel, the Humanist Society of Greater Phoenix!

This last Sunday, December 3rd, we soft-launched our video setup. We had a few problems, but we have a very successful proof of concept. We’ll be putting a bit more work into the equipment and settings. While our previous streams had no stuttering issues, when we also tried to save the file to disk, it started stuttering and did not have time to upgrade the unit before the event.

After that, we’ll be working on improving the audio volume and quality with splitting and amplifiers. Baby-steps!

Action

Once the dust settles, we’ll be live streaming and taking questions via our Twitter page. Please subscribe to our Twitter @hsgp!

Please pardon our dust while we work out the bugs. In the meantime, please click the big red “Subscribe” button and click the little bell icon to get all of our updates!

The Budget

While all of our video streaming equipment was donated and did not incur any expenses to the organization, we had a crushing amount of expenses this year.

What you know

We knew about the defect in the roof after the monsoons of 2016 and that it would cost nearly $7,000 to fix. That’s why we made arrangements to have it fixed in April and May. However, we found out about the problems with our fire suppression system after the city of Mesa accidentally forgot to turn our water back on while they were installing the new water line along Rio Salado. We eagerly complied to bring our building up to code and safety standards once it was brought to our attention. Over $2,000 later, we had a new valve and monitoring system, complete with its own monthly monitoring costs.

Our job is never done

However, it has recently been brought to our attention that the valve had become clogged with material, possibly from the construction, and was no longer functional. We are currently in the process of having that valve replaced for nearly another $700.

To recap, for an organization that only takes in about $29,000 per year, we’ve had an additional $11,000 in expected and unexpected expenses, that’s nearly 137% of our normal budget! I’m happy to announce that, through our fundraising, as of November, we were slightly less than $2,000 in the red for the year, just 6% away from having no deficit this year.

Take action

I know that we can close this gap. We have our last Fundraiser this year, our annual Solstice party, which Anita will talk about below. However, please do not wait. If you can step up, please consider making your end of year, tax-deductible charitable contribution today to say “I want to balance the budget!” Please donate today via our website and to get a spot on our fundraising board on display at the center! Thank you for believing in us and thank you for your support!

Sexual Harassment & General Conduct

Over the last few months, harrowing revelations have emerged about entertainers and politicians that were previously respected and revered seemingly beyond reproach. Some have admitted their transgressions. Others steadfastly maintain they are innocent, some despite an unignorable plethora of claims. For those who maintain their innocence, we’re left to question and skeptically evaluate the claims laid bare. While on the other hand, for those who have admitted their mistakes, we’re left to decide what should be done to bring about justice for the past and future survivors.

Our calling

Humanists, especially we secular Humanists, do not believe that we are called to a higher standard. Rather, we as Humanists call ourselves to higher standards. Though there are no active claims of sexual harassment in our community, we as a board feel that we need to take proactive measures to ensure that it is made clear that inappropriate behavior is not acceptable and that survivors have a means of reporting the act.

How to report

While we are still working on an official sexual harassment and general code of conduct policy, please do report any difficulties or transgressions that you’ve had while at our center. You may contact any board member you that you trust to get the process started. Please see our board’s page or feel free to ask any member about your board members.

Thank you for your patience while we get this right. As secular Humanists, we value the inherent dignity and bodily autonomy of all members and guests of our community. You have our unwavering commitment to those goals.

Membership Director’s Message

The time has come for me to pass the torch into the future.  The Membership Director for 2018 is James Osborn.  James, along with his committee will be taking on all my previous duties.  The committee members are Elizabeth Sowell, who will be the face of the committee at Sunday meetings; Kathy Pettycrew, who has been my right-hand woman doing clerical work in the background and Teresa Cokl, who will also be doing additional clerical work.  You have already seen Elizabeth’s smiling face sitting at the membership table during the Sunday meetings.  Please give her a smile in return and a welcoming hello when you walk in the door.

There is great responsibility involved in the Membership Director/Committee positions with a lot going on behind the scenes.  It’s a responsibility that I was willing and honored to bear during my eight year tenure.  I will now be devoting more of my time to my needlework projects and maybe even get a chance to clean my house.  I’ll still be very involved with HSGP issues and activities; you’re not getting rid of me that easily.

By the way, I will be continuing my monthly crocheted sleeping mats workshop next year, beginning in January.  Watch for the Meetup announcements.

We are still in the process of planning HSGP’s annual Solstice Celebration being held on December 16 and are desperately in need of more volunteers.  I’ve taped a list of needed volunteer duties on the wall behind the Membership card table near the entrance to the meeting hall.  You can sign up for your choice(s) at  SignUp Genius  Scroll down to the list of volunteer slots.  Please sign up for the task(s) of your choice so we know who to expected and what tasks will be covered.  SignUp Genius can also be accessed on our website at hsgp.org at the very bottom of the home page.  In that case you will need to click on the picture of the candles first,

In addition to the annual Solstice Celebration being a fundraiser to support essential organization maintenance and functions, we also hope to collect funds to help support Secular Coalition for Arizona.  SCAZ is a secular lobbying organization promoting the separation of church of state.  Their lobbyist, Tory Roberg, diligently visits Arizona’s legislature at the state capitol every day urging Arizona’s senators and representatives to honor the constitution and representing what we, the people, expect of them.  The SCAZ Secular Studies program presents a weekly meeting where legislators come together to discuss practical, Humanistic approaches to addressing our state’s challenges. This program was initiated by SCAZ in response to twice weekly Bible Studies instituted by the legislative leadership.

LET’S MAKE THIS YEAR’S SOLSTICE PARTY A ROUSING SUCCESS!

In case you missed this last month, here’s the list of items being offered for purchase to help with HSGP’s ongoing expenses.  Payments can be made at the event itself.  Or, if you wish, you can pay online – just be sure to indicate what your payment is for.

Sunday Child Care One Sunday $30.00
Sunday Child Care Two Sundays $60.00
PO Box Rental Annual $64.00
Winter Electric Bill One Month $65.00
Internet Service One Month $89.00
Security System One Quarter $105.00
Water, Trash, and Sewer One Month $122.00
Insurance One Month $129.33
Food for Sunday Breakfast One $150.00
Housekeeping and Cleaning One Month $170.00
Paid Speaker One $250.00
City Fire Safety Inspection Annual $255.00
Summer Electric Bill One Month $320.00
Landscaping & Grounds Cleanup One Month $300.00
Painting Community Center Interior One Time $1,000.00
Insurance Annual $1,551.96

THE USUAL SPIEL

Prior to every meeting and event a volunteer request is emailed and/or posted on Meetup with a link to SignUp Genius where you can schedule your volunteer choice and time.  As always, to insure that there is enough food for breakfast, we need at least three people to bring a breakfast casserole to the Sunday meetings.

We also are always in need of people to help prepare and set up the breakfast buffet, tables and chairs and anything else that is listed on the SignUpGenius. Please click on the SignUpGenius button here to let us know what you will be doing so we can plan accordingly.

If something comes up and you can’t commit to your volunteer choice, please let us know so we will know to compensate for the gap.  We so appreciate your willingness to volunteer.

A good volunteer base of many people goes a long way to lessening the burden on the small handful of people who do everything all the time. Any help you can give will be much appreciated.  Thank you to the people who do help.

Anita Romanowski

Membership Director (Outgoing)

anita.romanowski@hsgp.org

 

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