By the “Site Search Committee” of Victoria Regional Meeting .

This letter was presented at Standing Committee, prior to Yearly Meeting 2013 in Canberra. Regional Meetings are asked to respond to this letter in time for Documents in Advance for mid-year Standing Committee. In a letter published in the December issue of the AF, Jenny Madeline from NSWRM voiced similar concerns. Friends are invited to engage in an online discussion about alternative ways for Quakers in Australia to organise YM.

Given the difficulty in finding a suitable location, and our prediction that the difficulty will increase in the future, we propose that YM committee gives serious consideration to the idea that YM ceases to rotate and is held in the same location each year, viz at Wollongong or Albury Wodonga. We are aware that a proposal something like this was considered some years ago, but we would like to raise it for consideration again now.

This committee of 3 persons thinks we collectively spent up to 80 hours (two weeks work) to come to the recommendation above (including phoning, emailing, meeting, site visits, etc). There is still time to be spent negotiating the actual contract. Each year a new committee in a new city must spend about the same amount of time. It is hard to use ‘lessons learned’ efficiently due to the changing persons involved and lack of clear ‘handover’.

Friends could use their time and energy more effectively and most likely get a better financial package by giving one venue repeat business for a 3 to 5 year period. The importance of finding a readily accessible site with the range of facilities we want is not to be discounted. We could for example choose a site from which it was be easy to link live to web conferencing software for people. If the site for Yearly Meeting does not change from year to year, other aspects of the planning and organisation process may need to change. For example there may need to be a ‘site committee’ that is appointed for a number of years. The program planning may still rotate around meetings, managing registrations and the help desk etc. Also, a fair pricing structure needs to be worked out such that Friends from distant locations can be subsidised.

These issues need to be carefully considered when discerning whether continuing to rotate each year is viable.

(post script: A site has been booked in Melbourne for YM 2015)

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