Since the last time we were in Marin, lots of things have changed from the young organization we were then.  People/volunteers come and go, philosophy becomes more specific, goals become more concrete, but one thing hasn’t changed – there’s always a mountain of work to do.

At no time, since the inception of POCA, has leadership been concentrated in the hands of one or two individuals.  The structure of POCA ensures that the elected Board of Directors directs the work of POCA, and the General Circle carries it out.  The volunteers in each Circle – Finance, Membership, Events, Clinic Success, and Publications & Content – work the details and make sure things don’t drop through the cracks.  As a volunteer professional organization, we have been incredibly successful in accomplishing good work.  All money collected as dues and donations goes toward work that would never be done by any other acupuncture organization.

A few years ago, someone in a key leadership position became dissatisfied with the direction of POCA and eventually left POCA altogether amid ugly accusations and insults.  There were forum posts and emails that left a lot of people in POCA feeling hurt and abused, and left some bridges irreparably burned.  Since that time, this person has had no dealings with POCA and has, numerous times, stated she wished no involvement with POCA.  She changed her clinic’s payment structure so that it was no longer eligible for LOC listing (this has since changed), and there was no further correspondence.

When this person (who is not now a member) registered for POCA Fest in Marin, there were concerns by the people who were most targeted by her previous acrimony, that her presence would make it difficult for them to hold their workshops in a meaningful way.  The GC met, and came to agreement that we would ask her to refrain from attending those workshops, with the option of receiving a full refund on her registration if she chose not to attend because of this request.  After receiving her reply, which was rude and indicated no desire to get along, no acknowledgment of previous bad behavior, and did not answer the GC’s request, the GC agreed it would be best to cancel her registration, refund the payment in full, and get on with the conference for the people who truly want to participate in POCA’s work.

POCA Fest has always been a place of outpouring love, fellowship, and good feeling.  Although non-members may look at it as just a place to get cheap CEU’s, those of us who have been close to POCA’s work know that without the cooperation that comes from this love and true affection for each other, none of this work we have accomplished so far would have been possible.

The GC feels it is imperative to hold the space of POCA Fest as a creative, nurturing space where we can all uplift each other.  Disruptive people and elements cannot co-exist with the cooperative feeling that we envision for POCA Fest.

POCA is not a public organization, and it is not the organization for every acupuncturist – not even for every community acupuncturist.  POCA is the organization that its members create, every day, with every patient who gets poked, and every interaction between members.  The GC intends to protect the  ability of us all to have this experience.

This blog is closed for comments, but members with serious concerns and questions about recent events may address them to pocafest@pocacoop.com.

Author: MMDobson

POCA Membership Coordinator and retired punk from Summerville Community Acupuncture, now living in St Petersburg, FL I have 4 Miniature Pinschers, a John Deere tractor, and a big family that lives throughout the South. Life is good.

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