A description of the organization, operations, and status of One Step at a Time.
Q: What is the legal status of OSAT?
A: OSAT was organized as a Washington non-profit corporation (U.B.I. Number 601 656 635) on August 16 1995. It is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as exempt from federal income tax as an organization described in section 501(c)(3) effective on the incorporation date. OSAT's federal employer identification number is 91-1689702.
Q: Did OSAT just get started in 1995?
A: No. Although OSAT did not formally organize until 1994 (by-laws) and 1995 (incorporation and tax exempt status), OSAT began in essentially its current form in April, 1991. At that time Jimmy Hinkhouse founded OSAT as an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) group and an associated outdoor and mountaineering club. The AA group distinguished itself from traditional AA groups in that it conducted AA meetings in wilderness settings.
Q: Why was OSAT founded?
Hinkhouse believed that his interest in outdoor activities in general, and mountaineering in particular, were important components to his recovery from alcoholism. His goal was to establish a group of recovering alcoholics which could provide the necessary training and experience in mountaineering to make it an important aspect in the recovery of others.
Q: What is the mission of OSAT?
A: "To provide a clean and sober environment for members of 12-step recovery groups and their families and friends to participate in outdoor and social events in the spirit of conservation, preservation, and ecology."
Q: What are the principle activities of OSAT?
A: OSAT provides support and education to people with alcohol, drug, and other substance abuse problems. The OSAT AA group operates weekly 12-Step Recovery Program meetings in wilderness settings in the greater Puget Sound area. The club organizes mountain climbs, trail work parties, outdoor retreats, and social events which involve teaching members the benefits of these activities as a part of their recovery. Over fifty such events are organized each year. Many of these activities include 12-step meetings, or other, less formal, drug and alcohol abuse counseling, education, and recovery support. The organization relies on existing members, providing their expertise on a voluntary basis, to teach new members the skills and the linkage between sustaining physical well-being, drug- and alcohol-free living, and the enjoyment of these activities. The foundation of the education program is a mountaineering course conducted each spring for new members and consisting of over twenty additional activities.. A monthly club meeting welcomes new members, includes a short business meeting, and typically features a lecture, slide show, or video about mountaineering. The club also organizes running and biking activities, kayak trips, and less strenuous hikes and camping trips.
Q: Why is OSAT both an AA group and a separate club?
A: The OSAT AA (12-step) groups are separate and distinct from the OSAT club in respect of AA Tradition Six, which states that "secondary aids to A.A., such as clubs which require property or administration, ought to be incorporated and so set apart that, if necessary, they can be freely discarded by the groups." The club was organized because its activities were not limited to 12-step meetings, and involve some inherently dangerous activity, such as mountain climbing, which therefore required a way to insure that only qualified people were allowed to participate. This goes far beyond the "desire to stop drinking" membership requirement for AA. The club also owns a small amount of equipment made available to members or used in support of club activities.
Q: How many people participate in OSAT?
A: The active, dues-paying membership of the climbing club numbers over 500, but many more than that number of individuals participate in OSAT activities including the weekly 12-step meetings. OSAT-AA meetings are open to anyone, and club membership is not required, but is encouraged as a means to becoming more involved in mountaineering as an aid to recovery.
Q: How does OSAT fund its operations?
A: Membership dues cover about two-thirds of the expenses. The remainder comes from donations, fundraising sales of merchandise, and fundraising activities.
Q: How does OSAT qualify as a charity?
A: Although the OSAT club asks members to pay dues for its newsletter, The Yodel, the operation of its website, and its telephone hotline, even club activities are not strictly limited to dues-paying members. The only requirement to participate in OSAT activities is agreement to abide by the principles of anonymity and abstinence, and signing an appropriate release and indemnity agreement. The hotline, newsletter, and some access to the web site are provided free-of-charge to interested non-members. OSAT activities are open to people who are not in recovery. However, because of the incorporation of recovery support discussion at some OSAT activities, our experience is that few of the individuals who participate but who are not either members or friends/spouses of members of 12-step programs remain in the group. Many club activities include 12-step meetings, and at times professionals in the field of substance abuse counseling who are members provide informal counseling without charge within the context of the club activities. In addition to outdoor activities, OSAT works with treatment centers at their request to introduce their clients to our program within the context of their own treatment programs.
Q: How are funds received by OSAT used?
A: Current annual cash flow is approximately $6000-$8000. About 1/3 of this is associated with the climbing class, 1/3 membership fees and operations, and 20% with merchandise sales. About 20% of the clubs funds comes from donations, most of which come from the members themselves. Among the costs covered are web site and other communciation costs, meeting site rental, reproduction costs for training course and club informational materials, postage, organizational costs, and the purchase of equipment owned by the club. The club also provides upon request memberships free-of-charge to people who are unemployed or otherwise in financial distress. Club funds are generally NOT used to cover the direct individual costs of activities or trips, which are paid for by the participants.
Q: How is OSAT administered?
A: A five-member board is elected for overlapping two-year terms to oversee the operation of the club in accordance with its by-laws. Board members serve without compensation to oversee the well-being of the club, and also serve as the corporate board of directors. Standing committees administer activities, the climbing course, publications, service, telephone hotline, web site administration, and finances.