Frequently Asked Questions
Class Representative Questions
Q: I was born in Saudi Arabia and need a certified copy of my birth certificate. How do I do this?
A: There are several different methods to gain a copy of your birth certificate.
1. You may contact Deitra Hubbard with the ASC Medical Unit. Her contact number is 713-432-4369, or you can leave a message for her at 1-800-343-4272. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Dietra will send you a form to fill out -- it's a pretty basic form asking for authorization to release medical records or "other"--in this case birth certificate. You will need to know your father's badge number. You can fax the form back to her. There appears to be a 35SR fee.
2. Check out the Birth of US Citizen Abroad website.
Q: I attended one of the Aramco schools, but left before I graduated. Am I still a Brat?
A: Definitely! Although we identify Brats by the year they graduated (or would have graduated) from 9th grade, you're a Brat if you attended an Aramco school (or were simply a minor dependent who lived in one of the camps) for any length of time.
Q: I just discovered this site. What do I need to do to learn more about AramcoBrats, Inc. (ABI) and to start receiving ABI newsletters?
A: The best place to start is to review some of the recent ABI newsletters. If you would like to receive your own newsletter and add your name to the Brat directory, all you need to do is register! Once you are registered and in the database, you might want to contact your Class Representative (login required to access directory), who can help you connect with your childhood friends.
Q: If I put my email address on the ABI website, am I going to get spammed?
That being said, spammers do attempt to harvest email addresses from web pages. For this reason, we have moved most of the content that might contain email addresses to a secure area of our site. The pages in this area are only accessible by registered members of AramcoBrats, Inc.
Q: How do I locate a classmate?
A: The simplest solution is to contact your class representative (login required to access directory), who should have current contact information on all people in that class for whom we have addresses. You can also upgrade your membership level by paying your adbak, which will give you access to the searchable online directory .
Q: What is Administrative Baksheesh?
A: Administrative Baksheesh, or AdBak, is the contribution we request Brats pay every two years to support ABI operations. Please note that these and any other donation to ABI are not tax-deductible. AdBak is currently set at $20 (Supporting Membership) or $40 (Sustaining Membership).
Q: How do I pay AdBak?
A: If you already are a member, just login to this site, go to your profile, select "Change membership level" in and choose either Supporting Member or Supporting Member.
If you are NOT already a member, please join now and select Supporting Member or Supporting Member as a membership level.
Q: What is the money I send to ABI used for?
A: AdBak pays for a variety of ABI expenses:
- Printing and mailing of print ABI newsletters which are distributed worldwide to all Brats for whom we have a mailing address.
- Publishing and distribution of the AramcoBrat Directory, which lists the contact information (mailing addresses, phone numbers and email addresses) for everyone in the ABI database who wants their information published. Reunion attendees will receive their directories when they check in. Directories will be mailed after the reunion to those Brats who pay AdBak but don't attend the reunion.
- Website costs, such as web hosting, announcement list and new online features such as membership and event management, online database, and online directory.
ABI's budget and quarterly financial reports are available online.
- Administrative costs, such as corporate registration and legal fees, mailings between Board members, bank charges, and other costs of running our organization.
Q: Should I pay my AdBak if I don't plan on going to the reunion?
A: Definitely! AdBak doesn't pay for reunions -- it pays for the operation of ABI. Reunions are budgeted to pay for themselves.
(NOTE: While AdBak and reunion registration fees are separate, you must pay AdBak to register for the reunion.)
Q: When does the ABI "term" start and end?
A: ABI's Board term begins on November 1 following a reunion and runs through October 31 after the next reunion. The current Board term began on November 1, 2009, and will end on October 31, 2011. The next term starts on November 1, 2011, and will end on October 31, 2013.
Q: When is AdBak due?
A: The AdBak term goes for 2 years from your payment date, and is good until January 1. So, if you pay your adbak at any time in 2012, your membership is good until January 1, 2014. If you pay in 2013, you are good until January 1, 2015.
Q: Can I use a credit card to pay my AdBak or reunion fees? I live overseas and I don't want to deal with a US check.
A: Yes, you may use a credit card to make your payments. Unfortunately, our vendor (PayPal) prohibits certain countries from making a credit card payment for various security reasons. Saudi Arabia is one of these countries.
Q: How does PayPal work? I have heard it collects my information.
A: At one point in the past, yes, you had to be a member to use PayPal. They have since changed their system, so now anyone is able to use their service. Once you have made your selections, you have the option of signing in to your PayPal account (if you have one), signing up for a PayPal account (if you want to), or making your purchase without doing any of the above. If you choose the final method, PayPal will not store any of your information.
Q: How come the reunion always happens on Memorial Day weekend?
A: This question, which usually comes up in the context of "I know someone who can't come to the reunion because it's always on Memorial Day and he or she is a teacher...", has been discussed at length by the ABI Board. If we had our druthers, we'd schedule the reunion at a time when everybody could attend. But, however much we'd like to be flexible about the date of the biennial reunion, we have to face certain realities:
We need a three-day weekend. If we didn't have the reunion over a three-day weekend, we'd lose a LOT of people. By most counts, we have three opportunities for three-day weekends during the summer: Memorial Day (which is when reunions have historically been held), July 4, and Labor Day. July 4 is iffy because it doesn't always fall on a Monday. Labor Day would be a possibility, but folks often have other plans and it's apt to be ungodly hot in the locales where reunions generally occur.
Organizational considerations. The Reunion is more than just a gathering of people, it's part of the lifecycle of the ABI organization. The whole pace of the ABI board is geared around reunions: a new board comes up to speed from November through May of the first year, gets increasingly busy with the reunion for the next year, hits a peak of activity over Memorial Day weekend, and then spends the next six months winding down and reconciling accounts for the incoming board. (And, historically speaking, it sometimes takes six months or more to get everything in shape to hand off to the next board.) If we move the reunion to July 4 or Labor Day, we'd risk the old board not being ready to turn the reins over to the new board.
It ain't simple. Changing the reunion date means changing some of the traditions and rituals of the reunion. Right now, we announce the results of the ABI election at the General Meeting and recognize our outgoing and incoming board members at the Reunion Banquet. If we change the reunion weekend, we would have to re-engineer how we hold elections and such.
Tradition/fixed navigation point. Picking a fixed date for holding the reunion lets people start making plans. The Reunion Committee can negotiate rates for a specific weekend, Brats can make travel plans, and the Board can sign contracts. If the Reunion weekend were to become more random, it would be harder for everyone to plan and/or attend the reunion.
Q: What are the steps to attending a reunion?
A: Online Registration will open sometime January 2011. In the meantime, you should reserve your hotel room!
Q: How can I help out with reunions?
A: It takes many hardworking people to make a reunion happen, and there are numerous ways in which you can help:
- If the reunion is going to be held near you, volunteer to serve on the reunion committee.
- If the reunion won't be held near where you live but you will be attending the reunion, volunteer for onsite work. Many hands are needed for set up, tear down, raffle duties, etc. Contact the reunion chair or any of the committee members to see how you may be of assistance to them during the reunion weekend.
- If you are unable to attend the reunion (and even if you are), you can always help by donating items for the ABI raffle and auction. The auction and raffle have become a very popular part of the reunions, and we're always looking for items to sell. Please note that these donations are not tax-deductible.
If you are interested in organizing a reunion in your area, please contact the ABI board with your ideas and suggestions.
Q: How does ABI pick a reunion site?
A: There are many important factors that are considered when choosing a reunion site.
- The presence of a willing reunion chair and enough brats in the area to form a strong reunion committee.
- The availability of a hotel to suit our needs for the reunion. The property must be large enough to house the reunion, but not so large that we get lost in the shuffle of numerous groups. An ideal hotel must also be located near a major airport. Also important is the hotel's willingness to work with our odd little group and give us the deals we require to make the reunion as affordable as possible to everyone.
- We also try, within the above guidelines, to move the reunion around the country in order to make it easily available to as many Brats as possible.
Q: Where will the 2013 reunion be held?
A: The 2013 reunion is going to be held in Tucson, AZ.
Class Representative Questions
Q: What does a Class Representative do?
A: A Class Representative is the contact person for his or her 9th grade graduating class. As a Class Representative, your main objectives is to keep your class connected to one another. A Class Representative is responsible for finding missing members of their class and maintaining contact with those members who are found, including keeping mailing and email addresses current. The Class Rep should distribute the class list with contact information to all class members. Also important is the distribution of information about upcoming reunions. Class Reps can use any medium they like, such as email, newsletters, or websites, to keep classmates connected.
Class Reps attending an ABI reunion plan and host the Class Party, which is usually held the Saturday evening of the reunion. If the Class Rep is not planning to attend the reunion, then the Rep can find someone to take over these duties.
Q: How can I become a Class Representative?
A: If your class does not have a class rep, you can contact Robin Payne-White DH'59, ABI Class Representative Director, about filling the position. If your class has a rep already, you should contact the current class rep to discuss forming a class rep team and/or taking over duties from the current rep.
Q: What information does a Class Representative need to maintain?
A: Class Reps need to maintain a current Class Address List, with contact information for all classmates. Any changes to mailing addresses, phone numbers, or email addresses should be periodically forwarded to the Class Rep Director OR directly to the Database Director.
Class Reps should create a Master Class List (if we do not already have one for your class) with all the names of all members of your class. You can compile your list by looking through your yearbooks. Most people have classmates listed from 7th-9th grades, but you can feel free to include classmates as far back as Kindergarten if you have yearbooks for those years. Once you have compiled this list, please send it to the CRD
, so that it can be added to our Master List. After the list has been sent to the CRD, you can use this list to assemble your Class Address List.
All Reps should maintain a Missing Classmate List. These missing classmate names should be published, either in a newsletter, in an email sent to classmates, or on a website. Many times, other classmates have contact information for these missing classmates but do not realize that it is needed unless they see that the classmate is "missing" according to your records.
Section 1: Class Reps and ABI
Q: How do Class Reps relate to ABI?
A: It is important for ABI to understand the issues concerning each class. Suggestions, complaints, and/or compliments can enhance and improve the structure and communication ability of this large group. If you have any questions or comments, please contact the Class Representative Director.
Q: Who do I contact if I find a new address (email OR mailing) for a classmate?
A: New or updated mailing addresses can be sent to our Class Rep Director or directly to ABI's Database Director.
Q: What should I tell classmates about the Aramco Brats reunions?
A: It is important to let all classmates know the dates and locations of the Biennial Aramco Brats reunions. Classmates can be directed to the Reunion page on the ABI website. Class Reps should encourage attendance at the ABI Reunions.
Section 2: Class Address Lists
Q: How do I format a class address list?
A: Most people maintain their class lists in Microsoft Excel, since it's fairly universal and it organizes, sorts, and filters information effectively. If you don't have Excel, you can use MS Word, a text file, or whatever makes sense for you.
Q: How do I list someone's married name?
A: The preferred format is first name maiden name-last name. For example, Diana Ryrholm-Geerdes.
Q: What should I do if a classmate does not want to be contacted by AramcoBrats, Inc.?
A: If someone has indicated a desire not to be contacted, please list the name in your database but note that no further contact is desired. Some classmates do not want their contact information published, but do want to stay in the network. If this scenario arises, please contact the Database Director.
Q: What do I do when I find a "missing" classmate?
A: Jump up and down and pat yourself on the back! Tell them about the AramcoBrats community and point them toward ABI's website and to your class website if you have one. Send them the last newsletter or email that you sent out to your class and basically bring them up to speed about what has been happening with your class. Make sure you get a current mailing address, telephone number and email address for them, and forward that information to the CRD.
Q: What do I do when an address for a classmates doesn't work any more?
A: An unfortunate reality in this modern world is that people move around a lot. If someone's address doesn't work any more, see if you can locate family members or friends who may know where they are now. If all else fails, let the CRD know that the contact information is no longer valid and then add that person to your Missing Classmate List.
If you mail out a paper newsletter to your class, one of the most important things that you can do to aid you in obtaining new address information is to stamp or write in large letters on the outside of your newsletter or letter FORWARDING ADDRESS REQUESTED.
Q: How can I find missing classmates?
A: There are several ways you can find a missing classmate:
ABI database: The CRD will periodically send you your current class information from the ABI address database and email database. Cross-check your information to see if the classmate has submitted a change of address to ABI.
ABI BratBoard: ABI's BratBoard contains a "Searching for Someone" forum. Post a message about your search.
Create a class website: Class websites can be a tremendous asset for class representatives. If you keep a complete class list (including missing classmates) on your site, the names will come up on any Internet search. With the popularity of "googling" your own name to see where you are listed, many people see their name come up on a search and will find your class site themselves. They may also find your website by searching for items about "Aramco" or "Dhahran" or "Abqaiq," etc.
Internet: In the same vein as people "googling" their own name, you can type a missing classmate's name into a search engine and see what comes up. Often names will be listed on an employer's website, etc. **Tip: type the name in quotes, e.g. "Mike Simms". A search engine will return instances when the entire phrase within the quotes appears.**
Section 3: Class Websites
Q: Can I set up a class website?
A: YES!! It is strongly encouraged, and most internet service providers give subscribers hosting services and sufficient space for a typical class sites. If you set up a website, we can put a link on the Class Directory section of ABI's website. Contact the ABI Webmaster about adding a link.
Q: I would like to make a website, but don't know how. Do you have any resources available to help me?
We have a set of tutorials for folks who want to set up a website but don't know how. For more information, contact the webmaster. You may also find several tutorials on-line.