Delegate Page

I received an Ask it Basket question at Post Conference and being answered in the Newsletter regarding the “do’s and don’ts” of the General Service Conference. I am posting here the actual summary of conference procedures for your information =)

Summary of Conference Procedures

Good morning!! My name is Julie S., and I am a very grateful alcoholic. I currently have the great honor and privilege to serve you as your Panel 57, Area 69 Delegate. I can’t tell you how honored and humbled I am by this opportunity that you have given me!!

The paper has started to flow in at an amazing rate. When the first items began arriving, and especially when a box arrived, I was really kind of freaked out – it’s like the reality of the position and the responsibility that comes with it were just sinking in. I must admit the first couple of things I received, especially the box, I stood there and looked at them wondering what they could be, what I was going to have to do with whatever was in them, wondering if I was up to the task, wondering, wondering, wondering, before finally just opening the danged things and reminding myself that if God brought me to it, He’ll bring me through it too!

Speaking of the big box, I have the group update forms with me here today. I would appreciate it if a DCM or DCMC from each district would please see me for a few minutes today as I would like to enlist your help in making sure that GSO has the correct information for our groups.

Right off the bat I found out that our trusted servants at GSO are also mere mortals as the Conference Communications Kits for the Panel 57 Delegates were sent out to the Panel 55 Delegates. Mike O. immediately called me to let me know and put it in the mail to me; he also let GSO know that he had sent it on. I was kind of disappointed when I later received a duplicate kit, which didn’t seem like the best use of 7th Tradition funds. I then started to take the snub personally when they sent my packet with the first information about one of my committees to a Delegate in Texas. She informed them of that error and I got a call from Rick Walker, the Conference Coordinator, letting me know what happened and that they would correct that mistake. It was my first ever phone call from GSO, and while it might sound silly, it was pretty cool.

For me, seeing this humanness was particularly helpful as I have been known to put people in many service positions, and especially people at GSO, on pedestals, which makes me less likely to open my mouth and express my own opinions. About this same time, I also received an article written by a former delegate and Class B Trustee entitled “Voice of AA or Rubber Stamp?” about Delegates not necessarily using their voices at the Conference for various reasons, including the awe factor. The article concluded that “Conference delegates have a unique prerogative: the right to exercise real influence on AA’s day-to-day plan for “carrying the message” world-wide. An individual delegate can avoid disappointment, and steer clear of the trap of being a disgruntled ex-delegate, by coming prepared, speaking his true mind, and stating the views of his area to the best of his ability. If the Conference is to be the “voice of AA,” it can only be so if the delegates who make it up resolve, within the sense of our Third Legacy, to speak out.” I will be doing my best to remember and follow these suggestions.

I received a memo to Panel 56 and 57 Delegates from Julio at the Public Information desk regarding how anonymity breaks at the public level are handled. If GSO is informed of such an incident, they notify the area delegate, sending copies of the article and sample response letters. Usually the delegate will write to the A.A. member or ask another trusted servant to make contact. They do not generally contact the media professional regarding anonymity breaks as it is the responsibility of the individual A.A. member and not the media professional to observe our Tradition of Anonymity. I was unaware that they write to media professionals on an annual basis reminding them of our Anonymity Tradition and its importance. They also described what usually happens in the case of misinformation in press, radio or film where GSO will usually contact the media professional pointing out any inaccuracies and offering to be a resource for future factual information.

I’ve received quite a bit of information regarding the Fellowship New Vision or FNV. This is the new database that GSO is moving our group information to with the purpose of providing efficient and accurate management of records and contact information to enable easier communication between GSO and AA groups, service entities, and individuals. This will allow Area record keepers to submit group and position changes via a web portal and will hopefully end the many operating problems and complaints from areas about the old program, and should be less costly to maintain.

In the advance information materials regarding the Conference, there was a section regarding mementos. It said that bring tokens from an Area was originally conceived of as a nice way to get to know other delegates and that during the course of the week, delegates would introduce themselves to each other and exchange little mementos. It went on to say that while the personal touch is often still there, it has also evolved into just bringing souvenirs and placing them on tables in the Conference room. One Conference member observed “You leave for a meal and come back to find a pile of stuff at your place with no connection whatsoever to who left it.”

The reason that I bring this up is that I’m not a big memento kind of person and don’t particularly want to spend money on, give, or receive something just for the sake of doing it. Unfortunately, I’m also not the most creative person I know. I would like to solicit your help in coming up with an idea that has something to do with the conference theme, “Our 12th Step Responsibility – Are we Going to Any Length?” and/or that would be something special from our Area. I brought this up at a couple of A.A. meetings and a district meeting in my district and received the same suggestion from each, being red dirt. Now, I love red dirt and think it’s a beautiful thing, it would be easy to get a lot of it and put it in little bags, but I’m not sure how to personalize a bag of dirt. If you have any thoughts about something else I can make or buy to share, please let me know – I am open to any suggestions you or your group may have!

Last weekend I had the opportunity to participate in a 12 Traditions Workshop at the Kaibab Paiute Reservation. I was unaware there was even a group there. They are kind of stranded being technically in Arizona, but physically, more in District 7. Myself, Janet our Archivist and Terri, our CPC chair along with several members, attended from Utah while the Area Chair, two standing chairs, and several members attended from Arizona, 2 of whom actually did the presentations on the Traditions. I had the opportunity to start the meeting with a few comments on how important I believe the Traditions are today in contrast to how I felt as a newcomer and later participated in an Ask it Basket. This was just the shot in the arm I needed to start the new year, remind me of just how important Alcoholics Anonymous is in my life, and how much I enjoy being of service to the fellowship. District 7 is now including the Kaibab and Fredonia meetings on the meeting schedule to help provide support for these groups.

I am still learning about what information goes to which people, and I don’t want to report on items that our standing chairs will be including in their reports. I also have the opportunity now to receive information from three different trustees, as well as GSO, and it’s interesting to see the differences in what is reported. Because of this, because of not wanting to take more time than necessary on my report this morning, and not wanting to shortchange you on any information, I am going to combine all of the information into one more comprehensive report for next month, rather than giving you a highly condensed version now.

One of the personally challenging aspects of being the Delegate for me is the fact that I essentially live far from all of the districts other than my own. I have an awesome Alternate Delegate and I know that Monte is willing to go anywhere, anytime, and he is much closer to most of the districts that I am and I know I will be relying on him a lot during my term. However, I want you to know that I am committed to visiting all of the districts during both years of my term and I would like to find out when each of your districts meet. My planner also has lots of open space for now to arrange for a conference report to your district and to attend additionally, any functions you may have on weekends.

Ten days ago I experience the miracle of my 12th A.A. birthday, and also found out that I share a birthday with our Area Chair, Andy. Must be something special about February 7th! 12 years ago I really had no idea if I could finally reach that elusive (for me) 30 day mark, and people with over a year were basically God’s in my mind. 12 years wasn’t even a fantasy! I stand in awe of the gifts Alcoholics Anonymous, the membership, and being of service to you have given me! I humbly thank you for my sobriety, my life, and this opportunity to serve you!!

Julie S., Delegate
Panel 57 Area 69, Utah