Aloha everyone! The 2014 Pacific Regional Forum is over and I am feeling very grateful that I was able to attend in service for our Area. Thank you for sending me.
The schedule for today was simple and short. We started with another General Sharing/Ask-it-Basket session. There were some good questions asked and you can see my notes by following the link after my post.
I took the opportunity to stand and thank all the hardworking folks who gave so much of themselves to put on the Forum. I also started training everyone for the 2016 Pacific Regional Forum by giving a big Aloha and letting everyone know their job was give a big Aloha in return. I also let them know that they could practice for 2016 by attending our Annual Hawaii Convention and WACYPAA 18 later this year!
After this session we had a first time attendee session. This was time set aside for those of us who were first time attendees to share. As I’d already shared a bit this morning I didn’t, but it was great to know that there were lots of first-timers. In fact, of the 523 attendees 305 of us were there for the first time.
After we first-timers had our say it was time for one of the best features of a Forum (or a PRAASA): Sharing from Past Trustees. Our past trustees are a wonderful group of folks and a tremendous asset to AA. I’ve paraphrased their comments in my notes, but I do want to tell you that Madelaine P., the Pacific Region Trustee before Joel and Rod asked for and got an extra two minutes and insisted that everyone stand a greet one or more folks they’d never met before. I can’t say I’ve now met everyone at the Forum, but it wasn’t for lack of trying.
And then it was over. Many of us hung around the ballroom a few minutes chatting and saying our goodbyes. That is, our goodbyes until next time.
It was just after noon and I now had a full afternoon to myself before dinner so I took a nice long bike ride. First I rode downtown, the area we’d been in for the 2013 PRAASA, and had some coffee and a light lunch, then I finished up riding the Boise Greenway. If you ever get a chance to come to Boise, at least outside of winter, you must take in the Greenway. This multi-use path (bikes, skates, boards, pedestrians, dogs) is really well utilized and amounts to a huge park stretching through through the heart of Boise. Another great pastime on the river is tubing. I wasn’t able to try that because of my recent hip operation, but it looked like a blast. Lots of folks were on the river today. Next time.
After a couple of hours out in the heat, it was about 100 degrees today, though cooler by the river, it was time to head back and get cleaned up for dinner. I’d talked with Ken in the morning about having dinner together as Cheryl and Daniel had already headed back after the Forum closed and he’d agreed. He’d texted me and said he had a ride for a meeting and dinner at 6:45pm with Rod B., our immediate past trustee. Good enough I thought. What was to follow was in many ways the highlight of the weekend.
I went to the lobby at 6:40pm, a couple of minutes early, and found Ami B., the executive editor and publisher of the Grapevine chatting with a young woman from Boise. As I’d met her the previous evening at the Grapevine workshop, I asked if she’d seen Rod. It turned out she was waiting for him for the same reason and the young woman she was with had offered her services to drive us.
So Ken, Ami, Rod and I were graciously given a ride to Boise’s Midtown Meeting. This was a really good literature based meeting with lots and lots of sobriety. Let’s just say I felt a bit like a newcomer in the room. Everyone was happy to us as visitors and all of us were called upon to share during the meeting. The topic was the Third Tradition and we all gave our heartfelt thanks that AA existed and that the Third Tradition meant we could join. Imagine all the membership rules we could have, and don’t, that could and would spell our death.
After a bit of post meeting chatting we were then given a ride to dinner. I didn’t know quite what to expect but it turned out that over twenty of us were to have dinner at a great little Mexican restaurant in the area. This was a wonderful example of a meeting after the meeting.
The gratitude expressed by the Boise members at being able to host the Forum was really overwhelming. They were overjoyed to see folks from our General Service Office who work so hard to make sure that we can continue to carry our message of hope. I have to say that I feel the same. Come to the 2016 Forum in Kona and I promise you’ll feel it too. Honest.
All too soon I was back at the hotel. Tomorrow I’m headed home in the afternoon after one last bike ride. I’m a little blue as this weekend has been such a great experience, but I know I’ll be happy to touch back down in Hawaii and see all of you!
Thank you for allowing me this experience. It’s a honor to be of service to Hawaii Area 17.
I’ll see you soon!
And, as promised, here are my notes from our final session.