Today was the first day of the 67th General Service Conference, “Supporting Out Future.” While it’s true I’ve been busy, nothing we’ve done so far was officially part of the conference, though most has certainly been related. It was a long, busy day, but oh so exciting.
I started the morning much as I might any morning. Up for a quick shower and out for coffee with a friend (and fellow Pacific Region Delegate). But once back, we headed to the main ballroom lobby of the hotel for registration and then the opening.
Registration is really nothing much as we are pretty much already registered. Basically we picked up our name badges, which we are to wear at all times, mostly to facilitate talking to each other. With so many delegates and other servants here it’s hard to keep straight who everyone is and where they are from. Badges make it easy – at least if you can see the badge.
After getting our packet – a big binder chock full of carefully chosen information (you’ll see it when I come home) we entered the ballroom and found our seats. Actually we found any seat. We do not have assigned seating and are encouraged to move around every time we return in order to mix with delegates from other areas rather than simply sit with the same people every day. Good enough…part of the magic of the Conference is getting to know everyone (and I mean everyone).
Then we opened. Terry Bedient, Class A (non-alcoholic) Trustee and Chair of the General Service Board said a few words and then introduced a member for an opening reading, 2017 Readings (English) – Why Do We Need a Conference from page S20 of the Service Manual.
Then Greg T., the GSO manager, called the roll. When the roll is called and we acknowledge our presence the Conference actually opens. My name was called at 10:11 AM. Chicken skin. Seriously. Thirteen years ago I was still drunk, contemplating how long it would be till I would fired from my job, lose my apartment, and be turned out by my friends. Today my name was called at the 67th General Service Conference. I have no doubts that A.A. works. None.
We then greeted by the Delegate Chairperson, Bob M., and heard the keynote address by trustee Bill N,
Following that we received a number of instructions that insure the Conference runs smoothly. Many of them are the same as those we use in our own assemblies, some are specific to the Conference. Finally there was a bit of time for questions, there weren’t many, we’d done our homework.
Lunch with our region followed. This was really set up as an orientation lunch but we’d done that at PRAASA so we just enjoyed each other’s company. We did have one piece of business, just for the Pacific Region. It was about where to store the PRAASA archives and more will be forthcoming.
After lunch we returned to the main ballroom and heard three presentation centered on Growth. The three topics shared by the chosen delegate speakers were, Diversity, Safety, and Communication. The presenters did a great job.
Once the presentations were over we went straight to our first Conference Committee Meeting. As you may recall I’m on the Policy and Admissions Committee. I can’t speak about the business we conducted till after the Conference, but I want to let you know I was a little nervous going in. I was sure that everyone would be better prepared, would be be able to recall every word in the background from memory, and…well, I was wrong.
Now don’t get me wrong. They were prepared. Very well prepared. But it turns out, thanks to you and the Hawaii Fellowship, so was I. Thank you so much – your hard work made it possible for your voice to be heard because I knew our collective Group Conscience.
Again, I can’t say what we discussed for now, but I do want you to just how darn great you are! And know this, it’s not that I can’t talk about it with only you, I can’t talk about it with anyone outside my committee PERIOD.
After our committee work (and there’s plenty more of that to come), we had a quick break followed by our opening dinner. We’ll be eating all our meals, except breakfast, together for the rest of the week. It builds unity, is a lot of fun, and, given our workload, is more efficient.
After dinner we didn’t go back to the business of the Conference. Instead we attended to the business of staying sober and centered. We had a four speaker meeting. Each only had a few minutes, but all shared from the heart, just like we do at home.
That’s it for the night…it’s midnight and I’ve got an early all in the morning. I’ll report again tomorrow and let you know how it’s going here at 67th General Service Conference.
Yours in grateful fellowhip!
Hawaii Area 17
Panel 67 Delegate