GSC 2017 – Day Two

Aloha kakou,

First, let me make amends for leaving out an important item from yesterday’s report. Recently the Hawaii fellowship said a hui hou and come back soon to a good friend and great servant of the area, Erik T. Well he’s not back in Hawaii, but guess who showed up last night for our opening dinner? Yep, Erik it’s great to see you! And no, he’s not a delegate for his new area, at least not yet. I’ve got a couple of photos which I can’t, of course, post here, but he looks and sounds great and what an unexpected pleasure it was to see him. I’ll always owe him, not just for his service, but for taking me on a fantastic journey into Haleakala crater one cold night under bright full moon. Thanks Erik…visit us in Hawaii soon!

So…let’s see…

Once again I headed out on my bicycle for some morning coffee and to get my blood moving this morning. I ran into a couple of folks with same idea, the coffee, not the bike, and started my morning with caffeine and fellowship and not just caffeine alone.

Soon though it was time to head back to my Policy and Admissions Committee meeting. Again, I can’t say anything about what we discussed (well you do know which agenda items they are), but I can tell you that I’m on a great committee with great folks. We don’t always agree, but we are united in trying to reach the best decisions possible. I’m grateful I’ll get to serve next year with the 67’s in my class, but I’ll never forget the 66’s I’m serving with right now. It’s an honor and most definitely a pleasure to serve with them.

Let me tell you a little about committee work. The committees are the real deal here. We have a staff member with us who does our recording, can request resources, reads back what we’ve just said if we ask, and brings a great sense of history and institutional memory to the proceedings. But she is super careful never give us her opinion on what we should do – that’s for the committee alone.

We are also allowed, perhaps even encouraged, to call in trustees and staff as resources to give us more information or explain the rationale behind some of things we are looking at. Today we were blessed to have Greg T., GSO manager, take the time to come and answer our questions for around 45 minutes. He graciously answered our questions accurately and did not try to “sell us” on anything.

We got a lot done today and I think we all felt good about our progress. We’ve more to do tomorrow but I think we are all happy to dive in and none of us are looking to shirk our duty. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it’s an honor and a pleasure to serve with this team, just as it is with you.

Committee work was not the only thing on our agenda for the day though. Lunch was up next. This time lunch was a group affair with all the members of the conference able to participate (instead of a regional or delegates only affair). It was great to sit with folks I didn’t know and talk story. We don’t discuss business outside of committee, though of course we do talk AA and the language of the heart. We also tell a lot of funny stories – just like at home.

Lunch was over soon and up next were the first of the First Year Delegates Area Service Highlights. Only first year delegates get to do this, partly to warm them up to speaking to the conference and give them a chance to present to everyone, but also because it’s great to hear what’s going on elsewhere. I think it’s also a great opportunity to once again put a face with an area. These folks will be my peers again next year and the more opportunity we have to learn about each other, the deeper our unity will be for the rest of this year and next. First up this time were the Eastern Canada and Southeast Regions. They did great.

After that it was time for Terry Bedient, the General Service Board Chair to give us his report. Hopefully you’ll remember him from the Pacific Regional Forum which he played a big part in and helped make that event such a success. I’m so grateful I got to meet him, and many other trustees and staff, at that event because I think I might have been nervous about approaching them here. But because we have events like the PRF it’s possible to meet and greet our fellow servants and learn that they are not only dedicated servants and here for us (all), they are very, very approachable. In fact, they want you to talk to them. I can probably really learn a lesson there,

We then heard from Bill N., one of the general service trustees and a real fireball of a servant. He’s definitely got ideas and his love of AA is evident in everything he does. I don’t know him as well as some of our past delegates do (they did ask me to say hi to him and I did), but I’m definitely keeping my ears open to hear what he has to say.

Then it was time for Joel C., this time wearing his chair of the Grapevine hat, to take the floor and give us his report. He did a super job of imparting both information and enthusiasm just as he did when he visited us at our recent Orientation Assembly. He’s been taking great care of the Pacific Region Delegates and I can honestly say I count him as an inspiration, a trusted servant, and, just as importantly, a trusted friend.

And then we were on. By we I mean the First Year Pacific Region Delegates. It was our turn to give our area highlights which meant I had to get up in front of everyone again. I did not wear a formal lava lava this time, though I must admit it probably hasn’t been completely retired from the Conference yet. Everyone did a fine job. We all did our highlights previously at this year’s PRAASA but you, it really feels a bit different here. Everything feels a bit different here. You can read my highlights here if you haven’t already: Hawaii Area 17 Panel 67 Area Highlights.

After the Pacific Region it was time for the First Year folks from the Southwest Region to do the same. They did a great job too.

And that was till dinner. We had a bit of a break to freshen up and I grabbed my bike and headed out for another coffee (there’s coffee here, but it’s good to get a bit of exercise and get free of the hotel for a few minutes). Our webmaster had fixed our recent email glitch so I sent out my previous reports again. If you are on our Area All list but don’t have an email address, my apologies for you receiving those emails twice. If you do have an email address please pass my posts on to other members of the fellowship who might wish to know a bit about the Conference and my experiences there.

I had a wonderful dinner. The food was fine, but the company was awesome. I sat with Yoli F., the Southwest Regional Trustee. We are encouraged to meet new folks at meals and not to sit with the same folks all the time. I’ve taken that to heart and tonight was super. She’s different from Joel, but you know, she’s also sort of the same. There’s just something about regional trustees I guess. I had a great time chatting with here and even remembered to let her talk some of the time.

After dinner came David Morris, our non-alcoholic financial wizard. If you’ve been in area service for a while you’ve probably seen a copy of the great “picnic table” reports he creates every year. Better you may even have gotten to be there when he presents it. If you have, you know. He really is a wizard at explaining our financial situation. I’ll be bringing back a lot of information on this and don’t want to get bogged down with it here. Let me summarize, AA had a good 2016, but that’s no reason to rest on our laurels. We are still not completely self supporting through member contributions and literature sales still have to make up the difference, but let’s be sure to thank all our groups for the contributions they made in 2016.

Finally, after the finance report it was time for some Q&A on finance and then some general sharing. I ran back to the room to get my review sheet for the day which I’d left in the room so I could drop it off when we were done. They ask us all to review every part of the Conference and they do read every word. It seems to me by the number of sheets turned in that we are all taking this very seriously.

And then, it was done. Tonight I did not hang out in the lobby chatting. I came straight to my room and wrote this report. I’ll be asleep soon, early than last night which was earlier than the night before. I’m not exhausted but we are, as was said to us at the beginning of this journey, that we are running a marathon and not a sprint. We need our rest to remain sharp and focused, we owe that to the Fellowship. So tonight, I’m counting sleep as part of my work. I hope you sleep well too.

Thank you one more time for allowing me the opportunity to serve as your Panel 67 delegate, It’s an incredible experience and not one I could have imagined a few short years ago. Mahalo nui loa for my life and my passion. I love you Hawaii!

Yours in grateful fellowship,

Bob H.

Hawaii Area 17

Panel 67 Delegate