PRAASA 2013 – Area Chair’s Report #4

It’Is the Monday after PRAASA 2013 and I’m in the lobby of my hotel waiting for a shuttle to the airport. I apologize for not getting this report up earlier, but after a full weekend of activities I was a wee bit too tired to try to write last night.

This report will be about the final day of PRAASA 2013. Sunday, the last day, is really just a half day with most of the activity, besides the wrap-up meeting, ending at noon. Of course we are slow to leave as we have so many folks to say good-bye to before we head out, and chat we do. Most of the folks, besides those of us from Area 17, are friends I see once a year. As this was my sixth PRAASA in seven years some of my relationships go back quite a ways.

On Sunday we don’t break out into smaller groups, all the meetings are large ones. The format is pretty simple:

  • What’s On Your Mind? (Open Mic)
  • Past Trustee’s Panel
  • Ask It Basket (Stump the Delegate as Madeleine P. calls it
  • Closing
  • Wrap-Up Meeting

I didn’t attend the Wrap-Up Meeting as this is really for upcoming PRAASA folks to learn how to plan one and what to expect in the way of problems. If I were on the Delegate’s committee I’d have attended. If we had a PRAASA of our own coming up soon I’d definitely have attended. But as I was on our PRAASA Host Committee just two years ago it’ll be a while before we need to prepare for our next one.

And now my location has changed, I’m at the airport waiting to board for my connecting flight to Seattle…but let’s continue on with my report…

The “What’s On Your Mind” portion of the day is much like we do at our own Area Assemblies. This is the when all those folks who never got a chance to say something take a moment and let us know who they are and what’s on their mind. At my first PRAASA in Portland this is when I finally took a chance and said something. Since then I’ve probably said too much at too many PRAASAS so I kept my mouth shut. I’d had my say when I made a friendly amendment and that was enough.

Next up is the Trustee’s Panel. This is one of my favorite parts of PRAASA (it’s all my favorite part really). This when we get to hear from the Past Pacific Region Trustees in attendance, as well as any other trustee that happens to be there.

Rod B. moderated the panel and I believe we had seven past trustees in attendance. I’m sorry if I don’t remember all the years represented, but it was a wonderful opportunity to hear from these wonderful servants of AA telling stories and anecdotes about their time in service and commenting on the issues of today.

Gregg M., someone familiar to all of us in Hawaii, shared a wonderful story about a closed meeting of AA that had on ongoing debate about whether a certain person, who had a desire not to drink – but had never actually had a drink – could participate. She continued to attend while they continued to have the discussion, thus avoiding having to actually ask her to leave. He told the story to make the point that we are a very loving bunch and would much rather err on the side of inclusion than exclusion.

Madeleine P., our immediate Past Trustee reminded us we are just the servants carrying the message and not to take ourselves too seriously or make ourselves too important.

All the Past Trustees were great and I wish I had time to listen to them all. The ones I’ve worked with are really service heros of mine and I’ve gotten so much from their experience over the years that it’s hard to summarize. Let’s just say that no matter what jobs you’ve had in AA, your service is never really done.

Then it was time for the Ask It Basket. The basket had been sitting on stage all weekend and was chock full of questions, both hard and harder. This really is, as Madeleine P. says, “Stump the Delegate.” Once again Rod was in charge doling out the questions.

Ken, our Delegate, had the question, “Why is the GSB planning to combine the AAWS and Grapevine boards when Bill W. warned against this in the Service Manual?”

Now I can’t say that Bill actually warned against this in so many words so I’m going to look it up, but that was the question before Ken. Rather than say more, I’m going to suggest that we all look into what everyone seems to be calling “The Plan.”

Many of the questions were about “The Plan,” but many were not. One of my favorites, and I hope our Grapevine Chair is reading this, was, “Besides subscribing, what what can we do to support The Grapevine and La Vina?” Heather, what’s the answer to that?

And all too soon PRAASA came to close. Idaho Area 18 did a great job…maybe not quite as great as Hawaii Area 17, but our weather is a bit nicer. Seriously though, I’d like to extend my thanks to the Area 18 2013 PRAASA Chair, David F. and his whole team who did a wonderful job of hosting the Pacific Region. The problems were minor and sometimes even apropos as when the lights went out twice during the never-ending business meeting: almost as if God was saying, “Enough already!”

I will miss Idaho, it’s a wonderful place with great AA and great AA servants who really went all out to welcome us and make our stay one filled with Aloha. I’m sure they are going to do great job in 2014 when we head back to Boise for the 2014 Pacific Regional Forum. I’m hoping I’ll be able to extend my stay a few days (on my own dime of course) and explore Idaho a bit more – there just wasn’t time for that on this trip and, Hawaii resident that I am, I think I’ll like July weather a bit more than chilly early March (though they did say we’d raised the temperature a bit).

Thank you Hawaii Area 17 for funding me to PRAASA 2013. I am honored to serve you and look forward to answering any question you may have about my experience, about PRAASA in general and how valuable it is to us all, or chatting about anything else you have on your mind.

Thank you for letting me be of service,

Bob H.
Hawaii Area 17
Panel 63 Area Chair