How to get the most out of this weekend
Be Prepared to Serve for the Good of AA
Enjoy your weekend and remember Rule 62: “Don’t take yourself too damn seriously.” - 12 Steps and 12 Traditions, Tradition IV, pg. 149
Panels are two year terms in which trusted servants serve in their positions. Panels start on January 1 and end on December 31 of the following year. Area 78’s panels start in even years. Each panel is numbered for the conference at which an area’s delegate will first serve. Half the 93 areas in North America start their panels in odd years and half in even years, thus creating rotating panels which helps provide continuity.
Assemblies & Area Committee Meetings
In Area 78 two assemblies occur each year. The March Pre-Conference Assembly focusses primarily on providing input to the delegate on the upcoming General Service Conference agenda items. The September assemblies are devoted primarily to conducting the business of Area 78. At the last assembly in each panel, called the Election Assembly, the five table officers are elected and the ten committee chairs are appointed for the next panel.
Area committee meeting (ACM) is held in January and May, and attended by area officers and each district committee member (DCM). Their purpose is to prepare for assemblies and deal with any ongoing service issues. Members, including GSRs, may attend as visitors.
Handy Reference Material
Prior to arriving you should have received the assembly materials. If you take time to read them before arriving at Assembly, you’ll feel more confident knowing what to expect. At an A.A. service meeting, having your A.A. Service Manual is essential. Refer to it often. The Area 78 Guidelines and Action Binder are also valuable references. Assemblies present an excellent opportunity to find a potential service sponsor.
Why Do I Pay To Register? Then What?
Registration fees help pay for Assembly costs, such as facility rent, special guests’ and the Area officers’ travel expenses. They are also combined with group donations to help cover the other operating costs of Area 78.You’ll be assigned to a sharing session and a committee, receive a name tag, and then find a seat. Many sit with others from their district.
Like the General Service Conference, Area 78 operates on the committee system. Your participation on this committee is vital in developing an informed group conscience. For unity and continuity, you will stay on this committee until the end of the current panel. Often important recommendations and, occasionally, motions arise from these committee meetings. Committee chairs report to the Assembly on their ongoing efforts and projects and the outcome of their committee meeting(s).
Area 78 Sharing Session Questions
Reviewing the sharing session questions with your group, prior to the Assembly, is an important step in bringing with you an informed group conscience. If you didn’t get the information in time, Concept III (Right of Decision) applies and you can participate “according to the best dictates of (your) own judgment and conscience at that time”, and in the best interests of AA. - See the A.A. Service Manual, Chapter 4 and Concept III
ARCHIVES: Collects, preserves and shares the rich and meaningful history and heritage of A.A. in Area 78.
COOPERATION WITH THE PROFESSIONAL COMMUNITY (CPC): Provides information about A.A. to professionals who deal with problem drinkers in the course of their work.
CORRECTIONS: Facilitates carrying the message to inmates who have a desire to stop drinking; helping them with AA inside and upon release.
E-SERVICES: Oversees the Area 78 website and email system, ensuring conformity to website guidelines. Promotes awareness and utilization of website in carrying the AA message.
GRAPEVINE: Develops awareness of our “meeting in print” and other Grapevine materials. Encourages members to contribute stories to the Grapevine, and to purchase subscriptions to increase circulation.
GROUP RECORDS / REGISTRATION - REGISTRAR: Maintains GSO’s group records database, upholding strictest confidentiality. Provides information to table officers, DCMs and GSRs on a need-to-know basis.
LITERATURE: Promotes awareness of AA’s vast body of literature. Gives members, groups and AA service bodies a voice in decisions made regarding AA Conference-approved literature.
PUBLIC INFORMATION (PI): Creates greater public awareness and understanding of the AA program through use of public media and presentations.
REMOTE COMMUNITIES: Reaches out where barriers such as language, culture, geography, and isolation prevent the message of AA from being carried to fellow alcoholics.
TREATMENT AND ACCESSIBILITIES: Facilitates carrying the AA message into treatment centres. Responsible for the Bridging the Gap program. Endeavour to ensure those with disabilities have access to the AA message.
District Committee Member Reports
DCM reports are given by all DCMs at each Assembly and ACM to update others in Area 78 about their district’s groups, events, concerns and good news.
General Service Representatives
“The general service representative… link(s) his or her group to AA as a whole. The GSR represents the voice of the group conscience, reporting the group’s thoughts to the district committee member. and to the delegate, who passes them on to the General Service Conference. This communication is a two-way street, making the GSR responsible for bringing back to the group Conference (and Assembly) actions that affect AA unity, health and growth. Only when a GSR keeps the group informed, and communicates the group conscience, can the Conference truly act for AA as a whole.” The A.A. Service Manual – Chapter 2
Make sure the Area 78 registrar is given complete and up-to-date information on your group by completing a Group Information Change Form any time there’s a change to your group’s primary contact/GSR, Alternate GSR, meeting location, date +/or time or number of group members. Give the registrar the completed form at the Assembly or A.C.M. or email it in PDF or JPEG format to: firstname.lastname@example.org. The registrar will update GSO’s group records database – Fellowship New Vision (F.N.V.). This ensures your group’s contact will receive timely information from GSO and from Area 78. You will find blank Group and District Change Forms, Notice of Motion Forms, and other pertinent material on the table near the Registration tables and at www.area78.org .
Order of Business
A MOTION is a formal proposal creating a new, or changing an existing, procedure or policy. It is made in writing, signed, dated and seconded.
DISCUSSION: Any member wishing to speak to a motion may go to a floor microphone and wait to be recognized by the chairperson. No person may speak a second time until all others wishing to speak have been heard. Please limit discussion to two (2) minutes. Please do not repeat points that have already been stated. When voting, you should respect your group’s conscience, but you still have the “Right of Decision” under Concept III.
QUESTION CALLED: The chairperson may call for a vote which ends discussion. A voting member may “Call the Question” by making a motion to do so, which is seconded and voted upon. If passed, a vote on the original motion is immediately taken.
VOTING: At assemblies GSRs, DCMs, area committee chairs, and table officers may vote. In the absence of a GSR or DCM, the alternate has the vote for that group or district, but not both. Visitors may participate in discussions, but they cannot make or second motions or vote.
MINORITY OPINION: Insuring against an emotionally charged or misinformed majority, those who voted in the minority have the right to express their views.
REQUEST TO RECONSIDER: A motion to that effect can be made by anyone who voted in the majority, often due to a new understanding arising from hearing the minority opinion.
Why Not a simple majority?
The procedures employed aim to make decisions that are based on an “informed group conscience” with “substantial unanimity” (2/3) being the ultimate outcome. Substantial unanimity is not required when the chairperson asks for a “sense of the room.”
Area 78 Assemblies & ACMs are Closed Meetings