Hello Area 05.
If I could name any singular event so far in my General Service work that has made the biggest impact on me, it would be PRAASA. Gathering over a thousand people together to talk about service and how we can do it better….what could be better? I have made life-long friends from all over the Pacific Region of Alcoholics Anonymous, met and talked to Trustees from around the globe and at each one – learned how to be better at whatever job I was doing for Area 05 at the time.
This year was the first virtual PRAASA to be held. Hopefully it will be the last of this kind and we will all be together in Portland next year or maybe there will be a hybrid PRAASA for people who cannot travel. That is yet to be seen or discussed. Still, it was a history making event. At one point I looked up at the participants window and I am pretty sure I saw that there 1047 participants at that time. Amazing.
I participated in the Delegates roundtable this year. The Panel 70 Delegates who have already experienced the virtual conference and our Pacific Region Trustee Kathi F. Were so helpful in trying to give us Panel 71’s an orientation. We 71’s are very lucky to have their experience, strength and hope. I have to say that I already feel as if I’ve known these people my whole life as is what happens around here. We laugh a lot but are supportive and serious when the time comes for work.
From the opening of PRAASA until the very last dance party, it was a fantastic event. Area 93 took on a huge challenge and met it with confidence and they are now the experts we will all look to if there is ever a need for a virtual gathering of this kind. The Delegates of the Pacific Region all made their presentations focused on a conference agenda item from their committee but there was so much more.
- Courage to Change – a panel filled with these members: Kerwin N. (Area 17) Kathy R. (Area 03) Sheryl T. (Area Delegate 69) Nikki U. (Area Chairperson 05) Jennifer B. (Area Delegate 06) willing to tell their AA Stories of change and a report from the Delegates from Areas 6 AND 69. Jennifer B. On her Trustees Committee in relation to change and Sheryl T. On the Grapevine/LaVina. Also our own Chairperson Nikki U. shared and her experience as past registrar was expressed too.
- Trustee’s Report – Our Pacific Region Trustee reported on the goings on in our region and the General Service Conference as well as from her assignment to the Grapevine/LaVina. Very informative and Kathi is an amazing example of service.
- PRAASA Business Meeting The financials were approved and there was discussion on diversity in presenters on the side. There were 47 pages with quite a few additions and suggestions to changes in guidelines but most were deferred to next year’s meeting due to time.
- Virtual A.A. This was a panel I was lucky to be on! My committee assignment is to Public Information and I was honored to be able to present on the development of a General Service Podcast. Other presenters were: Maire H. (Area 08) Heather P. (Area 07) Lupita Y.M. (Area 72) David R. (Area 69) These panelists were tasked with talking about our virtual meetings and conferences and the challenges it presents. Very interesting and a lot of heartfelt experience and accessibility issues were present here.
- Practicing A.A.’s Spiritual Principles in a Changing World : Claudia N. (Area 06) Lisa S (Area 92) Mark S. (Area 18) Geene D. (Area Delegate 72) Bob K. (Area Delegate79) This panel was especially interesting in that I heard more stories of isolation because of the pandemic and yet, hopefulness from reaching out to those who are not connected virtually.
AREA 05 SATURDAY ZOOM DINNER!
I hosted our PRAASA Dinner party on Zoom and there was so much laughter and love! It was great to see everyone in attendance and to enjoy a break to let off steam.
- Saturday Speaker A.A. Meeting – This is when we usually have our banquet and enjoy a main speaker. Our virtual speaker was Carolyn W. AAWS Director. History was spoken here! I am always so encouraged when I am able to hear from someone like Carolyn.
- What’s on your mind? This is always a great panel at PRAASA when they have it. There were many ideas thrown out here but I remember a lot of the focus again being on diversity in participation at PRAASA. Linguistic, gender, young people, LGBTQ members all chimed in and it was a thrill to hear. I think changes are coming.
- Culture and A.A. We heard from these Panelists: Kelly X. (Area 05) Trista K. (Area 58) Sheila M. (Area 06) Kunane D. (Area Delegate17) The language of the heart is spoken across the world and all boundaries.
- Carry the Message We heard from these panelists: Julie C. (Area Delegate 42) Don D. (Area 42) Romy S. (Area 09) Willy D. (Area 02) Karla Y. (Area Delegate 93) There was talk about not only getting the message to members but also to GSRs, through their DCMs and reaching our linguistic, elderly an deaf communities as well.
- Past Trustees’ Sharing Session – More history and levity. The experience from these Trustees lead me to believe that are a lot things we are still talking about in A.A. that need to change but that things do happen however slowly.
- Ask it Basket (the Delegates) – Gulp! I have to admit I was terrified by this! All my fears were put to rest when I was asked about a subject from my committee – Public Information and I knew the answer! The rest of the delegates were stellar as usual.
The closing was so much fun and so joyful! All of us Delegates were laughing and chair-dancing to the music Tech 12 was playing when we realized – we were still up on the screen! That’s when someone asked if we do YMCA – which we did. It was such a great time and a wonderful end to a fantastic conference. The things I learn every year are innumerable and stay with me forever.
Next Year In Portland!