The 1st Annual Central Office/Intergroup Gathering was held Saturday, March 17, 2012, from 12-5 at the Salt Lake Central Office. The Gathering was the result of a few people wanting to provide and promote communication between the Utah Central Offices and Intergroups, and with Utah Area 69, similar to the Annual Central Office/Intergroup AAWS/AA Grapevine Seminar, which is attended by Central Offices and Intergroups from the U.S and Canada and the General Service Office.
An invitation went out from the Salt Lake Central Office to the Ogden Central Office, Cache Valley Intergroup, Utah Valley Central Office, Dixie Central Office and the Utah Area 69 Delegate to attend the five hour gathering, with a request for topics of discussion. The response was overwhelmingly positive with acceptance from all invitees.
The topics requested were: “What services do Central Offices/Intergroups provide?”, “How are those services distributed?”, “What is an effective relationship between local Central Offices and District and Area Committees?” and “How can we serve with a spirit of cooperation?”
Attendees began arriving at 11:00 am and continued to come until 1:00 pm when all 20 participants were present. Introductions began at noon and continued as people arrived.
The first discussion began after a brief break, “What services do Central Offices/Intergroups provide?” was combined with the second, “How are those services distributed?” The discussion included current practices, current problems and hoped for outcomes. Many similarities were discovered as well as shared experience, which was helpful to those who had issues.
After another break, the topic “What is an effective relationship between local Central Offices and District and Area Committees?” was discussed. It was a lively conversation about what is currently working with many good suggestions about how these relationships can be improved. A common problem in Central Offices and Intergroups is a sense of “us” (Central Offices/Intergroups) and “them” (the General Service structure). All were in agreement that there is no separation, that we’re all working to increase effectiveness and understanding in service, and that Central Offices and Intergroups is a special part of the A.A. service structure. We are all here together to support each other in our common purpose of helping the alcoholic who still suffers.
The topic “How can we serve with a spirit of cooperation?” was last. Attention was turned to the Spanish speaking community. There have been concerns for the welfare of this group, the Spanish speaking Intergroup Office has closed. The Salt Lake Central Office has spoken with members of that community about possible ways we can help and the alternate Delegate is in touch with the linguistic District 12. Hopefully, our concern and desire to help will be communicated and the Spanish speaking community will benefit. How we can be more accessible to those with special needs was the last topic, and many good ideas were discussed.
This was such a worthwhile event. The detailed notes of the discussions are available for those interested. A new level of communication has begun between Utah Central Offices and Intergroups, and with Utah Area 69. This meeting illustrated the strength in unity and the joy of service that is abundant in Utah. Hopefully this tradition will continue for years to come.