2018-06-23 Spring Assembly Report

One Group Rep’s Notes from the Michigan Spring Assembly
Submitted by Julie S, GR for Serenity Seekers, Sat. 9:00 AM, King of Kings

I volunteered at the March District 5 meeting to write a report about the Spring Assembly, so here we go. These are not the minutes of the meeting – to see those, you can go on to the Website for Michigan Al-Anon, which is miafg.org. Go to the Members section to see reports and calendars for all of the statewide events.

There are two statewide assemblies each year that GRs are expected to attend. They are held in St. Louis, Michigan because it is the center point of the Lower Peninsula – an hour and forty minutes’ drive from Ann Arbor if you pay attention to your GPS. (I didn’t.) There is a short orientation for GRs who are new to assemblies, just before the assembly itself starts at 10 am. (FYI, your group can reimburse you for mileage and the $7 cost of lunch so that attending is not a financial hardship.)

I saw five people at the assembly from District 5 – Maggie S, who is treasurer at the state level now, Cheryl B, who was our District Rep and is now the state level Public Outreach Coordinator, Nancy B, Annie J, and myself. In total, there were about 75 voting GRs at this meeting, and there are 391 registered groups in the state. It would be great if more groups were represented at assemblies since this is where decisions are made about our area budget and its direction.

Maggie S presented the treasurer’s report – overall we have $27,000 which breaks down to $11,593 in our prudent reserve, $7,582 in the convention account and a little less than $8,000 in our checking account. Be sure to send group contributions for the area to: P.O. Box 980174, Ypsilanti, MI 48198. Whenever we have excess funds, the area makes a donation to WSO.

The area secretary’s report included where to find all the motions that are made at assemblies: https:goo.gle/luUoRR. We still need someone to volunteer to plan the 47th Michigan AFG Convention (in 2019). April is Alcohol Awareness Month and a good time to distribute “Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism.” The AA International Convention will be in Detroit in 2020. There was discussion of whether we should have an Al-Anon convention in 2020 or whether the AA convention might impact attendance. The Grand Rapids district volunteered to host the 2020 Al-Anon convention, once it was decided there would be one. After much discussion, the DeWitt/Lansing district volunteered to host the 2019 Al-Anon convention.

After establishing the number of voting GRs present, and how many would make a “substantial majority,” (which is defined as 2/3rds of the voting members) we voted on amendments to the policy manual.

Ann M is our Michigan delegate so she attended the WSC (World Service Conference) and reported to us. The WSC is 60 hours long and there were 94 attendees. There’s a new executive director of the WSO (World Service Office) and new use of a project calendar for all WSO projects to prevent bottlenecks. The WSO Website has been updated – the launch date was 2018-01-11. Call volume to the AFG (Al-Anon Family Groups) toll free number is down by 70% and Website searches are up 375%. There’s now a way to update group records online and it gets sent to the area (state) records coordinator who vets it and then submits the change to the WSO database.

There is a new pamphlet for parents and grandparents of alcoholics. The 50th anniversary addition of the daily reader One Day at a Time along with the new book on Intimacy was scheduled to be released at the International Convention in Baltimore.

A well-loved piece from The Forum called “Just for Tonight” will be made into a bookmark by WSO.
The Al-Anon public service announcement was in the top 5% of PSA’s broadcast in 2017. The media kit on the Al-Anon Website has PSAs to share with local TV and radio stations. If we can generate interest from our local broadcasters and send their contact info to WSO, they will send the PSA to the TV/radio station.

400,325 copies of “Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism” were ordered by groups in 2017. This is the highest number ordered since 2006 when this was first published.

The WSO operating budget in 2018 is:

  • $3,000,000 from the sale of Conference Approved Literature
  • $2,000,000 from contributions from individuals, group, districts and areas
  • $260,000 from subscriptions to The Forum
  • $244, 000 transfer from the Reserve Fund
  • $5,504,000 Grand Total

58% of Michigan groups contributed to the WSO in 2017, an average of $104 per group for a total of $22,178. The cost for WSO to support a group in 2017 was $283. To see details of how WSO spends its money, see the back of the appeals letters we get quarterly.

Ann told us the story of how Detroit used to publish its own literature (non CAL) and in 1965, Lois typed a letter to Detroit, strongly suggesting Detroit stop making their own literature. It took 22 years and the WSO telling Detroit that WSO would no longer send Detroit any CAL until Detroit stopped publishing their own literature. It had been a big source of income for the Detroit districts.

Renee F (former Michigan Group Records Coordinator) gave a presentation about redistricting within Michigan. Currently there are 391 active groups in 42 districts. However, because there are only 18 district reps (43%) and 5 district contacts (12%), that means 45%, or 19 districts have no representation at the Area World Service Conferences. This means that links to service, communication and participation are broken. The proposed realignment would reduce the number of districts from 42 to 30, which would increase the coverage of districts with district representatives to 73%.

Action Committee – Public Outreach had a good presentation about how easy it is to get your public library to put up a display about Al-Anon. We divided up into small groups and each group created a tri-fold display that could be used in a library. My group did one entitled “Is Someone’s Drinking Bugging You?” decorated with pictures of bugs, Al-Anon slogans and contact info for a district.

Ann M (our delegate) explained that we are part of the North Central Region of Al-Anon and that we are in need of a trustee to represent our region. She asked if anyone is interested in serving. You need to have at least 10 years of continuous attendance at meetings, be AMIAS certified (to lead Alateen), have been active beyond the group level, be an English speaker, and you cannot be a member of another recovery program (double winner). The application form was due by 2018-07-20 to Ann and Mike (Michigan Coordinator) to be reviewed and submitted by 2018-08-01. If chosen, the commitment will be 28-60 days per year: 4 weeks in Virginia Beach at WSO, 5 days for the WSO conference and 3 days for regional delegates meeting. You don’t have to be a delegate or coordinator to be eligible. It’s a 3 year term.

The following motions were made and voted on:

  • The motion to redistrict our area was passed after 13 years of work.
  • A motion stating that 60% of net income gets transferred to our prudent reserve with a goal of having one year’s operating expenses (approx. $20,000) in the prudent reserve. This passed.
  • A motion to allow people to stand for officers’ positions “in absentia” (even though they cannot physically be at the assembly where elections take place) was passed.
  • A motion to purchase a new personal computer for use by the Area Alateen Process Person was passed. A motion made to require that all AAPP business be done exclusively on this particular personal computer did not pass.

The meeting adjourned at 3:45 pm.