Getting Ready for the 59th World Service Conference

by Apr 10, 2019

In a few days, I’ll be leaving for Virginia Beach, where I’m honored to represent our Area at the 59th World Service Conference, serving as Pennsylvania’s Delegate. I’ve been a bit overwhelmed these past few weeks as I prepared my inch-thick binder with all the materials I’ll need, but I am excited, too — anxious to meet the friends I made last year and inspired to be serving the fellowship of Al-Anon.

This year’s theme is:

Action is Attraction –

There is No Growth in the Comfort Zone

L’action, c’est l’attrait –

Il n’y a pas de croissance dans la zone de confort

La acción es atracción –

No hay crecimiento en la zona de comodidad

Even though this is my second year going to Conference, I must admit, I’m still out of my “comfort zone.” As I prepare to leave, I’m worried about little things, like am I going to forget to take enough ties or enough pairs of socks, and about big things, like being prepared to lead a breakout session on finance during the Conference.

I plan to drive down to Virginia Beach on Thursday evening after work. Friday will be a light day, giving me a chance to decompress, get registered, check out the Love Gifts in the Hospitality Room, and familiarize myself with the layout of the Conference Center. Since we were in New York last year, this facility is new to me and there’s no time during Conference to figure out where the sessions will be held.

The Conference starts Saturday with committee breakouts, workshops, and such. I serve on the Conference Committee on Trustees and we’ll have an hour and a half on Saturday afternoon for our Committee meeting. The formal Conference runs from Sunday through Wednesday with four, 12- to 13-hour days. It is constant, except for a short break in the mornings and afternoons and one hour each for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

At the end of the day, some of us usually gather in the lobby, sit around, and just relax, and talk — sometimes we talk about our lives, sometimes the day’s events. Sometimes we just laugh, laugh about whatever. Because so much goes on during the day, we just need a few minutes to decompress, to just shut down, and get ready for the next day. The friendships that are developed in an extremely short period of time are life changing. To be able to sit in the lobby with a couple of people in the evening after sessions are over and just have a conversation about life is incredible.

During the Conference, I hope to try something new — to do some live blogging on our Pennsylvania website. If it works out, I’ll have a little something to share each day to give you a feel for what is it like for me to serve as Delegate at the World Service Conference. Keep coming back to the website for the latest updates.

Service has been such an important part of my life and my recovery. My hope is that as you get a sense of the action that happens at Conference, you’ll also feel an attraction to serve Al-Anon, whether it is setting up chairs at a meeting, being a Group or District Representative, or sponsoring another member. Service is the life-blood of Al-Anon and I’m grateful that you have trusted me to serve as your Delegate.

This is part 1 of a series I’m posting on the World Service Conference. Check out my next post in the series.

Your friend in service,
Jeffrey F., Delegate
Panel 58, Pennsylvania