2014 World Service Business Conference Report

2014 World Service Business Conference
April 28 – May 3, 2014
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Theme of the conference was “Our Primary Purpose” and there was a focus in seminars and forums on carrying the message. The first seminar was Monday evening, with three more on Tuesday afternoon all looking towards how we can help spread the message.

The first conference focused activity was the Tuesday night seminar titled, “All About Conference and Parliamentary Procedures”. This was two well spent hours hearing about what to expect, explained some of the terms we would hear, and set expectations of decorum during the business meetings.

Wednesday started with a Regions Chair forum including 2 skits “Law & Drive Thru Orders” and a gameshow “Who Wants to Keep Their Abstinence”. The gameshow did rely upon having a projector. The first could be done with minimal equipment. Both were good.

Committee work started and I am assigned to the Web/Technology Committee. This is a 1 year commitment. We focus on helping groups, Intergroups (IG) and Regions using technology. We do not have any input to the OA.org web site, that is a function of the WSO business office. I am helping to revise the Guidelines for using the web while keeping to the traditions and steps.

A large challenge is trying to keep anonymity using social media. Other groups are looking technologies to assist meetings, and reviewing the status of all the IG and Region web sites.

Wednesday concluded with a Q&A session about the 3 piece of literature submitted for conference approval.

Thursday was the first day of the Business meetings. From the reports submitted here are some interesting facts:

• WSC lost money. The plan is to separate the conferences out from every 3 years to every 5 years. The next is 2016 in Boston titled “Trail to Freedom”.

• Attendance is up from 2008 due to including virtual meetings in the census. Face-to-Face meeting membership is down.

• Paper literature sales are more profitable per unit than electronic copies.

• 7th Tradition donations from virtual meetings averaged $0.58 per meeting in 2013. Virtual meetings are encouraging people to have reoccurring payments done from on a monthly payment from cards or bank accounts.

• Facebook ads ran last year are going to be repeated, they had many “click thrus”

• Region 1 had a Sponsorship Speed Dating game that was successful and fun.

• Region 3 is sponsoring a cruise in 2015 out of Galveston going to Mexico and Belize.

• Skype is widely used to reach isolated people, i.e. Fiji, and IG meetings in areas like the US west where travel is difficult.

• Some IG only meet yearly due to distance.

Work continued through Saturday. All proposed motions were considered during the five sessions. 5 trustee positions were filled. Trustee’s rotated their committee assignments. Two of the three literature items were approved. This included a revised edition of the OA “Brown Book”.

Third editions of the “Brown Book” includes 41 stories about recovery, 40 are all new and Rozanne’s Story. The only change to our founder’s tale is about her passing this year. The cover design will be brown, no other details have been determined. This is expected to be printed in the fall.

Also approved is a Diversity Checklist that will be available for download. This tool will help groups take a conscious about the subject about diversity.

A reoccurring issue for many of the issues was funding. While 2013 was finished in the black, it barely made that goal and required a cutting budgets.

Items such as taking a survey regarding OA’s name, changing parts that would require reprinting of literature and others all included this vital point.

A complete list of motion status is in the long unabridged report and on the OA web site. Here are a few of the items:

• Motion A to survey about changing the name of OA was lost.

• Youth in OA committee is now Young Persons in OA.

• Email loops will now have a courtesy listing on the OA.org web site.

• Changing the words in the steps and traditions was discussed, referred to committee, came back and was discussed again. To change the steps and traditions is a decision that can only be done with a positive response from 75% of the groups, with a minimum of 55% of all registered groups responding within 6 months of the question being sent out. WSBC cannot change the steps and traditions, only approve sending the change to the membership. The motion was lost, so it will not be put out as a question to every group.

The business meetings concluded Saturday morning. My committee meet Saturday afternoon and we concluded with a banquet Saturday night.

There were between two and four OA meetings each day, and all that I went to were well attended. It was great hearing from people with recovery that dates that were in the 1970’s! It was also good when they expressed how they dealt with the same struggles I was having. I got new ideas on how to work with those I sponsor. I sincerely hope my recovery and program will allow me to attend next year.

Jim K