Wsbc summary Report – Albuquerque, nm, April 26 – May 1, 2010



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WSBC Summary Report – Albuquerque, NM, April 26 – May 1, 2010

It is with profound gratitude to the CAOAIG that I offer this summary of my experience at the 49th annual World Service Business Conference (WSBC). This has been one of the most moving experiences I have had since I became an OA member, four years ago this month.
While the final conference report will not be out for several weeks, I hope to share with you not only some of the more significant business events of the week, but also my general impressions and moving experiences of my first WSBC convention.

Overall Thoughts and Impressions

On the morning of the first day, I began to get a realization that I was in the presence of individuals from all over the world who have had outstanding recovery from compulsive eating - and for extended periods of time. My 140 lb weight loss over the past four years paled in significance to those around me with 150, 200, 250 lb weight losses, and more - maintained for ten, twenty, and even thirty or more years. While in our local meetings, I see 5, 10, 20 or even 30 members with various stages of recovery. Some members are new members, others are relapsed returning members, others are still struggling with their abstinence. At this WSBC however, I saw nearly 200 recovered overeaters, enjoying life; happy, joyous and free from their disease.


That first morning, I had breakfast with a fellow from Sydney Australia. I had lunch with a woman from Spain. Later I chatted with a delegate from Israel. Dinner one evening was shared with a young woman from Warsaw, Poland. At the first session, the delegates from various regions rose as their countries were announced. As those from Region 9 were announced (Africa, Europe, Middle East, and Western Asia) we saw several rows of delegates rise from their seats and remain standing. Delegates who traveled thousands of miles to serve as trusted guardians of our fellowship.
As our region, Region 8, was announced, State by State, country by country, we saw about twenty-five delegates rise. We had delegates from Columbia and Costa Rica, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, the Carolinas, and more. We were all wearing our new Region 8 hooded sweatshirts with the new SOAR-8 logo on the back.
At the beginning of each day’s session, someone lead us in The Serenity Prayer. On the first morning’s session, said first in German from a delegate from Austria and then in English. The next day, first in Hebrew, then in English. Then, on Thursday, in French and English, and on Friday, Polish and English. We were truly an international fellowship, all praying for the gifts of serenity, courage and wisdom.
For me, one of the most moving experiences of the convention was when, as the Chair gaveled closed the first morning’s session, all of us rose in unison, joined hands and shouted to the rooftops, “I put my hand in yours, and together we can do what we could never do alone. No longer is there a sense of hopelessness. No longer must we each depend upon our own unsteady willpower. We are all together now, reaching out our hands for power and strength greater than ours. And as we join hands, We find love and understanding beyond our wildest dreams!” As the room resounded with the sound of over 200 grateful recovering voices shouting the words of the Rozanne’s promises, tears came to my eyes. Tears of gratitude, not only for my recovered health, but also for my recovered life.

Workshops

Several workshops were held beginning Monday evening through Wednesday. Topics ranged from Parliamentary Procedure, using humor in our meetings, to the future of OA.


One particular workshop both troubled me but gave me hope for the future. Don C. presented the discussion entitled, “OA Past and Future.” I asked him for a copy of his presentation and I am attaching it to this report for your review and thoughtful reflection. In it, Don discussed three themes:


  1. Recovery Delivery Channels – Face to face meetings, on-line meetings, the “electronic fellowship.”

  2. Health of OA - Survey Results - Do you consider OA strong and thriving in your local area? YES or NO?

  3. Local Renewal Actions Work - Renewal actions at the IG and Group level that really work to increase personal recovery. The success or failure of OA is at the local and IG level. Region and World Service are basically invisible to the average still suffering compulsive overeater in the rooms. Strengthening OA means strengthening individual recovery which means LOCAL action through IGs and Groups or other delivery channels.

I won’t try to repeat his points here, but the following excerpt should give us all a troubling starting place to consider for the future. I encourage everyone to read and discuss his full paper.


“We have a pretty good count of registered groups so we know we're down several thousand since the 90's. We've been fairly flat in the 6,000's for several years - not growing, not decreasing much at least in terms of registered groups. But we now include our registered online and phone groups in the count, so flat means less FTF meetings. What we don't know for sure is actual numbers of people in the rooms. Of the many people I've talked to, and in a survey I recently did, there is unanimous agreement that, on average, meetings are getting smaller.

One clear metric we have is Lifeline subscriptions. It's gone from a high of 25,000 circulation in 1990 to about 8,200 today. It dropped precipitously in the 90's, was basically flat between 2000 and 2007, and now is dropping again.”



Committees

Beginning on Tuesday morning, the conference broke into its several working committees. I was assigned to the new Technology and Website Committee. In all, the delegates broke out into nine different committees. Each committee spent most of the day working on its various agendas. The final committee reports will be issued in the final conference report to be mailed to each Intergroup and Region in a few weeks.


My Technology and Website Committee (a.k.a., “TechWeb”) elected me the new Vice-chair. Ray F., the TechWeb chair for Region 8 was reelected chair of the WSBC Delegate Committee. Each WSBC Committee has two chairs – one Delegate Chair and one Trustee Chair. Charles A. was our Trustee Chair, but had to step down from that position as his term as Region 8 Trustee came to an end at this session. Charles, however, will remain an ex-officio member for the next year and hopefully an external member thereafter. A new Region 8 – Trustee was elected at this conference, Gerri H. However, she was not assigned to our committee. Instead we were fortunate to have a very energetic and technically competent Trustee assigned to our committee as Trustee Chair. Her name is Mary Rose D., Trustee for Region 6.
We broke down our committee into two subcommittees – (1) Website Maintenance and Support and (2) New Technologies. I am on the first subcommittee.
One new development this past year was the availability of website templates that any Intergroup or Region may elect to use. This will allow the various regions and service bodies to have a common look-and-feel. What many are not aware of yet is that the WSO will actually fund and TechWeb will help train and support the website webmaster. So if we so elect, we can switch over to use these new templates and save on web costs (ca. $100/yr).
The WSO has now purchased a new domain, oagroups.org. If we wanted to do so, we could switch over to use the new template and become atlantaoa.oagroups.org. Actually, I believe, we could still use atlantaoa.org and simply redirect to the oagroups subdomain. If you would like to see some of the other Intergroups now using these templates/subdomains, see www.oagroups.org and click on some of the sample Intergroup domains listed. For example, see http://lvoa.org/.

New Literature

One of the more exciting roles of a WSBC delegate is the review and approval of new OA Literature. On our arrival, each delegate received a spiral-bound package of information to consider at this conference. Among the items were drafts of all new and revised literature to be considered and approved/disapproved at our meeting. On Wednesday evening, we all met to ask questions of the Trustee Literature Committee on each piece of literature. Then, the next day, we debated and voted to approve or disapprove each item. Approval required a 2/3 majority of delegates voting. The following literature items were discussed and the results of the voting presented.




  1. A Common Solution: Diversity and Recovery – This new booklet failed to receive a 2/3 majority this year, based primarily on two objections. First, one of the articles, “Perks and Problems of a Man in OA” was considered inappropriate by some. Second, while there were articles on life diversity, sexual orientation, age, anorexia, bulimia, mental disability, and others, there were no articles on Hispanic or African-American experiences. There were also objections to an article on bariatric surgery, as an outside issue. Delegates were free to submit suggestions for consideration by the publications committee for revisions and consideration in 2011.

  2. Questions and Answers – A revised pamphlet was approved after much discussion and concerns by delegates over nearly wholesale replacement of the term “compulsive overeater (overeating)” with “compulsive eater (eating).” There appear to be many delegates concerned that we are entering a slippery slope that might end in even a name change for our organization. However, the argument seemed to prevail that the term “compulsive eating” is actually a more generic term encompassing not only overeating, but under eating, anorexia, bulimia, as well as exercise bulimia. The debate on this pamphlet ranged over two days and involved some interesting complex parliamentary maneuvers, including the eventual withdrawal of the motion (Proposal Item G) to replace “compulsive overeater” with “compulsive eater” throughout all documents in OA. As it stands now, the term “overeater” and “eater” can continue to be used interchangeably throughout our literature as deemed appropriate for that literature by the literature committee and the WSBC delegates.

  3. Sponsoring Through the Steps - This pamphlet is a complete rewrite for the pamphlet, “A Guide to the Twelve Steps for You and Your Sponsor” and will completely replace the old pamphlet when it issues. After considerable discussion and debate, this pamphlet was approved and should be available in about three to four months. It contains some very useful new sections, such as reading assignments and questions to write on and/or answer for the sponsee. The main point of contention was the lack of references to the Big Book of AA. There were references, but some members believed that there should be more. However, because the old pamphlet was so outdated and this new pamphlet such a great improvement, the delegates voted their approval this year so as not to delay publication to 2011.

  4. The Tools of Recovery – This pamphlet was revised to improve some of the more archaic language in the old version. Delegates approved the revision with little debate. It should be noted here that a ninth tool of recovery (Action Plan) was approved later in the conference, but will not be included in this revision as the new tool needs to be described in more detail by the literature committee and hopefully approved at the 2011 conference. A one-year supply of this new pamphlet will be printed so that the ninth tool can be added next year.

  5. To the Family of the Compulsive Eater – This is a pamphlet revision. Note the change again from “overeater” to “eater.” However, other sections were updated. After again concern over the elimination of “over-,” the pamphlet was approved by the delegates.

  6. To the Teen – This complete rewrite was approved by the delegates. There was some concern over the questionable veracity of one of the articles, but the overwhelming positive reception of this pamphlet overrode those concerns. The pamphlet was modernized with language much more appropriate to today’s teens - not only concerned with overeating, but with anorexia and bulimia as well.

  7. Welcome Back – This complete rewrite was thought to be a significant improvement of this pamphlet for the returning or relapsed member. The rewrite was approved by the delegates, with little discussion.



Business Motions

Several motions for changes policies and procedures and bylaws were considered. Note that a bylaw change requires a 2/3 vote of delegates voting. Other motions require only a simple majority of votes cast.




  1. Proposal Item H – This motion passed as amended. “Move that the WSBC Final Conference Report be made available electronically. All delegates and service bodies (i.e. Intergroups and Regions) will continue to receive the printed version unless otherwise requested.” This should result in significant cost savings, especially when service bodies in non-English speaking countries notify the WSO they no longer wish to receive printed copy. Often, a single copy is translated by the service body and distributed as needed. The remainder is often discarded. Note that CAOAIG and its two delegates will continue to receive hard copy unless and until they notify the WSO they no longer need the hard copy and that the electronic copy alone will suffice. I intend to notify the WSO that I will need only the electronic copy. If the Intergroup wants to maintain a hard copy in the office, it may still do so. A related motion, Item 3, a bylaw change, also passed for the same reason.

  2. Proposal Item C – Establish a Youth in OA Conference Committee. This proposal was approved after considerable discussion. Funding for the committee was of concern, but with the cost savings from moving to electronic documents was considered, this seemed to ameliorate those concerns. Previously, there was only a Trustee “Youth in OA” Committee. However, members of that committee found themselves involved in inquiries where they had little background or experience. Most Trustees are up there in age and it was hoped a younger delegate committee would provide good input.



Elections

Elections were held for Region and General Service Trustees. Gerri H. from our Region 8 was elected as Region 8 Trustee taking the place of our own Charles A. who has completed his allowed terms on the board. Gerri is from Titusville, FL, the Central Florida Intergroup, and was the Chair of Region 8 from 2005-2008.


Margaret H. was elected Region 2 Trustee. Margaret is from Santa Cruz, CA and is the current Region 2 Trustee and stood for reelection for another term.
The candidate for Region 10 Trustee, from New South Wales, Australia, withdrew his application before the election. Therefore Region 10, the Far East and Australia will go without a Trustee until a replacement can be found, as will the Regional Trustees for Regions 1 and 5.
Five candidates stood for the two General Service Trustee (GST) positions available. Elected after three ballots were Barbara B., from San Francisco, and Vicki W., from Nephi, UT. Vicki was reelected for another term. This is Barbara’s first term.
At the Trustee Meeting on Saturday after lunch, GST Bob F. was elected the new Chair of the Board of Trustees, replacing Kayla W. GST Joe L. was elected the new Treasurer. Elected First Vice Chair was Vicki W.

General Announcements



New 7th Tradition scripts are available on the OA website. Groups and Intergroups are encouraged to adopt them. Specifically, the wording no longer suggests a specific dollar amount and no longer suggests that new members should feel free to let the basket pass and spend their money on literature instead.
Here is the suggested new wording:
“According to our Seventh Tradition, ‘we are self-supporting through our own contributions.’ Our group expenses are _________, _________, and ______. We send monthly contributions to our intergroup or service board, region and the World Service Office to help carry the message to other compulsive overeaters. Give as if your life depends on it!”
Speaking of 7th Tradition, our WSBC delegates this year contributed nearly $3,500 when the baskets were passed, or about $17 per delegate for the three sessions.
Sources of WS Funds





% of Revenue

Sales of Literature

52%

Sales of Lifeline*

5%

Contributions

24%

Interest

0%

Shipping and Handling

9%

Conference and Revenue

3%

Convention Revenue

5%

Other

1%

In 2009, Cost for Distribution and Production of Lifeline was $189,648, sales were $121,570 for a net operating loss of $68,078. Actions were taken to offset losses with Lifeline.




  • Up-to-date, appealing design

  • Increase in price from $15 to $23

  • Four-color format

  • Lifeline Weekly for e-Lifeline subscribers

  • Lifeline representative program.


Contributions by Region




$/Group

Region 1

50

Region 2

71

Region 3

62

Region 4

89

Region 5

84

Region 6

72

Region 7 (NJ, DE, MD, PA, WV, VA)

121

Region 8 (our Region)

50

Region 9 (Europe, Western Asia)

9

Region 10

86

Sander B.



WSBC Delegate, 2010
Attached: Don C. workshop presentation



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