The purpose of the World Service Conference is to provide a forum where the issues and policies affecting all S-Anon and S-Ateen groups can be discussed and informed decisions can be made with all members of the fellowship being represented. The WSC is currently held annually on the Friday morning or afternoon prior to the beginning of the January SA/S-Anon International Convention.
It was proposed and adopted at the first WSC in January, 2004, that for purposes of representation at the WSC, North America would be organized by “Areas,” with each Area entitled to send one Delegate to the annual WSC. There are presently 66 Areas. Each Area covers one of the 50 states (except California, which has two Areas – North and South), 13 Canadian provinces, Phone Meetings and the Online Platform Meetings.
The Area Delegate (AD) is elected or selected by any means the group or groups in the Area decide. The most qualified candidate is an S-Anon member with several years of recovery and service experience, who has a working knowledge of the Twelve Traditions and Concepts of S-Anon and is familiar with the S-Anon/S-Ateen Service Manual. Some areas have established their own suggested qualifications and a full description of the duties of their Area Delegate.
If S-Anon groups in an Area have an Intergroup, the AD may be elected or selected through a formal election process of the Area’s choosing. It is recommended that all Area groups be given the opportunity to have a voice in the selection of the AD. Once the Area elects or affirms a volunteer AD, the AD registers with the World Service Office (WSO). The WSO then gives the AD contact information for all registered groups within the Area that have given permission for their information to be shared so the Area Delegate can contact those groups.
*GROUP REPRESENTATION BY AREA DELEGATES *
An Area Delegate (AD) facilitates communication between the groups in his or her Area and the World Service Conference (WSC). ADs have Traditional rights and the Board of Trustees (BOT) have Legal rights (Concept Seven). WSC members gather annually to discuss matters that affect the fellowship as a whole (Tradition One). While ADs are elected by a specific Area, each AD serves the S-Anon Fellowship as a whole. Delegates and Alternate Delegates are elected or selected by their Area for a three year term and may serve that area for two consecutive terms. Delegates and Alternate Delegates shall serve no more than (2) consecutive terms in the same position, after which it is suggested there be a minimum interval of one (1) year before they are eligible to serve that position again.
Alternate Area Delegate
In addition to the AD, each Area may choose to elect an Alternate Area Delegate (Alternate AD), who also registers with the WSO. The Alternate AD, while not an official part of our service structure (per the WSC Charter) learns about the AD role and responsibilities, may attend the monthly AD calls and assist the AD with some of his or her tasks. The Alternate AD would perhaps be in a position to become the next AD at the end of the current AD’s term, and step in if the elected AD cannot complete a full term or attend the WSC. The Alternate AD may attend the WSC along with the AD as an observer only. However, if the Area Delegate cannot attend the WSC, the Alternate AD may register with the WSO and attend the WSC conference with a voice and a vote.
Area Delegate Responsibilities
The Area Delegate (AD) communicates with the Delegate body on the monthly Conference Call and is encouraged to serve on a BOT standing committee. The majority of the official AD responsibilities, according to the World Service Conference Charter, are centered on activities related to the annual World Service Conference meeting.
Several months prior to the WSC, the ADs receive periodic communications from the WSC Committee, which include the motions to be considered at the WSC in July. The ADs share the motions with Area groups, encouraging all groups to review and discuss the motions, and then report their views and feedback on each issue to the AD by a predetermined date. Some ADs attend various S-Anon meetings in their Area and participate in the group conscience discussions, while others work through Intergroups and rely on group representatives to explain each group’s position on the issues. Others email the motions to members and ask for feedback. Each AD has the freedom to design a communication process that works for his or her Area.
ADs are expected to arrive at the WSC fully informed and able to present the views of their Area groups on the motions to be considered (Concepts Four, Five). They do not collect votes from their local groups on the motions, but they take into consideration comments and feedback from the groups about the motions. During the deliberation on each motion, ADs listen with open minds to all points of view, and thoughtfully and prayerfully consider the perspectives presented by other WSC members. The AD then votes on each motion as she or he believes best supports the interests of the entire Fellowship (Tradition Two, Concept Twelve-Warranty Three and Concept Three).
Upon returning home, the ADs report the results of the voting to their Area groups. Some ADs write a report and send it to their groups via email. Others hold conference calls or share the results at group or Intergroup meetings. This follow-up is important because it completes the communication cycle and keeps members informed.
Many ADs also engage in other important activities not directly linked to the WSC to support the growth and development of S-Anon in the Area. These activities may include working with the Board of Trustees Regional Trustee, serving as the contact person for his or her Area for service-related questions, and ensuring that the Alternate AD (if the Area has one) is informed and prepared to step into the AD role if needed. The S-Anon Service Literature L-19 is a helpful resource for Area Delegates and Alternates.
Area Delegate Communication and Coordination
While not part of the official S-Anon traditional service structure, a General Delegate Assembly (GDA) has been created by Area Delegates themselves. The GDA meets annually on the day before the WSC, and this body has proven quite helpful in facilitating communications between Delegates. The GDA does not, however, make decisions that are binding on all Delegates, the Board of Trustees, or on the World Service Conference. ADs are invited to participate in a monthly AD conference call to discuss matters of interest to all ADs. In addition, twice a year, usually in April and October, the ADs are invited to participate in a conference call with the BOT. While it is not required by the WSC Charter for the AD to attend the GDA and monthly conference calls, it is strongly encouraged, and may be defined by an Area to be an expected part of AD service in the Area.
Area Delegate Expenses
In accordance with Tradition Seven, Areas are responsible for paying expenses incurred by their Area Delegates to attend the World Service Conference. The World Service Office may reimburse up to half of the standing Area Delegate (or Alternate, if the elected Area Delegate cannot attend) expenses. (This practice in 2012 this on a trial basis.) If your Area is not sufficiently organized or does not have the financial resources available, the Delegate must fund the remainder of the expenses not reimbursed by the WSO. Each Area that sends a Delegate is strongly encouraged to become self-supporting in this way. For example, in one Area, an Intergroup was the body that organized the selection of an Area Delegate. As the World Service Office could not reimburse all the expenses for the Area Delegate to attend the WSC, the Intergroup voted to defray a portion of the expenses their Delegate incurred, if funds were available.
_NOTE: The sections above present only a brief discussion of how local groups come to be represented at the WSC. It may be challenging to hear that each Area is entitled to have a Delegate, and yet have very little idea or guidance about how to identify and organize other groups that may exist in your Area in order to select an Area Delegate. S-Anon as a fellowship is still far from realizing our goal of having every Area represented at the WSC by an elected Area Delegate.
You can determine if your Area is organized and represented by contacting the World Service Office. If you find that your Area does not yet have a Delegate, you may practice our slogan, “Let it Begin with Me,” and choose to attend the WSC as an individual. Members of the World Service Conference Committee will be available to speak with you, and if there is no other Delegate from your Area, you may be authorized to serve in that capacity.
We cannot emphasize this too strongly: Each Area is encouraged to send a Delegate, even if that Delegate does not have the recommended level of experience, in order to avoid not being represented at all.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE FUNCTIONS AND PROCESSES ASSOCIATED WITH THE WORLD SERVICE CONFERENCE ARE LOCATED IN PART 3 OF THIS MANUAL._
Updated September 2018