From the May 2015 magazine.

Meetings, dances and late night coffee

A General Service trustee remembers how much Young Peoples’ Conferences helped him get sober

I first came to AA as a teenager and got sober in my early 20s. I had the great privilege to serve as an area delegate, and I am currently a Class B General Service trustee. I also had the opportunity to serve on an International Conference of Young People in AA (ICYPAA) host committee and its advisory council. While I have heard some say that ICYPAA and other young peoples’ AA conferences separate young people from the rest of AA, I believe it had the exact opposite effect on my AA path. Without learning about service at ICYPAA, and being encouraged by those I met through ICYPAA, I would have never become a GSR. At the end of the day, regardless of any past or current title I may have held or hold, the most important one will always be my role as a GSR.

If I could ever go back in time, I would have loved to be present at the International Convention in 1955 when AA came of age … and maybe have just a 30-minute cup of coffee with Bill W. I would also love to have attended the first ICYPAA in 1958. ICYPAA was not started to separate young members from the rest of AA. Two men, a probation officer in Canada and an electrician in Philadelphia, who both got sober young, decided that since AA is a program of “experience” they needed a place where young people could benefit from the experience of others.

-- B.N.

Spring Lake, New Jersey

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