Conference Agena REport (CAR)
Why does NA have GSRs?
From Group Booklet
Group service representative (GSR)
Each group elects one group service representative; even those groups hosting more than one recovery meeting elect just one GSR. These GSRs form the foundation of our service structure. GSRs provide constant, active influence over the discussions being carried on within the service structure. They do this by participating in area service committee meetings, attending forums and assemblies at both the area and regional levels, and sometimes joining in the work of an ASC subcommittee. If we are vigilant in choosing stable, qualified leaders at this level of service, the remainder of the structure will almost certainly be sound. From this strong foundation, a service structure can be built that will nourish, inform, and support the groups in the same way that the groups nourish and support the structure.
Group service representatives bear great responsibility. While GSRs are elected by and accountable to the group, they are not mere group messengers. They are selected by their groups to serve as active members of the area service committee. As such, they are responsible to act in the best interests of NA as a whole, not solely as advocates of their own groups’ priorities.
From the 2nd concept
The final responsibility and authority for NA services rests with the NA groups.
… Without the voice of the groups, the service structure may not know what kinds of services are needed, or whether the services it provides are ones the groups want. The groups provide the ideas and direction needed to guide the service structure in fulfilling its responsibilities. By voicing their needs and concerns, the groups also exercise their authority for the service structure they have created.
From the 8th concept
Our service structure depends on the integrity and effectiveness of our communications.
Our fellowship’s service structure is founded on the unity of our groups; to maintain that union, we must have regular communications throughout Narcotics Anonymous. Together, our groups have created a service structure to meet their common needs and to help them fulfill their common purpose. The effectiveness of the service structure depends on the continued unity of the NA groups, and on their continued support and direction. These things can only be maintained in an atmosphere of honest, open, and straightforward communication among all parties concerned.
Regular communication plays a large part in the fulfillment of our groups’ final responsibility and authority for NA services. Through their GSRs, the groups regularly report their strengths, needs, ideas, and conscience to the service structure. Taken together, these group reports give our service boards and committees clear guidance in their efforts to serve NA as a whole. When the groups are regularly given full and accurate information from all elements of the service structure, they become familiar with the structure’s normal patterns of activity. The groups are then able to recognize when something goes wrong with one of our service boards and committees, and are in a better position to know how to help correct the problem. And, knowing what kinds of resources are needed to fulfill service tasks, our groups are also more likely to provide the service structure with adequate support.
… To develop group conscience, communications must be honest and direct. Without the full picture, seen from all sides, our groups, service boards, and committees cannot develop an informed group conscience.
What does a GSR actually do?
You, the GSR, are elected by your group to represent your groups’ conscious at the Area Service Committee meeting. There is often a misconception that the GSR is just there to “pick up the literature” for the group. While this is one of the main duties, you are there, with just as much importance, to participate, as a voting member, in the decisions that affect the entire Peninsula Area as well as Narcotics Anonymous as a whole. Expressing your groups’ voice during discussions is very important forms the backbone of the communication that we just talked about. That communication is what makes Narcotics Anonymous a success.
The ASC can be overwhelming at first with all the information that is being presented, but it is important to do your best to stay focused and pay attention to what is being talked about. Figuring out what notes to take will be covered later in the orientation.
You may be unclear on why things are done a particular way or what something means. Please ask questions or comment if you have input. It is through those questions, and dialog that may result from those questions or comments that help to create the group conscious of the ASC. The more you get involved, the more quickly you will understand how things work. If you are uncomfortable asking a question to the group, pull someone aside during the break. The question that you don’t ask might just be the very question that needs to be asked. It could be the one that could help to save an addict’s life.
Any questions that come up outside of the ASC meeting can be directed to the Service Forum Coordinator whose number is listed on the schedule as part of the Outreach Subcommittee.
Once back at your group, the information that you picked up should be passed on and made available to the members of your group. Suggested ways to do this will be covered in more detail later in the orientation.
What should a GSR do first at the ASC?
For today’s meeting, you will be paired up with an experienced member who will show you the ropes and answer any questions you might have about the flow of the ASC meeting.
- Sign in on the GSR Sign-in sheet on the side table
- Go the back table and pick up:
- A GSR Report Form
- An ASC Meeting Agenda for the day
- All of the reports of the ASC officers and Subcommittee Chairs
- Flyers and schedules
- Use the meeting agenda and GSR Report Form to organize the reports in the correct order so you be able to follow along
- Get one schedule ready to take notes when the GSRs give their reports on their meetings. You will find the meeting on the schedule and write notes about what they say. You will use this as your master copy when reporting to your group.
- The meeting will start and follow the agenda which you can use to follow along with the flow of the meeting. Make sure to participate and ask questions! At the end of each report will be a bulleted list of items that the writer of the report would like to see taken back to your meeting. At minimum, those are the notes that you should be taking.
- Just before break quorum will be taken based off of who signed in
- At the break get your literature from the literature room if you ordered any
- Then make your donation to the treasurer if you are making one
- COME BACK TO THE MEETING AFTER THE BREAK! The discussions of the Peninsula Area business that needs to be voted on happens after the break and your voice and vote are critical to the process and can affect the outcome. You can also take notes during this time of anything you think your group might be interested in.
What is your role as a GSR at the ASC?
Five of the most important things that you do as a GSR are…
1. Participate in the meeting
Your group’s voice is one of the most important things you bring to the ASC meeting. Please stay for the entire meeting and stay involved. Remember, you are the foundation of the service structure!
2. Picking up your group’s literature
If you came with a LITERATURE ORDER FORM today that has been filled out by your group, then you turn it in to the literature rep in the literature room for your order to be filled. If you didn’t bring a form and need one, you can get one in the literature room. Later during the meeting your name will be called to come pay for your order and pick it up. It is very important that you stay after picking up you literature because your voice is one of the most important things that you brought with you to the meeting today. Make sure to leave the meeting today with one blank literature form for your group to fill out at your next business meeting.
3. Taking notes to bring back to your group
In the orientation packet is a GSR REPORT FORM. You can use this form to take notes during the ASC meeting. It is formatted so that the sections follow along with the agenda of the meeting. Forms will be available on the back counter at each meeting.
4. Make donations to the ASC from your group.
If your group has directed you to make a donation to the ASC, you do so at the break after you pick up your literature. You take you donation to the ASC Treasurer and they will give you a receipt for the donation to take back to your group’s treasurer.
5. Pick up flyers and schedules
On the back counter are all the flyers of upcoming events and a box of current schedules. If there is a large stack of flyers, it is OK to take more than one. If there is only one, write the information down so the next GSR will be able to get the information to their group. Only take one bundle of schedules. If you need more, wait till the end of the meeting and take some if there are any more left. All flyer information and the latest meetings should also be on the peninsulana.org website.
What is your role as a GSR at your group?
- These are some suggestions of how to present the information you picked up at the ASC to your group.
Soon after the ASC meeting, you should take the time to prepare how you will deliver the information to your group. An important thing to remember is that not all of the information needs to be reported at your next group’s recovery meeting. You can break it up over the four weeks that you will give reports. It is suggested that your group supply a 3-ring binder where all ASC information is kept for you members to look through if they are interested.
There are items that should be announced every week such as…
Upcoming events in the Peninsula Area and abroad
Open service positions on the Area’s Subcommittees
Passing around volunteer sheets for members to sign up for service
Any other item that was specifically asked to be announced
Items that can be reported throughout the month…
Content of the Regional Committee Member Report about Regional and World news
Meetings that need support (from the schedule you used to make notes)
ASC discussions from Open Forum
At your group’s business meeting, you should ask if there is anything that your group would like to bring to the ASC. As the 2nd concept states, “The final responsibility and authority for NA services rests with the NA groups.” That means that the groups give direction to the ASC, not the other way around.