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ABOUT OUR SERVICE STRUCTURE

The group conscience for the conference, and for the other DA and BDA recovery events and services we offer (see hopefordebtors.org and bdaworkshops.org), is held by our steering committee. Our leadership also includes Step guides, and the services provided by our conference participants during our workshops — hosts, guest speakers, serenity setters, timekeepers, and share shepherds — are vital to our success at practicing our threefold purpose.

In general, we ask that all service volunteers be solvent, both at the time they volunteer and when they serve. This is to put first things first: solvency first, Steps second, everything else third or later ... We also ask all volunteers to read this page and our orientation document, both in full, and agree to the details provided before volunteering to be of service in our workshops.

Please note that the leader of our steering committee serves as our service coordinator, tech coordinator, and share shepherd for most if not all workshops and is our default moderator for related conference activities. We receive commitments from other service volunteers every other month, in one-month service commitments, usually during the workshops, always in full transparency. We recommend service for solvent newcomers.  

If any volunteer needs to take a week off or changes their mind about their commitment, we ask them to contact our service coordinator, and then the coordinator will arrange for substitution or refill their service spots. 

We find depth of recovery in the structure and consistency of our workshops. No chaos or drama, please, either in the workshops or between them, perhaps especially by text and email. No drama or disruptions by chat either, please.

Qualifications for and services by our steering committee:

These members have been solvent for at least three years (sometimes longer), have taken the Steps using the conference materials at least once, have guided at least two other solvent debtors through the Steps using the conference materials, have submitted at least three surveys, attended at least three wrap-up sessions, and are registered for and participating in the current conference cycle. Our steering committee is our primary leadership.

 

These members lead us in maintaining our unity and common welfare (Tradition 1),  following our group conscience decisions as an expression of our Higher Power's will for us (Tradition 2), and protecting our singleness of purpose (Tradition 3). We practice all of our 36 principles, 24 tools, and 12 promises to the best of our ability, and we have found these first three Traditions especially imperative to the well-being of the conference and its participants.

The steering committee makes the decisions for our events and services, unless there is a change made during a conference cycle that is a change from what we had told participants when they registered. (We have taken two decisions to the participant group over the past three years.) In practice of Tradition 9, most of our decisions are initiated by participant responses to our surveys. We are responsible to those we serve, and those we serve are those recovering debtors who complete what they start.

The trusted servants on our steering committee have no titles; they're just members among members. But they do hold responsibility for a number of different tasks for our conferences and steering committee, and all serve as leaders in our virtual BDA community.

 

Our committee leader provides services including: facilitation of our group conscience; treasury and registration; service coordination; technology coordination, including website updates and constant contact messaging; creation and revision of all written materials and templates for our events; share shepherding during our Saturday workshops; moderation of Fellowship Drop-in and often of After Party; leadership of some of our Sunday recovery events plus participation in all of them; and distribution, collection, collating, and reporting of end-of-conference surveys.

Qualifications for and services by our Step guides:

These members have been solvent for at least four months (sometimes much longer), have taken the Steps using the conference materials at least once, are willing to guide at least one other solvent debtor through the Steps using the conference materials, have submitted at least one survey, and are registered for and participating in the current conference cycle. Our Step guides are our secondary leadership, specifically leading our fellows into solvency and into recovery through the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions of DA and BDA, along with the DA and BDA tools, promises, and Concepts.

These members are eligible to perform any service role available in our workshops, perhaps especially host and guest speaker.

 

Qualifications for and services by our workshop hosts:

Both our steering committee and Step guides are qualified to serve as workshop hosts. See qualifications for those roles above. 

Our hosts are responsible to lead us into two back-to-back workshops (i.e. parts 1 and 2 of the Ones, see our overview page for lots more details, including our conference materials for the referenced Ones). Hosts prepare with our guest speakers, during the week before workshops they'll lead, related to our scheduled topics, and provide whatever support our speakers need. Hosts also open the workshops, turn the audio recording on and off, speak first for 15 minutes, answer questions for 10 minutes, and moderate as the guest speaker speaks and then answers questions. The host is asked to share for two minutes as a wrap-up of their participation and leadership near the end of the workshop. (Tech duties in zoom — starting and stopping the audio recording and lowering raised hands — can be provided by the tech person on our steering committee if desired.) Hosts have the option of leading After Party for one hour after workshops they've led, if they are available and willing.

Hosts have the "right of decision" (Concept 3) for many parts of individual workshops if they see opportunity to provide the best possible experience for our participants. However, starting late is not an option. For our purposes, the best workshops start on time, end on time, and we stay focused on the DA and BDA program of recovery from compulsive debting, both personally and in our businesses.

Qualifications for and services by our guest speakers:

Both our steering committee and Step guides are qualified to serve as guest speakers, as are any other conference participants who: 

Are solvent, both at the time they commit to share and at the time they do share

Have already taken the Step (in DA or BDA) that they'll be sharing on using the workshop materials, or is taking the Step in the conference at the time they share

Are willing to prepare with the conference host for 20-30 minutes each week

Are available and willing to share and answer questions on the audio recording

Our guest speakers are responsible to share with us in two back-to-back workshops (i.e. parts 1 and 2 of the Ones, see our overview page for lots more details, including our conference materials for the referenced Ones). Guest speakers prepare with our hosts, during the weeks before workshops when they'll share, related to our scheduled topics. Guest speakers speak second for 15 minutes and answer questions for 10 minutes. The guest speaker is asked to share for two minutes as a wrap-up of their participation near the end of the workshop. (If there are three or fewer questions during Q&A, the guest speaker may be the recipient of a "Love Fest." So much fun!)

Qualifications for and services by our serenity setters:

We ask that all service volunteers be solvent, both at the time they volunteer and when they serve. Excellent reading skills and a pleasant voice are helpful.

Serenity setters read their parts of the script slowly, clearly, calmly. We've set plenty of time aside for the opening reading. Although we sometimes rush the closing, you're welcome to remain serene and calm as you read.

Our service coordinator prepares our unique weekly scripts, usually two at a time, and provides them to our host, guest speaker, serenity setter, and share shepherd.

Qualifications for and services by our timekeepers:

We ask that all service volunteers be solvent, both at the time they volunteer and when they serve. Excellent listening skills and attention to detail are helpful.

For the workshops, the reason we have a timekeeper is so that the rest of us, especially the person who's speaking or sharing, doesn't need to watch the clock, which some of us find quite distracting. Instead they can just do their service, and for the rest of us, we can just relax. We think that's important.
 

We request that our timekeepers not use the visible zoom timer app, and we ask that timekeepers speak up to give us time warnings. Please do not let your timer go off. No hand signals or other signage, please, just voice warnings. Here is the timekeeper position description we've created for our workshops:

 

We ask timekeepers to see themselves as doing service for the speaker or sharer, simply giving the time passed with as little disruption and distraction and interruption as possible. For instance, no need to say the speakers' or sharers' names. They know their names. What they need to know is how much time has passed since they started talking. Timekeeping is a low visibility, no attention-seeking service.

 

Because we've had problems with takeover personalities in the past, we do not provide scripts to timekeepers. Instead we ask that our timekeepers follow the time requests made by our hosts, guest speakers, and share shepherds. Hosts will ask for confirmation of time warnings. We're odd: we ask our timekeepers to tell us how much time has passed, not how much time we have left.

Qualifications for and services by our share shepherds:

This role is almost always fulfilled by the leader of the steering committee, serving as leader for the second half of our workshops each week. When substitution is necessary, the role is filled by other steering committee members.

We, via the share shepherd, invite people to share as described in our unique weekly scripts. If no hands are raised, we ask the share shepherd to immediately begin calling on participants by name to share.

While it's okay to remind participants that they're welcome to raise their hands, we don't beg anyone to share, and we don't sit in silence.

If the share shepherd calls on someone, and then there's a raised hand, we go forward with the share shepherd's call then come back to the sharing volunteer.

 

No whining, begging, or guilt trips, please.


We ask that the share shepherd stay as close as possible to the time periods listed under green highlights in each weekly script.

While it's appealing to have full "round robins" on every topic, we will rarely have that opportunity. On alternating weeks, there are much higher priorities placed on the Step and the Promise, respectively, and time will be allocated accordingly in each script.


We ask the share shepherd to keep track of folks who have shared (or passed) and let us know when everyone has shared (or passed) once, and we're moving on to second shares.

Anyone who volunteers for a second share before the share shepherd has opened second sharing should be asked to wait and their hand should be lowered.

We encourage the share shepherd to share on one of our topics each week.


We ask the share shepherd to stay in their shepherding role and to avoid crosstalk.

 

At the end of each share, we ask the share shepherd to thank every sharer but to avoid any other comments on their shares.

 

We, the steering committee, like the sharing to go quickly and smoothly in every workshop. It's taken us years to get to the engagement we currently experience, in the way that we currently experience it. We do not want to see the sharing periods changed to match the personality or preferences of the share shepherd. 

This is not a sacred space, and we do not want the sharing slowed down or made more solemn or "serene" or "spiritual." Keep it moving, productive, and active, please.


Bottomline, this is not an easy service role. The service is to our participants while adhering to the guidance of our steering committee keeping on script, on topic, and on time which has been developed over years of providing conference service.
 

In all cases, thank you for your service!

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