The Central Florida Intergroup Appreciation Banquet, held at the Delta Court of Flags on May 18, 1990, was by any standard an unqualified success. Preparation for that banquet really started years and years ago, when our Intergroup first sponsored such an event.
It was California Mary who first suggested we put on an affair where we could all dress up, and show our appreciation by donating a little extra to Intergroup in addition to paying for our meal and the facility. A guest speaker would be the icing on the cake. You can guess the reaction of the AA community—similar to today’s reaction when transplants tell us how they did things where they came from!
Mary was a determined person. She would not let a little resistance stand in the way. Resistance did come, and soon. It was the place that bothered some of our members—Lord Chumblies Pub. How could we put on a respectable AA function in a pub? Were we not trying to get away from booze and the like? Actually, the banquet was held upstairs in the banquet hall, away from any drinking influence. Our speaker was Sandy B. The banquet was a tremendous success, and Marie, our office administrator, received a standing ovation in appreciation of her Intergroup service.
Since that first banquet, our locations have varied from the main ballroom of the Contemporary Hotel at Walt Disney World to Sea World, where we served and entertained at a Luau, and to a hotel where we went broke. The hotel, as is normal, wanted a count of the guests three days in advance of the banquet. As was normal for us, we fudged, selling tickets ‘til the end, even at the door. This time the expected purchase of tickets at the door did not materialize. In the end, we had to pay the hotel an extra $600. Quite a blow, since we were just surviving month to month. It was then learned that indeed there was a nest egg account. Heretofore, a $1400 bank account had not been disclosed to the delegates or members as a whole, because “they would not contribute if they knew of this prudent reserve.” This secrecy did not set well with the membership.
The shock, the loss of $600, and the realization that we were rocking along without much real concern for our finances spurred our AA community into action. Forgotten were our differences. In the next few years, Intergroup accumulated a six months prudent reserve. The more than $10,000 was attained by an increase in group donations, putting on a spaghetti dinner, organizing a flea market, and a highly successful show, the “Can Do Review.” Also, profit was received from putting on a State Convention.
Speakers at past appreciation banquets varied from a Navy Lieutenant Commander whose name no one seems to remember to Father Joe M., whom everyone remembers. Joe P. who spoke to us last month was inspiring, knowledgeable of the AA program, keeping all of us riveted to our seats and feeling the sense of appreciation.
The goal for this appreciation banquet was to sell 500 tickets. Five hundred were sold. The three-day cutoff for ticket sales was enforced. Fortunately, some who bought tickets early were not able to attend and we were able to sell their tickets to latecomers. No one was turned away. Some groups donated tickets for those who could not afford to buy them. This was handled with the utmost discretion. Only our trusted administrator knows who they were. One day the recipients of these tickets may be in a position to do the same for another person.
When the Appreciation Banquet Committee was recognized one by one, each received an ovation, as were the outgoing members who served on the Steering Committee. A standing ovation greeted Basia H., who served terms as secretary, vice chairperson, chairperson, and two years as trustee to the Steering Committee. Finally, Jack D., the Banquet Chairman, and “Fast Jack,” assistant (who will chair the next banquet), heard from the audience an applause of genuine appreciation.
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