The following article appeared in the October 1976 issue of THE INTERGROUPER. It had been presented at the first annual Appreciation Banquet, held September 18; the speaker was Sandy B. from Alexandria, Virginia.
INTERGROUP HISTORY AND HIGHLIGHTS
by John Van D.
Prior to March 1971, all calls to AA in the Central Florida area were handled by a commercial answering service, which in turn referred the calls to a small but devoted list of 12th steppers.
In March of 1971, delegates from the then 15 groups in the area organized what has since been known as Central Florida AA Intergroup Services. A chairman, Bill T., and a secretary-treasurer, Ed J., were elected, and the late Bill S. first volunteered and then was paid to answer the phone in a room on the second floor of the Alco-An Club on East Jackson Street. At that time there was a total of 39 12th-step volunteers, 25 men and 14 women, on the Intergroup list.
In the nine months of 1971 that calls were logged, a total of 1,105 calls were received and handled through the Intergroup Office. Regular meetings of Intergroup officers and delegates were held each month at the Alco-An Club.
A Move and New Activities
In the summer of 1972, Intergroup moved into the office building at 205 E. Jackson, the building where it. is located to this day. AA volunteers manned the office phone six days a week, and other volunteers stood by for calls relayed by T.A.S. on evenings and weekends. Institutional committees and public information committees began carrying the message to jails and hospitals, to schools, universities and civic and religious groups, and through the press and radio. In that year, 2,000 calls were logged.
In August of 1973, an AA was hired as office manager, as the number of calls rose to 3,690 during that year. In August of 1973, THE INTERGROUPER (our sterling AA journal) completed its first year of publishing. Calls to the Intergroup telephone rose steadily to 4,352 in 1974, 5,308 in 1975 and through the month of August 1976, 3,679. In six years, that’s more than 20,000 calls.
Growth in the Area
Groups and group meetings increased at an equally rapid rate. Today, Intergroup’s meetings list shows 39 AA groups, offering 84 meetings each week. Today, more than 150 men and women have volunteered for 12th-step work in the Central Florida area. Group and individual support, both in services and financially, has enabled the Intergroup to meet its responsibility under our Fifth Tradition…’’Each group has but one primary purpose, to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers…”
“I am responsible when anyone, anywhere reaches out for help. I want the hand of AA always to be there. And for that: I am responsible.”