Mailings, mass emails and social media are great resources, but nothing comes close to the effectiveness of face-to-face outreach. The more one on one contact the better. People, especially those who traditionally aren’t attendees of young peoples conferences respond well when we take the time to have a conversation and explain what WACYPAA is all about. The first outreach job is for the host committee elections. It is important that everybody knows about the elections so that your committee is comprised of people from all over you community.
Research the dates for all the young peoples and large scale AA events in the western area and make sure someone is at each event doing outreach. It is imperative to make your host committee a visible presence at all of the young peoples events throughout the year. Contact these conference host committees and inquire about setting up an outreach table for the weekend. If you absolutely cannot get anyone on the host committee to an important event, try to call someone in the area do outreach. This is an area where advisory council members and delegates are extremely useful. Even if we can’t make it we are sure to know someone who can. Also remember that WACYPAA is especially concerned with outreaching communities that have previously been overlooked. So Spanish-speaking conferences, GLBTQ conventions, Native American conferences/powwows and rural area round ups are prime WACYPAA outreach opportunities. On that note you will want to find Native American, Spanish-speaking community, GLBTQ, etc… outreach liaisons. These people head up the outreach in all of these areas and are also responsible to the program chair for finding diverse speakers.
This kind of outreach is difficult and at times uncomfortable because you are out of your element, but it is important. Almost 1/3 of our area is Spanish-speaking. When perplexed call on the advisory council for help. We have Native American and a Spanish-speaking liaisons on advisory council who can help you in these areas. Because of the challenges you face it is important to begin outreaching these communities right away. Approach these communities with humility and ask for their help with the conference. People respond better when approached this way. The reason we outreach these communities is to improve the face of WACYPAA by making it better and more diverse. We are not here to improve anyone else’s AA; it doesn’t need improvement. We are not trying to save anyone, just to include them.
You can utilize the various WACYPAA bid committees to help you outreach. It is mutually beneficial to work together. It strengthens their bids and helps your outreach, plus they are as jazzed about the WAC as you are so you can count on them. Plan events with them and have members speak at the events and do outreach. These events can be fundraisers as well as outreach trips. Try to pre-register as many folks as possible. A good way to encourage pre-registration is by offering free admittance to these events if people pre-register. If people say they wont pre-register a good tactic is to encourage them to register for a newcomer. Say if you don’t show up we can give the registration to a newcomer.
2/3 of the attendees at the conference will be locals. That being said, everyone in your local area should know about WACYPAA. At the meeting you attend regularly they should be groaning when they hear another WACYPAA announcement. They should know your pitch by heart. And you should be attending meetings you normally wouldn’t. The entire area should know exactly when, where and what WACYPAA is all about. Ask people in your announcement to make copies of the fliers and to announce the conference at meetings they attend.
Finally, try to have fun. This is an amazing journey and when you realize just what an impact your work had it will overwhelm them. Remember you are making a powerful experience for a lot of people. Have a good time. You will travel a lot and meet many new people. Don’t forget the primary purpose and your aim will be true. Have a good year and see you next year at the WAC.
Yours in love and service,
The W.A.C.Y.P.A.A. Advisory Council