Over the years I've given a lot of thought about coordinators. I've done a lot of coordinating and when I first became one, I was very proud because I knew from my personal experience how important a coordinator is to the overall success of a support group. I also remember feeling not very worthy of the job and relied heavily on those who were there before me to help me. Back then I knew very little about a computer and remember having to ask many, many questions. We didn't have an automated listserve as we do now ... but still there was a need to file and keep a manual mailing list and things like that. I didn't know how to copy and paste or save a file to my hard drive. I didn't even know what a hard drive was.

This section of our website came about because I think our administrators and division chairs have to work too hard to get coordinators to do their job. They expect to have to recruit, appoint, train and supervise ... but it seems that there should be a lot more self-starting than there is. It's seems that far too many quit on the spot after a short time which makes all the word that goes into the recruiting, training and supervising time wasted. To start over and over and over again is demoralizing and I worry about those who give so much resigning because of it.

I would like to see us continue using individual coordinators for each of the Recovery support groups. An alternative would be for Division Heads to do it with the thought in mind that administrating a group of loops would actually take up less time than recruiting, training and supervising individual coordinators. Each coordinator needs to approach the job just as he/she would if it were a salaried position in a company. I know after you spend all the time you do training a coordinator, it is demoralizing to see them leave after only a few weeks at the job. It gives one a "spinning wheels" type feeling because the only alternative when that happens is to begin again.

I want to make sure we are all on the same page about TRG Coordinators. I am setting up the COORDINATORS' page and will eventually send it to them after we have huddled and gotten everything in that section we feel it needs.

As you know, we want two Coordinators for every list we have ... this is our goal. It is important that you don't appoint someone without letting them know that they are **equal.** In other words, if one Coordinator has been there longer or is older or has more recovery or more experience, it does not make them a "Coordinator with an Assistant." They are both CoCoordinators. They are both equal.

A Coordinator can make a suggestion to one of you or to me for a second Coordinator ... but it is up to us to take it from there. In fact, a good Coordinator will always be on the lookout in his/her loop for members wanting to give service anywhere in our community.

One Coordinator does not "assign" tasks to the new Coordinator. They huddle and talk about the tasks and decide "jointly" how they would best work together. One Coordinator does not appoint the other as a Greeter or 12th Step Within or Outreach TS or whatever. They have JOINT responsibility for that. As they divide up their duties, they should be equal and one is not just a back-up for the other nor does one "run the loop." They both "run the loop." And by run, I don't mean "boss it." I mean guide it and take care of it and nurture it and make it be the best it can be.

Here are the jobs the Coordinator does and which should be discussed "between" them. It is okay if they decide they don't want to do any of them and appoint people within their loop to do them. In that event, they should notify the division chairs and administrators; but, they should announce, train, supervise and send notifications to the chairs and administrators. Only Coordinators are our concern now. The thought behind that is that if we have two conscientious coordinators, they should be very able to handle anyone else in their loop giving service.

Coordinator Responsibilities include:

  • Personal Welcome Letter to All New Members;

  • Personal Farewell Letter to All Members Who Leave;

  • Monthly Report;

  • Read the Loop Mail Daily;

  • Keep Lulls From Happening;

  • Represent their loop in the Recovery-Intergroup;

  • Assume an Administrative Role (some coordinators dump their personal problems on the loop they're in charge of. This doesn't exactly inspire the members.) Coordinators should have another loop for really personal shares.

  • Encourage members to visit their home page on the web, attend meetings, get a sponsor, be a sponsor, etc. Their sharing should be about program things.

  • Announce newcomers to the loop and handle this the way we discussed recently on the T/S list.

  • I've also noticed some coordinators think they should share everyday but I don't think this is healthy for the loop. The loop begins to expect responses from the coordinator to everything they send the loop. A loop that thrives is one where the Coordinator quietly observes and the members themselves share. In the event they don't, that is the time a Coordinator should jump into action by importing some members with strong recovery who can inspire sharing or set a topic or something.

  • A Coordinator should always be on the lookout for those who seem to have a lot to give to others by service. A simple private note from a loop coordinator to an active participant in their loop may result in more sponsors, more coordinators, more meeting leaders etc.

  • A word about the Recovery Trusted Servant's Pool. It would be a good idea to recruit monthly via ALLRECOVERY. We usually always have a new flock of Trusted Servants after one of those letters goes out. The TS Coordinator could then immediately appoint them to an open slot.

    And finally, a proposal in progress: I think the time has come to have a training program for Coordinators. Just as a new meeting leader must be trained, so should a Coordinator. The training could be nothing more than reading this website and the Recovery Guidelines and sending in a brief bio with their commital. It would be, nevertheless, a "procedure" and I think would let any new Coordinator know that they don't just walk right into the Recovery Group and take charge of a list. When the Division Chair notifies TRGAdm and the TS Coordinator that the newcomer Coordinator has "graduated," then would be the time to add them to the TS list and introduce them to everyone.

    A Coordinator is an important and serious position. It is not one to play musical chair games with, stay for a few weeks and then resign. The term is 12 months with the hope that those 12 months will turn into forever.

    ~ Mari

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