“In the Beginning”
The North Scottsdale Fellowship Club
During the months of late 1984 and early 1985, several AA members felt there was a need in northern Scottsdale for something similar to the Thomas Road Alanon Club. Many new-comers were appearing; and facilities at some meeting locations were so crowded that sharing was limited. AA was and is supposed to be a program of attraction rather than promotion… and prime candidates for the program were not finding it attractive. Several informal discussions took place during the “meetings after the meetings”. The original organizers, many of whom attended the “GO FOR IT – II” meeting, were aware of some of the difficulties then being encountered by other Alano clubs… but were also aware of the tradition of not associating AA, as such, with other organizations or institutions.
On a Sunday afternoon in February, 1985, following one of the Hogan’s Heros meetings… a few AA’s got together and formed the first board of directors for the North Scottsdale Fellowship Club… as follows: President, Charley P; Vice-president, Felicia M; Secretary, Phil T; and Treasurer Laurie A. A few others were chosen to serve as members of the board without titles. The eastern portion of the current club facilities was available, with space for about 50 to 60 people. The western portion was occupied by a women’s exercise facility… and the space across the walkway was then occupied by the a restaurant – Alfredo’s. Gene C. negotiated a lease, which was several AA’s pledged monthly contributions, in addition to subscribing for annual memberships. At the outset, the club had a predictable income of about $1,000.00 per month. In the early months, cash flow was a difficult problem… but various AA members, from grateful hearts, made many anonymous contributions of cash and furnishings to help carry the message.
The North Scottsdale Fellowship Club was registered with the State of Arizona as a non-profit organization. The original by-laws provided for the club to be operated in accordance with the Traditions and Principles of the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. Those principles included a provision for periodic rotation of club officials. After a brief period of operation, there had been many new membership subscriptions and original founders felt it was proper for them to hold a regular election of officers to either confirm or replace the original board. The first elected president was J. Ray McCawley; other members of the board included Gene C., Jeanne S., Phil T., Don B., Paul T., Jan D’M… and others.
It can be said truthfully that in those early days, there was a feeling… and atmosphere… of hope, love, recovery, safety and just plain fellowship at North Scottsdale which reflected the traditions of AA as well as the concepts of service.
The first meeting at the new facility was the “GO FOR IT – II” group, which was followed shortly by the “NOONERS”. Within the first two months, Ed M. & Sharon S. started the 6 PM TIME-OUT group. Ed M. also installed the first sound system for the club. The first Al-Anon meetings were started by Kathy T.
The groups were all independent; and each pridefully performed its primary purpose of carrying the message, as well as honoring its legacy of service. Then…as now…the Nooners Group and the 6 PM Time-out Group were truly blessed with the privilege of showing the way for new-comers, many of whom attended their first AA meetings at the meetings of these groups. At one time there was consideration of establishing a North Scottsdale Intergroup Office, to coordinate groups’ activities and interest. However, such a formalized approach was not necessary…and will never be as long as the stewards of the club and the trusted servants of the groups seek ways to work in harmony.
The first year saw the beginning of many events and activities which have since become traditional. The first pot-luck supper was held in late April, 1985. Within a few months, these pot-lucks were scheduled for the last Saturday of each month, and the AA feature of the evening was the observance of AA birthdays. The first Thanksgiving dinner, the first Christmas dinner, and the first New Year’s Even party and dance were all held in 1985. The club first opened its doors in March of 1985, the first Anniversary celebration was held in March of 1986, eleven months after the first pot-luck supper…and March has become the traditional month for observing the club’s Anniversary. Although only 23 people attended the first pot-luck, the popularity of this activity grew rapidly…the eighteenth pot-luck / birthday night party was attended by 107 people. At the end of five years, one old-timer reported that during those five years, 517 people had celebrated one-year birthdays at the club’s birthday nights. The first Christmas event featuring fellowship, food and hot coffee, offered a place of warmth and welcome for 41 people over a two day period.
The North Scottsdale Fellowship Club was not and is not part of AA…merely affiliated. The survival of the club is directly dependent upon its being operated in adherence to the integrity of the groups’ conscience and the traditions of self-support and rotation. It’s simple: problems of money, property and prestige always divert alcoholics from their primary purposes…to stay sober and carry the message. The original founders hope and believe that future heirs to the privilege of being trusted servants will never forget what AA is all about; and will always keep the traditions, the principles and the concepts of service foremost in their deliberations; and that the North Scottsdale Fellowship Club will continue to serve as a warm and welcoming host to travelers on the trudge-way to sobriety…to happiness…to joy…to freedom!