When I first started sponsoring Alateen in 1983 it was a place where adults could give back to the youth of their village.  It is still that way even after 31 years.  When my wife and I moved to Oregon in 2002 there were only a few meetings in Oregon for teens.  Nine to be exact.  There were no meetings in Portland, but a few in the surrounding suburbs.  It seemed like it was sort of a lost cause. There were many people who cared about it but little seemed to be happening.  I had stopped sponsoring, but my wife tirelessly continued.  She took over a teen meeting in a nearby town and had one teen (actually she was 10) who faithfully attended for two years! Then something happened.

I don't know exactly what, but it seemed to center around my wife's meeting.  Don't quote me though because it could have been a lot of things.  I know this - it wasn't me.  Suddenly the teens started expressing interest.  More kids started showing up.  It wasn't uncommon for my wife to have 15 or 20 in a meeting.  Other adults seems excited too and more wanted to start meetings so that they could sponsor too.  Then my wife and some other Sponsors took a number of teens to a conference in a neighboring state.  The teens came back and wanted to have a conference of their own!  They had a business meeting (that's right - the teens had a business meeting) and decided to have a conference.

Here we are - three years later and their 3rd annual conference just completed with over 60 in attendance - mostly teens!  They have workshops, art sessions, free time, meetings with speakers and discussion, a talent show, and slide show. These are kids from all walks of life, gender, color, creed, and class.  They all come together and talk about their common problem: alcoholism in a relative for friend.  And here they find hope.  They find that they aren't alone and in a world full of parents that are distracted by smartphones, two jobs, and low pay that can mean the difference between life and death.  I know - because kids who don't find recovery find the bottle, the needle, they find insanity, and they find suicide.

I am really excited that Alateen continues to grow in Oregon. Congratulations to the Oregon Alateens and their Conference.  It has been an honor to serve you.  May you continue for many years to come.