Are YPAA Groups Legitimate AA?

During the group and online forum discussions of the Conference topics, the question came up if Young People in Alcoholics Anonymous (YPAA) groups were, for lack of a better word, “legitimate” AA groups.

To the legitimacy of ICYPAA and YPAA groups, the simplest answer is that YPAA and ICYPA are a part of Alcoholics Anonymous. They never exclude anyone who has a desire to stop drinking.

Furthermore, you can contact the Archives at AA World Services to get a copy of the letter from Bill W. to the ICYPAA convention, or the letter of March 1991 from the General Service Board. In the latter, the General Service Staff responds to a similar query, “To be as specific as I can be, David, the General Service Board and the General Service Office recognize young peoples groups and ICYPAA as part of Alcoholics Anonymous.”

But anyone familiar with the worldwide structure of Alcoholics Anonymous would know that AAWS applies to the USA and Canada. Other countries and continents follow the service structure where they are geographically aligned. As such YPAA groups in Sweden would follow GSO Sweden’s guidelines, in Malta they would follow GSO Malta, and for the groups and intergroups of the Continental European Region – and the other 15 Regions of AA GB – those follow the service structure and guidelines of Alcoholics Anonymous Great Britain.

There are young peoples groups listed in our Where To Find that have been registered according to the guidelines of AA GB. Last fall, LONDYPAA put on a workshop funded by London Region North to discuss whether AA in the London is carrying the message to young people and how they could do it better, which was put together following the AA GB guidelines. So you see, Young People in Alcoholics Anonymous, in general, follow AA’s Traditions and Concepts, as well as the GSO Guidelines applicable for their area.

You can read about the workshop in London on the Continental European Region’s website under the tab ‘Young People’ at the very bottom of that page. If you want a copy of the 1991 letter from the General Service Board of AA World Services you can email the Archives at AA in New York.  Or email me directly at and I can pass it on to you. Alternatively you can access it online here.


Editor’s note: this article has been published in accordance with our ArenA Editorial Policy.


Latest Updated meetings

Are you an alcoholic?

To help you decide whether you might have a problem with drinking, we’ve prepared these 12 questions.

Go to 12 Questions

How did you get sober?

Latest Arena Articles

Love and Step 8

Editor’s note: Fellows share their experience with Step 8 and the spiritual principle of Love.    We make amends when

Read More »