From the Executive Director
Where did that year go! A great convention in Vancouver marked the beginning of a new challenge for me and a new executive director for you. The beautiful spirit of the ARS made the transition a pleasurable experience..
Our previous database had served us well but could not renew your membership for the year 2000. Other electronic needs demanded immediate and radical changes. Today the system is nearly complete, but we do anticipate another problem in the year 9999. As we worked "live" with a system under construction, our dedicated membership chairmen and treasurers saw a different financial report every week for three months and, behind the scenes, made suggestions and helped correct many glitches. When you see these good people, let them know that you're aware of the enormous amount of work they perform on behalf of your chapter. When it was time to send out renewal notices, the office was right on schedule, and the United Parcel Service also had plans. Our first major mailing went out the day UPS went on strike. By September 1 many very conscientious membership chairmen were getting very upset. I did the right thing and left the country for three weeks (also referred to as a previous commitment).
New membership brochures and applications are now available. If you know of someone who is interested in membership, have your chapter provide them with a brochure and free journal, or you can send the information to this office and I will send an "inquiry packet."
At my first board meeting at Allentown, I was impressed by the professional approach of our dedicated board, all volunteering time and a variety of skills which culminate in the success of our mission. President Gehnrich conducted the meeting with no less skill than a top corporate manager, and officers and directors had each performed their tasks with equal commitment.
Beginning with this issue you will find hard-to-find book offerings exclusively for our members. If you have a rhododendron-related favorite, and an available source for the book, I'd like to hear from you, with a review of why the book is special for our members. Be sure and let me know the publisher's name.
Some of our members are very busy debating what we should call ourselves. Just as the Royal Horticultural Society has international headquarters in England, the American Rhododendron Society has international headquarters in California. We are indeed a very international organization, and the "N" word, or "National" reference, may no longer identify the global magnitude of the ARS. This is the Office of the ARS (OARS), serving all of North America and nations abroad. Some members call headquarters Rhody Central (or should it be Rhodo Central). What do you think?
The ARS is the largest organization on the planet which serves the genus Rhododendron exclusively. The education, research, beauty and friendship you provide truly make this a better world to live in. Thank you all for your wisdom and good humor as this first year comes to an end. And thank you for the privilege of being your executive director. If there's anything I can do to help YOU spread the word about the beautiful world of the ARS, that's why I'm here.
Office of the American Rhododendron Society "OARS - Rowing for You!"