From The President
With summer coming to a conclusion and the cooler fall weather coming to harden off this year's new growth, it seems rather out of place to have these occasional blooms on the varieties which had their day in April and May. But, several varieties which are not known as fall bloomers are putting forth sporadic blooms in our garden - not an unwelcome sight but with some concern as to whether that impacts what we will see from those plants next spring! An anomaly seems to be the occurrence of doubles on those sporadic blooms when the plant is not regularly a double blossom variety—again, I'm not complaining just commenting!
During the summer, your Executive Committee has taken actions to replace computers for both the Executive Director and Journal Editor. Prior Boards have recognized the "eventual replacement requirement" and identified reserves which partially cover these items. But, the continued reserving of funds for future equipment replacements must be a part of our financial management to support our staff's requirements on a timely basis without "declaring a crisis" when these "planned obsolescence" occur.
With the new membership cycle underway, another element of the fiscal responsibility on behalf of the chapters is the remittance of dues moneys as renewals are received/forwarded to the ARS Office.
The ARS operates/and accounts on a cash basis and is not in the business of being a banker for chapters. We have instructed the Executive Director to keep the "moneys owed to chapters as well as moneys owed to ARS by chapters" to a minimum - this avoids surprises to chapters as officers change and "the baton doesn't always come along." The majority of chapters are good at this, but we do have some problems which need monitoring.
We have some exciting gatherings upcoming which should provide ample opportunities for our members to interact with our diverse membership and cultivate new friendships in the course of the events.
First: The Western Regional will have concluded by the date of this publication (21-23 September) - their programs promised an extensive listing of educational forums and outstanding speakers. Second: The Eastern Regional including the Board of Directors' meeting is being held in an area which has not been visited by this organization but which offers new experiences in the North Central part of the U.S. Third: The 2008 Convention in Tulsa, Oklahoma, will be an eye opener to those of us who envision that state in the historical "dust bowl" history. The area of the convention is drastically (and commendably) a different geographical setting and the opportunities to enjoy a diversity of venues/speakers/programs promised to be an outstanding event. Fourth: The Scottish Rhododendron Society is celebrating its silver jubilee 7 May through 11 May in Edinburgh, Scotland. Fifth: The Western Regional including the Board meeting will be held in Hawaii 25 -28 September. Any who attended the previous meeting in Hawaii can attest to the wonderful hospitality and exhilarating opportunities to become familiar with the vireya group of our genus in a most hospitable setting. AND should you tire of the Northern Hemisphere's fall/winter weather, consider the Australia and New Zealand conferences in October - they are most enticing and the attendees will give you a wonderful experience/introduction to their successes in growing our genus!!
The Society's financial position continues to be sound - even though there is a slight negative balance in the current budget plan. Our challenge is to make that disappear by finding more cost effective ways of conducting the business of the ARS. It might give some solace to know that even the venerable American Rose Society is lamenting the cost of running an organization with diminishing memberships. That certainly is a shared situation and one which your BOD will be addressing in this term - how do we reach more of the population and interest them in growing/experiencing rhododendrons when we have so many other ways for them to spend their time and money? Shocking as it might first appear, an advertising thrust may be able to target specific potential audiences! Enjoy your gardens and conferences which you can attend and KEEP PROMOTING RHODODENDRONS!