JARS v38n2 - What To Be or Not To Be - That is the Question

What To Be or Not To Be - That is the Question
Harold Greer, Eugene, OR

It is now time in the life of our young organization to take a look at the goals and reasons we exist. Our bylaws say "the purpose of this society is the encouragement of the culture of rhododendrons, including azaleas, and the increase of the general understanding of and interest in all aspects of these plants". True enough, but along with this goes our desire to be a meeting place for all those who want to "chew the rag," whether it be in person or by letter, regarding our favorite plants.
We are both a technical and practical society made up of a diverse group of people from professionals to amateurs; that is what we should be and what we want to be. Let's take time to take a look at ourselves, maybe pat ourselves on the back a little, and perhaps we will find at the same time that we should kick ourselves into improvement. One of our best points is our journal. For the size of our organization it is superb and improving with every issue. We can thank our editor for the time he spends to accomplish this but we should also thank ourselves because most of the articles in it come from us. But while we are patting our backs for our good job, let us remember that sometimes we have said that it does not have some of the articles we want to see. Well, don't sit there and blame someone else for that, get busy and send in an article. Many of us have much to offer if we will just spend a little time writing. We must keep our journal the best, and spend what is necessary to keep it that way including being willing to increase the amount of color we print. The journal is our major contact to further our favorite plant, the Rhododendron.
We provide an excellent seed exchange and we certainly have to thank those immediately involved with distribution of the seed; but remember, the seed comes from us! Keep up the good work!
Are you a hybridizer and need some particular pollen? There is the pollen exchange. How about the slide library? It's good, but it could use some more programs. Better get busy you photographers!
Our local chapters provide a terrific opportunity for us to get together and learn more about our plants and at the same time give us an excellent chance to socialize with some of the best people on earth. Through our local chapter plant sales we have a chance to obtain some new plants not otherwise available and sometimes at reduced prices. Here again we get in proportion to what we give in our time and talents.
Then there is the "Bed & Breakfast" program, a chance to stay with someone who has interest in your favorite plant while at the same time helping the society and getting a reduced rate for the lodging.
How about our flower shows and the enjoyable and educational national conferences held each spring and also the excellent fall regional conferences which are now so popular. But again, you don't get anything out of these conferences if you don't attend; so be more active, you'll enjoy it.
What should we be willing to pay for all of this? The 1984 dues are only $15.00 of which the national gets only $10.00. The journal costs about that amount to produce. This does not include other necessary administrative expenses so that at this time it costs national more per member than each member is paying. It seems that each member should pay his own way. In comparison to the cost of joining other societies and considering the publications and services they provide, we can certainly feel that our dues are a steal. Most magazines that are paid for primarily by advertising, cost more than that. Of course the necessity to raise the dues in 1985 has arisen, and some have expressed fears that raising dues will lose members. But certainly this has not been the case in the past. We are at an all time high in membership and are growing constantly. It is up to each and every one of us to spread the word and help increase membership. Just think what would happen if each of us could bring in just one new member!
We have grown now to the point that we must be willing to pay our executive secretary who is our professional administrator a fair wage to see that the society rolls along smoothly. After all, keeping track of 51 chapters and over 5000 members is not a part time job! The same goes for our editor, getting out a journal the size of ours does not happen by itself!
So remember, we have an excellent society, but there is lots of room to continue to improve. Let's get together and make the next year our best year. We've got something to tell the world about, the Rhododendron (in our opinion THE plant of the plant kingdom), and something to be proud of, our Society, a group of people who are the best people in the world!