JARS v50n4 - From the President

From the President
Herbert A. Spady
Salem, Oregon

This issue marks the two-year anniversary of the last survey submitted to the membership by our Long Range Planning Committee. The response to the survey did not provide a statistically valid result. As a consequence, no conclusions to provide a basis for action by the Board were available.
However, as part of that survey the responding members were provided with an opportunity to make spontaneous comments about the Society and the chapters. Many of the comments were complimentary and constructive, but several were very disturbing to me:
"The most involved members of a chapter tend to make a closed group..."
"The ARS is they who keep raising dues and promoting themselves in the Journal."
"Our chapter leadership does not include the members, lacks enthusiasm, has an 'I don't care' attitude."
"The old-timers insist on their way or no way at all in our chapter."
"My chapter seems like an exclusive men's club."
"My chapter seems like a closed group open to professionals and very advanced amateurs."
These observations may not be accurate, but they do document a definite perception by some of our members that the leadership is not listening to them and does not provide the service or support that they desire. At every level of the Society we must strive to dispel this perception by being an open and friendly organization.
On the other hand, the disenchantment of some of our members may be of their own doing. I do not know of any chapters that are not begging for volunteers to carry on their activities. The way to become one of the "in" group is to volunteer and participate. If you do, you soon find that you are overwhelmed with responsibilities and activities.
I have seldom heard any bad ideas expressed regarding what the Society or what a chapter should do. However, some of the recommendations have been made before and found to be unworkable. Many very good ideas are beyond the financial or volunteer resources of the Society or chapter. Your Society is constantly presented with very good and expensive ideas about what we should do. At the same time we receive the message that we should not increase dues. Inflation itself requires periodic dues increases. The basic fact is that we can not indulge in expensive programs and not have additional income from some source. It is the old adage, "You can not have your cake and eat it too."
If you are a dissatisfied member of this organization, consult with your leadership on both the chapter and Society level and find out why things are not the way you would like or make suggestions as to how they might be changed to be more satisfactory to you. At the same time realize that it may not be possible to implement your ideas.