JARS v52n3 - From the President

From the President
H.C. "Bud" Gehnrich
Huntington, New York

The RSC Niagara Region Chapter certainly did themselves proud with the convention they ran in Niagara Falls, Canada. The entire affair was well run from the choice of the convention center overlooking the falls to the speakers, tours, flower show and plant sale. Not only were they well organized and efficient, but their good nature and friendliness to all was obvious and something to be emulated by all future meeting committees. Our thanks to you, Niagara, and congratulations for a job well done.

The Board of Directors, in addition to receiving and approving the reports of the directors and committee chairmen, took action on several other issues:

- Elected Timothy Walsh as treasurer to replace Gerald Nutter, who resigned during his term of office. Tim is from Eureka, California, and with a background in financial planning with Dean Witter Reynolds is well qualified to serve in this position. In addition to the usual functions of a treasurer, he will oversee the investment strategy of the Society. Welcome to the Board, Tim.

- Approved the formation of an ad hoc committee to investigate the possibility of the ARS issuing a calendar starting in the year 2001. Eleanor Philp has agreed to be the chairwoman of this committee.

- Approved a program that will permit the use of credit cards in the Office of the Executive Director. We do not contemplate eliminating the present procedure of having the chapters collect dues; this system works very well. The use of credit cards would be directed more at new members signing up on the Internet before they are chapter members, and at those living outside of the U.S. where obtaining dollars with which to pay dues can be a difficult and expensive process. Books and similar items sold by the Executive Director might be available by credit card in the future.

The directors report that the chapters are doing well, but some are having problems with declining membership. Executive Director Dee Daneri and Membership Chairman Mike Stewart are addressing this problem with a campaign that aims to increase membership to 6,000 this year. This is going to be a big job, but it is a very necessary one and everyone in the Society must join in to help make it a success. You will be hearing more of this from your chapter officers and district director.

Meanwhile our Website, www.rhododendron.org, is helping the membership drive with many new people seeing it for the first time and deciding to join our Society. They can send an application in right from the site, and then mail a check to Dee. Once everything is in place, they will be able to pay their dues by adding their credit card number. If you have not visited the site yet, do so; there are many good features available. You can access the R and A News put out by Betty Spady, many other gardening sites, ARS chapter sites and a hybridizers page - very worth while now and updates and new features being added all the time.

Finally, a request. You have all heard the expression, "That's a thankless job." Whether it's a chapter or a Society job, from the officers right to the people who run the plant sale or the flower show, who do the committee work or who put out the newsletter, someone somewhere will say it. The problem is not with the job or with the person doing it, it's with the people who never think to say "thank you." No one takes the job because of the thanks they will get, but when they do get it, it sure is appreciated. So the next time you see someone working very hard for your chapter or Society, take a moment to say "thank you." Then it won't be a thankless job. By the way, why not take on one of those jobs yourself?