From the Executive Director
OUR AMERICAN RHODODENDRON SOCIETY - OARS - ROWING TOGETHER! It's what we're all about.
Each autumn when you pay your dues, your chapter keeps $6. The rest is sent to the office to be dispatched in several directions. First we'll set aside $14.94 for your journal, or $17.06 for our Canadian members, and $20.62 for our overseas members (the postage makes the difference). For a basic individual membership, that means $7.06 for U.S. members, $4.94 for Canadian members, and $1.38 for overseas members must cover everything else. What's the everything else? Duplicate or lost journals cost a minimum of $1.30 to resend, and as much as $4.20 to Australia. Expenses for our pollen bank, our registrar, and other beneficial activities must be covered. Development of our all-important websites, membership pamphlets, and other tools to help our chapters grow must all come from the residue. And this is before we've paid the rent. There is nothing left to help us accomplish our mission -
the dissemination of knowledge and education about rhododendrons and azaleas.
With the help of your higher membership levels, donations, grants and restricted-use donations, we've been able to fund some important educational projects over the last eighteen months. Care Guides are available for you to keep your favorite garden center supplied. They belong to you. There's even room for you to put your chapter's stamp on the brochure. Growers and garden centers can also receive these and free hangtags. We've had several new members come in as a direct consequence of finding our hangtag on a plant.
When you open Sunset, Fine Gardening, or Horticultural Magazine this year, many issues offer a free Care Kit from the American Rhododendron Society. That gift is made possible by you as a member of a very large team working together to make a difference. The kit includes a complimentary copy of our beautiful journal, a membership brochure and application, a Care Guide, and a list of our chapter presidents, plus a letter telling the world about us. Our websites, while manned by volunteers, are your gifts as well.
Our Society is a group of seventy-three chapters, all working together for a common cause. We give and we take. When we sit back at conferences and enjoy celebrity speakers and educational programs and workshops, we're on the receiving end. The programs at the ARS Annual Convention in Eugene, costing a total of $30, added up to twenty-five hours of educational choices. The plant sales give us all a chance to come away with the latest and best plants. And, someone else gets to do the work. Back home we can keep an eye on the bargain table and the continuing opportunity for one-on-one learning. At our disposal we have tools for learning, made possible by committees of volunteers of the Society - you again. The Speakers' Bureau list includes a pool of knowledgeable people, waiting for your call. Our Video and Slide Library is available, and Guidelines for Flower Show Judging assist our chapters with show schedules.
The "taking" part is where most of us begin, but the real reward is in the giving back. As we gain knowledge, to serve on a committee of our Society offers great rewards. Chapter members who become District Directors are able to pull chapters together for projects of mutual benefit, and each chapter is equally represented by its District Director at Board meetings.
We have no parent organization. It's just 5700 people, all committed to the work of OUR AMERICAN RHODODENDRON SOCIETY - OARS!