JARS v58n1 - From The President

From The President
Mike Stewart
Sandy, Oregon

Within the past few weeks, both the Western Regional meeting in Seaside, Oregon, and the Eastern Regional meeting on Cape Cod have taken place. I have had the pleasant experience of attending both of these meetings. Typical of most ARS events, both had interesting and engaging speakers, plant sales with something for everyone, and social hours and banquets that provided opportunities for old and new friends to meet. Particularly noticeable by many who attended was the "family atmosphere" and a true sense of "so happy to see you" type feelings and expressions that prevailed. These regional events are somewhat smaller than annual conventions, and because of their smaller size and structure they offer the membership a unique opportunity to visit and exchange ideas with others in attendance. Although it has been suggested at times that we have fewer conferences, I oppose that idea. Two- to three-day regional events attract many who might otherwise not attend the longer and usually more expensive annual conventions. They offer solutions to regional type problems and, in many cases, hands-on type of seminars that are more easily managed with smaller groups. If your district or chapter has not hosted a regional conference, I suggest that you strongly consider the possibilities. Organizing such an event, and involving sister chapters in you area, can be as rewarding as attending the conference.

Twice each year your ARS Board of Directors meets to handle the business of the ARS. This is usually an all-day meeting, with reports from your officers, executive director, journal editor and the thirty-one different committee chairpersons who work in your behalf. The recent meeting held on Cape Cod was very productive. I must compliment the Board for their very constructive manner at solving the problems that face them. This is an impressive group of volunteers who take their responsibilities seriously, yet get the job done in a friendly and professional way. One of the many important issues at this Cape Cod meeting was one dealing with several questions raised by the Mid Atlantic Chapter regarding use of the income produced from the Endowment Fund. Exhaustive research over several months has been accomplished by our Endowment Committee, our executive director, our accountant, and Jeff Cheyne, an attorney whose expertise is in the area of not-for-profit organizations. This research has revealed several important problems about our historical approach toward our Endowment that now need to be revised. The Endowment Committee presented its findings at the ARS Board meeting and the Board unanimously approved their recommendation. I thank Bill Mangels and others for all their work, and encourage you to read the report.

And finally, I wish to express my sincere condolences to our Executive Director Dee Daneri for the recent loss of her dear husband Dick. I always looked forward to seeing this most pleasant man at various ARS meetings. I will miss him, and we will all miss his generous contributions of helping with the daily tasks of running the American Rhododendron Society.