President's letter for September, 2014
So I attended my first AANR national convention in an official capacity. I also attended the national convention when it was at Oaklake Trails. I even attended a little of the meetings when the water volleyballers were taking a break.
This was a very different convention, packed with official activities for the people representing you and anybody who voluntarily showed up for workshops and meetings. New Executive Director Bill Schroer gave about 9 hours of presentations, broken up into about 7 parts. He is very focused on the organization having a clear mission, supported by definite goals and objectives, both short term and long term. I asked an AANR old timer if this convention was like any she had previously attended. She said no, this was a new thing. I have been in organizations – schools, churches, business – that have had a clear mission, clear goals, and clear measurable objectives. I have also worked for schools, churches, and businesses which have had a fuzzy mission, fuzzy goals, and fuzzy not so measurable objectives. The difference in outcome and in the esprit of the members of the organization is enormous.
With a few hours of meeting in January and a few more hours of meeting in June, I don’t dream we will soon be tackling all the things Bill launched over many days in Pennsylvania. I do hope we can take some modest first steps. The logical first step seems to me to be a clear mission statement. Bill gave us some pointers on a good mission statement:
1) A mission statement shouldn’t have verbs. Sentences with verbs refer to activities. These activities may certainly support a mission, but they’re activities, not the mission.
2) Goals and objectives will change with time. A good mission statement ought to last for years.
3) A mission statement should be about the impact the organization makes. What the organization does to accomplish the mission should be part of goals, objectives, and strategies.
So I’m hoping that at the mid-winter meeting the Board can hammer out a statement to submit at the June meeting. So we’re not bogged down with writing motions and parliamentary procedure, I intend to do this after the official meeting as a committee of the whole or an ad hoc committee or (if Legislative Chair Lucy approves) as a meeting of the Legislative Committee with everyone in attendance invited to be part of that committee for that afternoon/evening.
Again, thanks for your support and thanks for letting me have my first trip to Pennsylvania.
at the national convention. Thanks for your trust.