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December 2005 RVC Column

(Written and posted 11/9/05)

Northwest Passages

RVC Column for December Newsletters in Region 8
by John Recht, Region 8 RVC

Do you sudoku? Linda already rues the day she bought me "Sudoku, Easy to Hard" edited by Will Shortz. She'll be trying to carry on a conversation with me, and I'll look up every so often and ruefully reply, "What did you just say?" I just finished puzzle #86, and it was the trickiest of the bunch so far. If you didn't find the solution and want to know how it's done, send me an email and I'll tell you how I did it.

Before I tackle the next puzzle, I need to let you know what's happening with the American Mensa Committee (AMC) meeting in Phoenix on December 3. As I mentioned in my column last month, the AMC held a meeting and planning session at the National Office in September. At that time I offered to find out about best practices in local groups around the country, and I invite you once again to send your local group success stories with me so that I can facilitate sharing them with other groups.

Our September planning session delved into many other areas of interest to the membership as well, and some of these are now coming to the fore. For example, on the December agenda are the following proposals, most of which drew attention, energy, and/or support from the process of identifying and prioritizing the short and long term goals for the AMC:

* To establish an ad hoc AMC Structure Review Committee, which will attempt to determine if and how the size of the AMC can be reduced;

* To adopt and support the American Mensa Plan and Objectives, which restates and reaffirms what was endorsed in previous planning sessions;

* To establish an ad hoc Hearings Review Committee, which will attempt to offer improvements to the current Hearings process;

* To establish a task force to review local group funding issues, in order to be sure that local groups are getting adequate income and that the current formula is fair;

* To establish an "Angel Fund" to assist members who have difficulty paying dues, in order to help members who are genuinely in need;

* To hold annual AMC planning sessions, in order to assure that the AMC is acting efficiently and effectively on behalf of the membership and staff;

* To amend the Bylaws in a manner which would permit electronic voting, in order to increase participation and make it easier to vote while saving some election costs;

* To form a committee to study the feasibility of local premises by larger Mensa groups, which may provide numerous benfits to the membership in these areas.

Some of the above proposals are particularly sensitive and controversial, based on the discussions I have heard so far on the AMC and elsewhere. I would like to hear your comments about them, and your ideas about other priorities for the region and for American Mensa as a whole. Naturally, the above list is only a fraction of what we discussed at the planning session; there were many more goals identified, and these were just some of the first to move forward. Please drop me an email at rvc8@us.mensa.org and let me know what you would like to see happen in American Mensa. I also invite you to visit my website at www.johnrecht.com for more recent regional Mensa updates, and other items that I hope you will find of interest.

Finally, I would like to thank Sacramento Regional Mensa (SRM) and Mensa of Western Washington (MWW) for putting on terrific RGs in October. RG Chairs Debra Reiger of SRM and Mary Prior of MWW and a host of volunteers can all be very proud that they provided first class events, and I am already looking forward to returning for more fun next year in both fair cities. For now, though, I have the joy of anticipating RG fun beginning the day after Thanksgiving in San Francisco...the turkey leftovers will just have to wait for me, but sudoku will be along for the ride....