December 2006 RVC Column|
(Written and posted 11/7/06)
RVC Column for December Newsletters in Region 8
by John Recht, Region 8 RVC
The good news about American Mensa just keeps rolling in! For the first time in a long time, our member retention rate has exceeded 90%, and we are looking at national membership growth in the range of 3.5% year-over-year as of October 31. In Region 8, our membership growth in the same period is about 2.6%, and nine of our eleven Local Groups have equaled or exceeded their membership as of October 31 one year ago. What's more, the Mensa Testing Day promotion in October was a resounding success once again, and we should see our membership increase substantially in the coming months as a result.
On the heels of our success with membership growth, the matter we need to focus on is, what must we do to serve the needs of our members? This is a much-discussed question within American Mensa, and clearly there are more benefits and more choices than ever before, mainly due to the rise of the Internet and the increased connectivity among our Web-savvy members. Still, one of the most important benefits offered by Mensa is the opportunity to meet with other members face-to-face, and we are terrific at this. All over the country, Mensans are getting together in a great variety of venues, for a host of activities.
At the National level, we had three spectacular events in 2006: Mind Games in Portland, OR, the World Gathering in Orlando, FL, and the Colloquium in Albany, NY. Each of them provided terrific opportunities for Mensans to get together, and each was a huge success. We hope to continue this momentum on into 2007 at the National level, but just as importantly, we must focus on giving our members quality events at the regional and local levels, and I am delighted to say that Region 8 is doing its share in this way as well. Portland, Sacramento, and San Francisco have had superb Regional Gatherings in the past twelve months, and the calendars of our Local Groups are burgeoning with activities for members.
The future of Mensa, in fact, depends a great deal upon our Local Groups. The importance of Local Groups in providing information to members through newsletters and Web sites, and promoting activities for members to take part in, cannot be overstated. We need healthy Local Groups, and for that we will always need members who are willing to serve in volunteer capacities to keep our Local Groups up and running smoothly.
One of the best ways to train leaders and prospective leaders for our Local Groups, and to prepare them for National service if they wish to work at that level, is to take part in a Leadership Development Workshop (LDW). For the third consecutive year, Region 8 is hosting an LDW, with the next one scheduled for February 9-11, 2007, in Portland, OR. I invite you to join me and dozens of other Mensa members who are willing to share ideas and experiences, and to put best practices to work in their Local Groups, for a weekend of intensive Mensa workshop sessions. For example, this is your chance to meet with and hear from Nancy Flack, the multiple award-winning editor of Redwood Mpire News, and to hear about National Office Services from Heather Spillers, the new National Groups Coordinator. We will also be joined by a number of other folks with long Mensa resumes, who will be there to share their knowledge and to help everyone find ways to meet the needs of our Local Groups and individual members.
Registration for the LDW is free, and yes, there will be a free lunch on Saturday. Please check the notice in the Gatherings section of the Mensa Bulletin for more information, and then send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 503-289-7969 to let me know that you are coming. I hope to see you there!