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October 2007 RVC Column

(Written and posted 9/10/07)

Northwest Passages

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

Two years ago, I attended my first planning session at the National Office as a new member of the American Mensa Committee (AMC). Together, the AMC and National staff crafted a document that ran to nine pages, listing various short- and long-term goals for Mensa along with their relative importance. The document also indicated who was responsible for each action, the steps to be taken, a time frame for accomplishment of each goal, and suggestions for measurements to help determine when a particular goal was achieved.

Although we had the best of intentions, during the subsequent two year term the AMC did not remain clearly focused on the big picture that we had so earnestly manifested at the outset. My frustration grew with each AMC meeting, as I realized that we were not following through on the planning process in a way that would enable us to say whether or not we had made progress on the goals we had identified.

This is not to say that the AMC ignored the goals we had set. On the contrary, much was done that was of value to American Mensa. In particular, the Local Group Funding Task Force, led by Robin Crawford, did a stellar job. The increase in funding that local groups have received since April is due to the Task Force's cogent and thorough analysis, which convinced the AMC that the increase was justified. This was, indeed, one of the high priority items on the AMC's list of goals. Nevertheless, lacking the means to identify and summarize our overall accomplishments, there was no way for the AMC to follow up effectively on the planning process nor to communicate our progress to the next board of directors.

My intention in this term was to give the AMC the opportunity to correct this situation, and to do so I asked for the creation of a new standing committee, the Planning Committee. The AMC agreed unanimously, and they also unanimously approved my appointment as chair of the committee. I am delighted to now be in a position in which I can help the AMC and all of American Mensa to realize our goals for the future, and I look forward to collaborating with you all in this effort. As always, I invite you to contact me with your suggestions and ideas, and I will make sure that we will do our best to focus our energies and resources on projects which will be to our collective benefit, and which will ensure the growth of our organization while increasing our enjoyment of it. You may reach me at rvc8@us.mensa.org with your comments, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Speaking of growth reminds me that of all the days of the year, the most important to the growth of our membership is Mensa Testing Day, which will be held on October 20. Each of you has the opportunity to help make Mensa Testing Day a successful event. In your September issue of the Mensa Bulletin, you'll find two coupons worth $5 off the Mensa Admissions Test. Please share these coupons with friends, family members or colleagues who may be interested in Mensa membership.

To find local testing information, visit www.us.mensa.org/MTD. The coupon is valid for any test session between now and November 4, 2007.

In closing, I encourage you all to take advantage of three superb Regional Gatherings (RGs) coming up very soon in Region 8. First, on Oct. 26-28 Sacramento Regional Mensa is once again hosting the Gold Country RG - California Dreamin'. To register, or for information, check their Web site at http://sacramento.us.mensa.org/normal/rg.html. Next, San Francisco Regional Mensa is hosting their RG, Brilliance by the Bay, on Nov. 23-25; a registration form is available at www.sfmensa.org/rgreg.html. Early next year, Seattle is the place for Mensa of Western Washington's RG, EveRGreen 2008: Romp & Circumstances, which will be on Feb.15-17. Information and registration forms are available at www.mensaww.org/gather.htm. Hope to see you at all of these RGs...I'll be there!