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June 2008 RVC Column

(Written and posted 5/10/08)

Northwest Passages

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

Last weekend Oregon Mensa hosted 130 Mensans and their guests at a Regional Gathering, BeaveRG XI, and it was a splendid event. We had excellent food, entertaining speakers, and ample opportunity to visit with one another in pleasant and comfortable surroundings. RG Chair Michael Meagher and his committee did a terrific job, and I especially liked the program event in which a couple dozen Mensans each tried to juggle several tennis balls while the speaker explained how this was benefiting us both mentally and physically. We certainly did get a lot of exercise chasing the dropped balls around the room.

Something else about the program that I liked a lot was that there was a room for teens to gather and there were activities designed with them in mind. As I noted in my column last month, the American Mensa Committee hopes to see new resources and opportunities for participation for teens in Mensa at all levels, and the effort on the part of Oregon Mensa's RG to involve teens in the RG was perfectly in tune with that goal. Kudos to Michael Meagher and his committee for recognizing and acting on that and for learning about what worked and what didn't work. This will in turn allow plenty of time to act upon lessons learned in order to help plan for the 2011 AG in Portland for which Michael is the Chair.

As Oregon Mensa's very successful RG concluded, I found myself reflecting on how well American Mensa is doing these days. Membership is up and we are within reach of setting a new all-time high this year. Across the country most of our Local Groups are going strong. Special Interest Groups, discussion groups, and Mensan subscribers to the many social networking sites are connecting on the Internet in ever-increasing numbers, and there are plenty of exciting events for members to attend at the national and local levels. The Annual Gathering in Denver in July is on its way to drawing a huge crowd, and the Mensa Foundation is sponsoring two fascinating Colloquiums in the next year. In Region 8, Northern Nevada Mensa will be hosting their first RG in Reno this October, and the other RGs in the region have all done very well; Sacramento Regional Mensa will be hosting their 25th this fall.

Hand-in-hand with all this growth comes a bushel basket of issues of concern. The future of our organization depends upon our willingness to take on these issues and resolve them in the best interests of our membership and in accordance with the values to which we subscribe as Mensa members. Just as I reflected on our success at the end of the Oregon RG, I was reminded of the many issues of concern when a longtime member criticized American Mensa's licensing efforts, a policy that she opposes so strongly that she was willing to give up her life membership in her distaste for what she called the "prostitution" of Mensa. As the Chair of the Planning Committee I want to make sure that the AMC's strategic planning efforts take into account the thoughtful suggestions and objections that members wish to express, and I am working actively to make sure that our members are heard and responded to; the objections raised by the longtime member who spoke to me will certainly be taken into consideration.

If you have questions or comments about the items on the national agenda that I discussed last month and this month or other items that you feel need to be attended to by the AMC and especially by the Planning Committee, I would like to hear from you. Please email me at rvc8@us.mensa.org and/or come to the meetings at the AG where strategic planning issues will be on the table. The best way to be heard is to enter the conversation, and I look forward to hearing from you. Hope to see you there!