BY MARK APLIN
I’m usually more of a talker than a writer, but felt compelled to respond to “The Right Way, The Wrong Way and the USHJA Way.” In this response, when I refer to the intent of the USHJA, their panels or any zone committee it’s my perception of their thoughts versus the actual thought of any of those groups. There is no more professional set of individuals than USHJA employees, and their intent is to help volunteer members of USHJA.
President Mary Babick asked me to serve on the panel discussed alongside the other panelists. Reading some of the criticism, it’s clear to me we partly accomplished what we intended. It may seem to many that the panel discussion we had was a waste of time or money. However, the main intention of our panel was to lay exactly these problems to the general meeting and the decision makers at USHJA to then find ways of alleviating them.
I think we succeeded in laying out these general problems. This is a bold move for those of us that were on the committee, and the people that decided to hold this panel. It’s akin to falling on a sword.
The intent of laying out these issues was to ask for ways to solve some of our problems. I can tell you that some ideas brought up became in place within hours. For starters, Zone 6 (and probably others) will be holding one or two conference calls a year where we will ask our members to join us with their questions and present ideas. We want members of our committees to be more involved in writing content for Zone 6 emails and social media posts. This is just one example, but many more ideas are now present in my mind for Zone 6 to consider in the future.
There are a couple other things worth mentioning. It is certainly expensive to travel. After spending close to $700 dollars out of my pocket and encountering 17 hours worth of delays over the three days in order to spend one afternoon at the meeting, I do find myself questioning whether it’s worth it. But I choose to believe that it is.
If all USHJA members seek to find answers and a way forward rather than focusing on the negative, our organization would be better off. There are some that will read this and be shocked to see my name as the one who wrote this, I’m sure. I truly believe it though. We the members can make this our organization.
In order for this to be the case, those that have the power to actually make decisions need to stop focusing on their pet projects and instead listen to what the members and those of us chosen to represent them say. We aren’t trying to stop your projects, complain about your decisions or make you irritated. Much of what you are doing are great things, but if you listen to us we might be able to make them better.
We ask to communicate with you, and need you to listen. If you do, you’ll find that the projects you want to be successful may well end up being just as, if not more, successful than you hope.