State of the Association
ANPR President Scot McElveen's Remarks at Ranger Rendezvous 33
Good morning. I'm Scot McElveen, and for a few more short months I'll be ANPR's president, now finishing up my three-year term that started in 2008. Today I'd like to offer remarks on ANPR's year in 2010 with a few opinions sprinkled in on where I think we're at and where we might go in the future as an organization. This 33rd Professional Conference & Ranger Rendezvous is really more about where our president-elect Stacy Allen will lead us in the future, and not so much about where we've been. With this is mind I hope to keep my remarks shorter than in previous years, and I will be happy to recognize anyone that has a question or comments during my remarks, or I will definitely leave time at the end for questions and comments.
For the last two years we've recognized those that had retired from the NPS during the previous year. We'd like to recognize those that retired since last year's Rendezvous or those that are retired but were not at either the 2008 or 2009 Rendezvous. Please stand. Thanks for your efforts on behalf of the National Park System and Service, and for your continued support through ANPR.
Let's talk a bit about membership numbers and finances first. As we met in Santa Fe in December 2008 our membership numbers were at 1,208, about a 150-membership increase from the year before. Last year in Gettysburg we had 1,190. This year as our Annual Professional Conference begins our membership number is at 1,196. For some perspective, our low years in the recent decade our membership numbers have been slightly above 900, and during much of 1980s and 1990s during our highest membership years our numbers were above 1,500. Not too long ago while reading an older issue of Ranger I found that out of 1,500 total members we had 1,250 annual members and 250 life members, a 6:1 ratio. Today that ratio is 1.2:1 which makes finances more difficult.
Our finances have been stable in recent fiscal years with our overall assets beginning to grow again. Higher assets means that ANPR has the capacity to take on more work, and that once in awhile we can take a calculated risk or two to increase our profile and/or our effectiveness. In fiscal year 2009 our net income (after expenditures) was $4,700. In fiscal year 2010 (year ending 3/31/10) our net income was $35,300! And, so far in fiscal 2011 our net income is $1,100. So, this means we are beginning to rebuild some of those financial assets that we had a decade ago.
Last year in Gettysburg we passed a resolution that said: MOTION:
"A work group will be formed in 2010 to consider issues pertaining to future of ANPR. This work group will submit a written report to the BOD by April 1, 2010 and the BOD will present this report to the membership before taking any action."
That group began its formation in Gettysburg, worked diligently throughout the winter and on April 1st presented the Board of Directors with its Revitalization Report. The report was submitted to you, the membership in our summer 2010 issue of Ranger and perhaps later in this conference we may decide to take some action based on the report's recommendations. It would be beneficial if an implementation group could be identified here in Bend this week. Amy Gilbert (your Board Member for Special Concerns and a Co-Chair of Revitalization Work Group) and Greg Broadhurst are here this week as well as the work group's facilitator Deanne Adams and mentor Dick Martin, and they are looking for interested and motivated members for an implementation group. Please grab one of them this week and volunteer your services.
Also, last year in Gettysburg we passed two other motions that:
"Funds from the Gale Fund will be earmarked for the oral history project, subject to periodic and general review of the project budget."
No action resulted from either of these motions, so far.
The new NPS firearm's possession law took effect on Feb. 22 of this year. ANPR provided opinions to the NPS on how we best thought the new law might be best implemented to minimize potential negative impacts on National Park System resources and values. Our opinions were considered, but were not selected as part of the NPS's implementation.
We elected four new Board of Directors members to start in 2010. They were:
Very soon after that, Charissa Reid resigned citing a family medical issue, and this fall Eric Leonard (Board Member for Internal Communications) and Bill Schappell (Treasurer) resigned. During the year Alec Chapman was appointed to fill the remaining term for Fundraising Activities and Dick Martin for the remainder of calendar 2010 for Internal Communications. All this means we have seven Board positions open for nominations later in the week, and if there is one single thing you could do for ANPR it is to responsibly take on one of these Board positions and work for the betterment of National Park Service employees and partners and the National Park System. The positions that will be open for nominations on Thursday will be Professional Issues, Strategic Planning, Seasonal Perspectives, Treasurer, Secretary, Special Concerns, and Internal Communications, and nominations will remain open until November 11th, so they can be made offsite by telephone, email, or other electronic means.
Part of the year's annual work is seeking out a location to hold future conferences which have historically moved around the country to best meet the needs of our nationwide membership. We have signed a contract for the 2011 ANPR Annual Professional Conference & Ranger Rendezvous for the Crowne Plaza at Fort MacGruder in Williamsburg, Virginia, for the week of Oc. 10 - 15, 2011. We need volunteers now to start the planning, organizing, coordinating and executing for this event. While our finances are stable now, cancellation of such an event after the contract has been signed would result in the loss of tens-of-thousands of dollars for ANPR.
For 2012 we are looking at bids in several western states with the best bids currently coming from Palm Springs, California (Joshua Tree NP), and Reno, Nevada. There is still time to consider other areas and I'd like to hear suggestions from you if you have them.
Special Concerns Board Member Amy Gilbert and I made separate trips for meetings in Washington. Amy was joined by longtime members Bill Halainen and Tony Sisto as they met with House and Senate staffers (including NPS Bevinetto Fellows Kirsten Talken-Spaulding and David Smith) and with Governmental Affairs staff at the National Parks Conservation Association. Amy was re-establishing contacts to assist in ANPR's advocacy role. My trip was to meet with NPS Director Jon Jarvis to discuss several topics including NPS distribution of information about ANPR's Health Insurance Program and an invitation for him to speak at Ranger Rendezvous 33 here.
Relating to my meeting with Director Jarvis I continued to pursue some type of official recognition of this conference as an official professional development opportunity for NPS employees to include the use of government travel funds, per diem, and duty time when approved by an employee's supervisor. During that discussion Jon related to some of the issues going on with the George Wright Society/NPS agreement in 2010 and he also defined ANPR's advocacy role as one potential obstacle to such official recognition.
Comparatively, both the George Wright Society and the National Association for Interpretation (who have similar conferences to ours) do not pursue advocacy positions as part of their organizations. I for one would not be willing to give up ANPR's ability to speak freely and frankly with NPS managers, congressional members and their staffs, or the press just to gain such official recognition.
ANPR Board Member for Seasonal Perspectives Tom Banks designed and implemented a NPS Seasonal Employees Survey. There were over 150 responses. The information gleaned from will be used in two ways. First, ANPR will use it to formulate positions and advocacy decisions that are helpful to NPS seasonal employees. Secondly, information will be provided to the NPS Workplace Enrichment Subcommittee. Tom has been included on NPS Workplace Enrichment Subcommittee conference calls as an ANPR representative. This is just one more way that ANPR hopes to ensure that voices of field employees are heard by senior NPS management without being filtered through many levels in the official chain of command.
Membership Services Board Member Liam Strain has continued our tradition of contacting all expired members by mail and/or by telephone to encourage them to rejoin or to find out why they are not rejoining. So far in 2010 we've gained 209 new members, but we also lost approximately the same number of existing members to non-renewal.
On May 25 member Holly Rife represented ANPR at a House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public lands hearing that focused on "The Future of the National Park System." And, I want to specifically thank Holly for stepping in for me while I was unavailable and for AMY Gilbert's assistance in preparing for the hearing and attending herself to help Holly with logistics. Specifically, ANPR was asked to speak on the topics of NPS workforce/employee recruitment, diversity, development and training. Our written testimony can be viewed on ANPR's website. It is important to note that the intent of our testimony was to benefit all current and potential NPS employees and not just those in park ranger positions.
Liam Strain, ANPR Board Member for Membership Services and Business Office Manager Teresa Ford announced a new membership benefit: Pro Deals. ANPR members are given the opportunity to purchase a specific company's products at a reduced rate, often wholesale prices. ANPR has negotiated access to approximately 125 pro-deals from different companies, through ProMotive.com. At this website you can apply as an ANPR member and, once verified, you will have access from that website to dozens of company's pro-deals, including Leki, Timbuk2, Ocean Kayak, Marmot, Suunto, Gregory, Helly Hansen, Skullcandy, Crank Brothers and many more.
The membership numbers I spoke of earlier continue to be strongest in the seasonal category, and part of those numbers relate to ANPR's health insurance program. This year ANPR's health insurance program flyer was again distributed by WASO to NPS regional offices. Additionally, for the first time this year, a message with a link was transmitted in the NPS Morning Report this spring which hopefully reached many more NPS employees than we had in the previous two years.
Many of you are familiar with ANPR's Bill Supernaugh Memorial Scholarships which allow members or NPS employees that have never attended a Rendezvous to come with the majority of their travel expenses and registration fees paid. This is the third year we've offered scholarships. I'd like to recognize specifically Teresa Ford who did most of the work in fund raising for this worthy cause and those of you who donated for your generosity. I'd like to identify those selected individuals by asking them to stand - Nancy Patterson, Kyle Robbins and Alison Steiner. I'd ask you to please consider donating to these scholarships between now and our next meeting in Williamsburg to continue this tradition in 2011.
Now, for a few of my own thoughts and opinions which I hope you will bear with. In my opinion, ANPR has stabilized in membership and in finances, for the moment. We've re-entered the political and advocacy world, testifying before congressional subcommittees and giving interviews to major news outlets. We can be proud of our past accomplishments, but those accomplishments are not a predictor of future success. Each generation of ANPR members must find and pursue their own interests and passions for our organization to remain vibrant and successful. And, that my friends is up to each of you.
As I stepped into ANPR's presidency in 2008 I had some goals in mind:
I'll let history be the judge of how well I may have helped ANPR achieve those goals.
On a personal level mostly I wanted to repay this organization and my mentors in it for all they have given to me for 28 years. Some of the items ANPR has given to me include:
Now, to some of those ANPR mentors and friends I've learned so much from like:
I hope that in some small way I've helped keep ANPR the organization you envisioned it to be. And, I hope that I've been able to somehow pass down the passion that you passed down to me to a new generation of ANPR members. I thank each and every one of you for the opportunity to serve you as president. In most instances it has been an honor.
Thank you for your attendance here this week, and with that I'll open the floor up to any questions or comments you might have.