Long read, but just over 4hrs to go make sure you vote!!!!
To My Fellow USHPA Members,
It is REALLY important that you vote. We are a small group so your vote will speak volumes. I’ll start by saying I am NOT in favor of the Governance Proposal and here is why (this may seem like a long read, but it is vitally important you understand what you are being asked to decide):
This “Governance” issue came to the forefront just after our insurance crisis. That’s why the insurance crisis example keeps coming up as a reason for a smaller board. They reason that the Board was not kept informed of the crisis because it was too large and would have taken too much time to bring the Board up to speed. So the work was done by a small group of people. It is now reasoned that a smaller board is needed to deal with a future crisis. What future crisis? If anything, the crisis we are facing now started a long time ago with our declining membership. This is the critical issue that needs to be addressed – not how the Board should “govern” itself.
Straight to the point, this Governance Proposal wants to concentrate more power in fewer hands; making less representation for the membership. The USHPA is a member driven organization. You, as a member, give this Board its power. To put that leadership in fewer hands would be disastrous. Also, as a member driven organization it is most important that when members reach out for help, they have their local USHPA Director there to help with local issues, which gives them a direct line to their organization.
Yes, we need change within the organization, but this Governance Proposal does nothing for the area of change that is needed. In some ways it actually restricts growth. I’ll get cut-off at the knees from some of my fellow Board members for saying this, but this Governance Proposal is the USHPA Board once again focusing on themselves, not the membership, not the instructors, not the schools, chapter or clubs, and certainly not the real critical issue facing hang gliding and paragliding – lack of growth. Seriously, USHPA needs to quit re-arranging the deck chairs on the titanic and address the gaping hole in the side of the ship. Our boat is sinking and as a member you and I should demand USHPA pay attention. This Governance Proposal is just another example of USHPA holding themselves above the membership. It is a distraction that needs to be quashed.
The USHPA needs to get focused:
Concentrate on growth and promotion. Realize that growth and promotion is happening at the local level and it is not effective to promote growth at a national level. Make things easy for chapters, schools, clubs, instructors and competition organizers Engage and harness the talent in the membership, the clubs, and the chapters. Grow the membership by strengthening and validating the small instructors and supporting the schools
This Governance Proposal essentially changes nothing except to put the same power the Board is already wielding in far fewer hands and giving you, the member, far less of a voice.
USHPA is a non-profit organization. This Governance Proposal seeks to manage it as a corporation – big mistake. We don't need diversity programs like there are in large corporations. The Governance Proposal’s diversity equation disenfranchises the membership at large and does nothing at all to address our critical issues. One reason, in a nutshell the diversity equation is highly unsuitable for our organization is; if a Member gets the most national votes but does not fit into the “diversity equation” that member will not be selected to the Board. Imagine that…the person the membership deemed will do the best job is counted out because of the “diversity equation.” Conversely a Member who may only get a small number of votes has a better chance of being elected if they have the needed diversity make up. Seriously, that’s how it works. Your smaller board will be made up of the members who checked all the “right “diversity boxes. There’s even a provision if the equation doesn’t work, than the other smaller Board members get to pick someone – anyone. Wow – member driven organization? Not under this Proposal. Hence, under this Governance Proposal this is where your leadership will come from, the power concentrated in these fewer men and women. That’s a bit scary.
This Governance Proposal isn’t going to help get more members, we need to leave it and begin the real work. Again we need promotion from within and that comes from the local level, with just some basic support from USHPA in the form of insurance, rating programs, representation with the FAA, a magazine, etc.; USHPA as a membership facilitator.
Let’s face facts we’re losing small instructors, schools, chapters, clubs and members – tell me how this “business as usual” Governance Proposal with its smaller board is going to change anything. It will in fact do the opposite. Members will get even more disgusted because they have less representation, the needs of the individuals/groups/clubs/chapters will not be met, schools and instructors will grow increasingly fed up with the lack of support and hang gliding and paragliding will continue to decline until it’s on the bottom with its leg up. Sometimes I am disgusted by the lack of foresight of this Board and their failure to stay focused on the real issues. We need to direct the current Board along with the members to focus their efforts on building membership by cultivating our schools and instructors, making things better for them, because that is where our real growth will come from, it is in those hands that the future of hang gliding and paragliding lay. Make it better for them and it will be better for the membership at large.
Passing this Governance Proposal with its diversity agenda, supersized regions and fewer member representation is a recipe for disaster.
Wake up folks, your organization needs your help, our membership is shrinking and this Governance Proposal does nothing to address that critical issue. There is so much talent and knowledge on the current Board that could be better managed, the committees especially need fixing. Membership involvement could be better managed.
An unconscionable amount of time has been expended on this Governance Proposal issue (years that the membership has known nothing about) and for what? It’s not gotten us any closer to solving what’s really broken. We don’t need a smaller Board, we need to fix what we have, focus on surviving this downturn and growing the membership. A smaller board is not a recipe for growth. The Board spends far too much time pulling the train down a broken track, when we should be fixing the track – not buying a smaller train. One thing the Board did agree on is that nobody really likes this Governance Proposal, but because of all the work expended the vote passed to send it to the membership to decide. So here we are. I hope we can finally put this to rest and get on with what is truly crippling this organization.
I will be voting “NO” on this Governance Proposal and if you care about the longevity of our sport, you will stand with me on the side of growth, instructors, schools, chapters, clubs and organizers.
Call, email me anytime if you would like to discuss this matter, I welcome all conversations for or against.
Region 6, 11 & International