Evolution And Progress
I just returned from the 82nd AANR convention at DeAnza Springs Resort. As always, the high desert was glorious, and the facilities at DeAnza gave us many opportunities to enjoy them. The sound of quails woke me most mornings, and the jackrabbits popped up all over the place. One evening at dusk I even think I saw the resident bobcat!
The meetings were dominated by two significant and controversial topics. Both deal with change, or perhaps evolution is a more accurate term.
As mentioned in several previous columns, I tasked the Planning Committee under the able leadership of Pam Pelc to examine the structure of AANR as compared to other similar advocacy, not-for-profit associations. The intent is to determine whether our structure—nominations, elections, responsibilities of officers and trustees, core competencies available to meet needs, and management structure—are as effective as they need to be for AANR to meet the challenges of this century—achieving legal and social legitimacy for nude recreation.
The committee, after hundreds of hours of intensive analysis, study, and discussion, prepared some initial recommendations. These recommendations have been presented at all seven regional conventions, plus the AANR convention. They have precipitated significant discussion, some approval, some disapproval. One feeling seems to predominate in these discussions, however; change is needed. Despite dedicated volunteers and staff, AANR is not as strong and effective as we need to be. Unfortunately, only a small percentage of our AANR membership attends conventions, so we have not received input from a cross section of our membership. There will be opportunities for this once final recommendations are developed. However, the following conclusions are indisputable:
With a lower membership pool there are fewer people willing to run for office; there are fewer volunteers, and those volunteers are able to dedicate fewer hours.
AANR needs strategic and visionary leaders to run for office and dedicate significant time to establishing strategies for government and legal affirmative action for nudists; public outreach and education; association management and marketing; IT technologies of the future and how they can be used to make nude recreation stronger; and association financial management.
The Nominations Committee will be reaching out to members, just as I am doing, to ask those of you who meet the above criteria to step forward and run for office. Nude recreation needs to build the strongest possible team if we are to achieve our goals.
Why do I term this an evolution rather than simply change? It occurs to me that our association has been evolving since the very beginning, 82 years ago. In my own lifetime of involvement, George Volak and Leonite Moore, as presidents, started the process of bringing us out of the closet when they determined that we needed an aggressive public relations program and implemented it. Greg Smith started us re-evaluating our relationship with the clubs and the contractual agreements that connect the two. Pat Brown brought us to the next evolution, member voting, rather than delegate voting. John Kinman reaffirmed the basic truth of AANR—we stand for, and fight for, the right of families, not just adults, to practice wholesome nude recreation. I hope that my legacy will be an association not bound by tradition, but soliciting and electing strong professional leaders able to give significant time and core competency knowledge to making AANR able to achieve the same level of legal legitimacy that the LGBT community has achieved.
The second issue dominating the AANR convention was the clear establishment that AANR is an advocacy-based association, not a trade association. This was widely and enthusiastically supported to the point of considering a new name for the Association that truly reflects our commitment to nudist rights.
You, the members, will be deeply involved in whatever comes out of both of these initiatives.
Stay tuned, but even more . . . step forward and get involved in the issues before the board and membership, and join the team of leaders who fight for our rights.