2007 National Conference

2007 US Conference / Atlanta
The sixth annual US conference was held in Atlanta, and the overall theme of the conference topics and events was “Sustaining JETAA Relationships: Communication, Collaboration, Networking”.

  • The first main session was a report given by the two country reps, Shannon Quinn (Western USA) and Shannan Spisak (Eastern USA) on the status of JETAA in the US. They noted that there were 17 chapters in attendence which is the most in recent years, they also reminded delegates that there is a National Listserv at Yahoo!Groups called USchapters which is a collective location for information for all chapter officers. Then they presented an organizational chart of JETAA and explained not only the US structure but the structure in other countries as well. They also discussed the international conference.
  • Next national governance issues were discussed and some chapters proposed standardizing the timeline of elections of country reps. Some concerns were budgetting for the country rep funding, allowing country reps to get enough experience by the time international and national conferences came around also how to handle the funds in the case that a country rep was switched at a time other than the end of the fiscal year. Finally the chapters voted to confirm an extension of the terms the current country reps (14 yea, 3 abstain). This was followed by a discussion of online elections which many chapters thought was appropriate for this day and age, however there was concern that the online setting was not conducive to having people actually present a platform and run, thus there would be only a limited selection of people. Chapters voted (15 Yea 1 Nay 1 Abstain) to have the National conference in August from 2008 forward and (17 Yea) to use an online voting tool in the case that voting in person cannot be achieved.
  • This was followed up by breakout sessions on the following topics:
    • 501(c)(3)
    • Conference Hosting
    • Events: Cultural
    • Events: Networking
    • Fundraising
    • Membership Retention
    • Newsletter Advice
    • Q&A Orientation
    • Website Development: Joomla! Tutorial
  • Next Matt Gillam from JLGC gave a presentation on Grant-In-Aid. Several important questions that they answered outside of the standard grant process issues were:
    • Will CLAIR consider paying for a webdesigner or digital storytelling workshop? - CLAIR prefers not to fund individual people so it is unlikely they would fund either of these two things.
    • How does funding for country reps work? - This is a work in progress but the funding is basically 10,000 yen for each chapter in the country split among the reps. Used for Airfare, travel expenses, telephone charges, online communication, and other expenses deemed appropriate by CLAIR. CLAIR is also aware that 501(c)(3) chapters do not want to recieve this funding directly as it increases their matching fundraising burden.
  • Next the Canadian 7th Annual Conference was discussed. One of the major focuses of this conference was chapter health, some of the chapters are down to 2 to 4 active members. They also discussed professional development courses funded by CLAIR as well as a National Action Plan of holding atleast 1 community service or charity event. They also were concerned about the country rep not residing in the country and made the proposal that a person running for country rep must be a resident of Canada and should not plan to leave during the term. In the case that they do leave they need to inform the chapters and arrange for a replacement.
  • The keynote speakers were Karen Voetsch (president) and Stephen Dorage (past-president) of the Atlanta Area Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (AARPCV) They discussed the role of their chapter and some of the challenges their chapter has faced. One interesting point they mentioned is the generational effect on members, a standard trend of younger members being very active, then becoming inactive, then becoming active again once their children have grown up. As a younger organization JETAA has not experienced this full cycle yet but it is likely that it will be similar. They are big proponents of the concept of less is more when it comes to events. Don't spread the membership too thin by holding too many events. They also discussed having a national group to deal with larger issues, but they said it requires a very clear delineation of goals and responsibilities. Their national organization currently has 6 to 7 paid staff members but it is always a struggle to get enough funding for them. Also use a tool like Surveymonkey to poll the membership.
  • Next there was a discussion of chapter concerns by size with the groups breaking out into small, medium, and large chapters and discussing issues and concerns affecting their chapters.
  • This was followed by a presentation on leadership transition
  • Finally there was a presentation on the communication network (i.e. The history of the CMS tool). Some of the challenges that faced the CMS tool were explained (money, time, motivation, security) and the site was to be delivered in September of 2007.

For full conference notes please refer to 2007 Conference notes.doc

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