Thank you, Eddie. I actually just sent a note to the current and future Board members last night, and was going to post it to AP and Clubnet tonight, after work. So, in the interest of time and transparency, here is my note. Although it is the BOD members who vote for the President, the VPs (Clubs, Competition, and Finance) and the Secretary, I encourage all members of OUSA to contact a BOD member to let them know about your preference for these positions. You can find their contact information here
.You are OUSA and your voice counts.
What an exciting time for US orienteering! I can hardly begin to express how encouraging it is to see so many people interested in working on the Board to ensure and enhance the future of orienteering in the United States. I might even go so far as to say that it’s unprecedented.
Having a competitive election for President is another new experience for us. Greg and I share many goals, including moving orienteering forward, working together with the new Board, and providing more value for our clubs. However, I don’t have quite as rosy a picture about the health of our sport as Greg does, which is one of the main reasons I’m running for OUSA President.
Let's take a look at some numbers over the past decade:
- Overall starts have not grown: 46,101 in 2006 and 45,662 in 2015
- Club membership is down: 6870 vs. 5211
- OUSA membership is down: 1454 vs. 1275
- A key indicator in our sport…National Events per year…is down: 15 vs. 10, with National event starts down by 30%
- I agree with Greg that our revenue is up, but one primary reason for that is that meet fees have increased since 2006. This is not a sustainable model.
I agree that having a paid professional staff, in addition to our dedicated volunteers, can only help the organization. However, one big caveat is the phrase, “Assuming we can afford it.” I believe,along with many others in OUSA, that we can’t afford it; at least not in the form it is today. We need to reassess the role of paid staff and decide what we can afford. I’m not saying eliminate the position. And I’m definitely not saying eliminate the ED role and give that money to “the teams,” as has been erroneously suggested is the underlying message of some of the new candidates for the Board. What I’m advocating is reassessing where orienteering is today in the US, determining if we can afford the ED model we have today, and if not, what roles *do* we need to outsource in order to bring in more orienteers to help sustain and grow our sport?
And I’m a little sad at the assertion that there are clubs in the US that are not interested in growing; not interested in bringing more members into their clubs. My first question to that is “why not?” Do they not have enough volunteers? Do they need to create more maps? I think we need to address the underlying issues as to why a club would not want to grow and help them overcome those issues, instead of accepting the idea of non-growth as status quo.
I want to move orienteering forward. I want to work with the new Board, whoever that might be, to advance orienteering in the US. I want to provide value-add services to our clubs. I want to drastically improve communication and transparency to the members of OUSA. I want to thoroughly examine our budget and financial processes to ensure we are operating at a level that we can afford without consistently running at a deficit.
I want to be president of OUSA because I can make a difference. I have volunteered in many different roles to support orienteering…Board member, club president, national event director, course setter for national championship events, chairperson of the Sr. Team ESC…and in all of these roles, I’ve been lauded as being a consensus builder and someone who gets the job done. I’m also in the unique position of having been a junior in orienteering, a competitive orienteer on the US Team, and now someone who is eyeing the Brown course in another year. I bring a perspective that few people in orienteering have today, and one that will help me to serve all of our constituents in OUSA.
Orienteering has been part of my life since I was a young girl. I am passionate about orienteering. I can’t imagine what my life would have been without it, and I want to do everything I can to ensure a healthy future for our sport. That is why I am asking for your vote for President of OUSA.