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My years on the APCUG board of directors have been hard ones. We have seen internal strife. We have worked through most of it, but still have a ways to go. I could have just disappeared. Not written this note. Let David answer the questions. I felt you all deserved an explanation.
I love user groups. I believe in them. Without a peer to peer place to get help, most of the world will never move up from a novice user of the computer. Without the knowledge shared by user groups, the web can be a scary and dangerous place.
But APCUG has a problem. Our groups are aging out. They are becoming irrelevant in todayís world. APCUG and the user groups of the world need to find a new direction and a new focus. We need to reach out to the next generation. I donít mean the kids or the 20 or 30 year olds (though they are welcome as well). I mean the 40-65 age range. And I donít mean as casual members. I mean as leadership.
User groups need to find their place in todayís world. We need to rediscover ways to tell people we are out there. We need a better way to tell people who we are and what we do. We need to reconnect to potential member groups and members of those groups. We need to reach out to new groups. We need to become relevant again.
But thatís only part of the reason I am leaving. The other part has to do with APCUG itself.
It is hard to lead an organization without feedback. Without knowing what you, the membership, want from us. Without knowing what you need, unless you tell the APCUG leadership what you want, we have to guess. And, as with many volunteer organizations, when we guess we end up disagreeing. Those disagreements are a lot of what made it impossible for me to continue as president.
The leadership of APCUG doesnít do a great job of reading the minds of you, its member groups. And the harder we try, the more likely we are to get it wrong. We need to hear from you. We need to know what you want. We need you to look at who represents us and whether what they believe is what you want for the organization. Without that input, we will not survive.
And so, I offer an opportunity to the member groups of APCUG. I have a $500 flight certificate from Southwest Airlines. I will be using it in the first six months of 2012 to visit a couple of groups. If you want me to visit your group, let your advisor know. If we donít hear from any of you, that will tell us a lot about this organization.