President's Message
October 2002

As my tenure as District President comes to an end (District by-laws limit the term to three consecutive years), I want to thank all those who have worked so hard to help us work out some problems that had been facing our organization.

We always need to keep in mind that the ACBL is an organization that keeps going only because of the work of numerous volunteers. Yes, we have a national headquarters and paid "referees" to oversee our competition, but none of that competition would be possible without the work at the club, unit and district levels by persons who never receive a dime for their efforts. Something else must drive them÷most likely a love for the game and a desire to give something back. I think that we all need to remember this the next time that something does not go exactly as we thought it should.

We have hundreds of people in our district who have spent countless hours of time making it possible for the rest of us to pursue our hobby. Say thanks to the tournament chairman next time. Or to your unit or club board members.  Better still, volunteer to help. Most of the jobs require very little knowledge of "running tournaments" or, for that matter, very little bridge skill. Just some time, energy and the ability to handle criticism with grace. It has been a pleasure for me to work with our District officers and Board. Almost to a person they have pitched in and worked together as a team to resolve some touchy issues and improve the Districtâs ability to serve you, its members.

As a result of their efforts, our regional tournaments, which had been showing steadily dwindling attendance from the mid-80s to the mid 90s, have begun to reverse that pattern. We are in the early stages of a new plan that puts permanent sites and rotating splits that ensure at least one site every year within reasonable driving distance of everyone in this geographically large District.

We have promoted EasyBridge! programs throughout the District and encouraged teaching and novice/IN programs at clubs and units. We are in much better financial condition. In fact we have asked units and clubs to submit proposals to the District that would help them promote the game. This December issue will be the last issue of the Forum in the current format since the ACBL is changing the format of the Bulletin in such a fashion that will not permit inserts. But we are going to continue it in some form÷to be revealed in January.

If you have any questions about the manner in which we do our business, ask. The league is a federation where each level has the authority to act within guidelines established by the National Board. Most people could not care less what the organization looks like÷they care only that it serves their needs. But the great majority of the volunteers, and for that matter most of the paid employees, do care what you think and want to do their best to respond to your inquiries and your critiques. Get involved and find that out for yourself÷and take advantage of the opportunity to give something back. Most organizations survive because of the work of a small number of their members.

So join (really join) the club.

Coley McGinnis

Past President, District 10

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