Last month I was one of several adult chaperones for more than 30 girls and boys, ages 12 to 13, for a five-day student tour of New York City.
The key words here are "student tour."
Each day, we awoke at 6:30 a.m., rode subways and other public transportation, walked at least five miles and arrived back at our hotel at 11:30 p.m. for a little sleep.
"Little" is the other key word.
Although many complained of the lack of sleep and were foot-sore from walking, it was a true "grassroots" experience of one of the largest cities in the world. I had visited New York City before while on business, but this time I experienced New York City from the ground up!
One of AAPG's strategic goals is grounded in the belief that, to build a vital and productive Association, we must provide good service to AAPG members and the "grassroots" organizations that support AAPG at the local or regional level -- affiliated societies and AAPG Sections and Regions.
Sometimes AAPG is seen as a large organization that does not care about its roots. I assure you this is far from the case. We concentrate much of our efforts in supporting local and regional entities within AAPG or working with other societies. For example, each year AAPG offers the affiliated societies, Sections and Regions no-cost ads in the EXPLORER, Web site services, meeting listings and contact information, free electronic address lists for mailing conference announcements, member lists for cross-checking and local membership drives, scheduling of committee meetings, etc.
In addition, AAPG offers a special digital service to our affiliated societies, Sections and Regions. Based on the available budget for Datapages, AAPG will digitize publication archives and return the digits at no or low cost to the publishing society. The society is then free to sell or give their digits directly to its members or other entities.
In return, AAPG only requests the use of the digits in its Datapages archives for on-demand services to members and the general public, and for corporate licenses. AAPG remunerates an immediate subscription fee to the society based on usage of those societies' publications.
As a result, we are able to make many out-of-print publications available to our respective memberships and to the general public.
AAPG now offers a new set of services to assist and inform affiliated societies, Sections and Regions. The convention department, for example, has developed a new service model for conferences for the Sections and Regions. We now provide full service or a la carte service for regional meetings. In other words, we are able and interested in customized meeting planning for the Sections and Regions.
For example, if an organizing committee only needs online abstract submission and review, AAPG headquarters can provide that at or below cost. We also can provide discounts for third-party outsourcing, such as registration.
Most importantly, to help Sections and Regions evaluate their meeting requirements, we now provide consultation regarding Section conventions and Region conferences by one of our meeting planners for one day at no cost from Tulsa, or for only travel expenses, if the evaluation is required onsite.
The full proposal is listed on AAPG's Web site.
An overarching goal of this new "grassroots" effort is to provide better communication among AAPG members, leadership and staff by working with affiliated societies and the Section and Region leadership -- AAPG headquarters wants to help where we can.
We currently host monthly teleconferences with the Region presidents, and we started a similar arrangement with the Section presidents. Also, AAPG's directors have started providing monthly operations updates to the leadership.
Last month, we held the first AAPG Town Hall meeting in Houston. All AAPG members and HGS members in the Houston area were invited for refreshments and strategic updates from AAPG President Pat Gratton and President-elect Pete Rose. About 130 people attended and we had a lively discussion during the Q&A session.
Incidentally, one of the top concerns on members' minds was insurance coverage. We have expressed this to the Insurance Committee, and they are working to provide the best and affordable insurance possible.
The wants and needs of the members of this Association are important from the ground up! The AAPG leadership is committed to provide better service to all members and all related associations of AAPG.