Rapidan District Represented at 2016 Ruritan National Convention

Irene Luck Delivers Chemo Caps to National Convention 2016 (photo Linda Bradshaw)

Irene Luck Delivers Chemo Caps to National Convention 2016 (photo Linda Bradshaw)

Members of the Rapidan District attended the Ruritan National Convention from January 6-10, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Jacksonville Florida. The National Convention provided the opportunity for all Ruritan members to attend interesting and helpful training workshops, vote on important policy modifications, elect the 2016 officers, celebrate Ruritan accomplishments during award ceremonies, and plenty of opportunities for fellowship with other Ruritan members from around the country.

Several Clubs and Districts held Hospitality Rooms several afternoons and evenings, with free food and beverages, and fellowship available to all who dropped in.

Rapidan District Members that attended the convention were (in alphabetical order): Linda Bradshaw (2015 Rapidan District Governor & 2016 Rapidan District Publicity Chair,) Dorothy Duerson (Louisa Ruritan Club,) James Duerson (2016 Rapidan District Growth & Development Chair) Don Hackler (2016 Rapidan District Secretary,) Steve Hicks (Culpeper Ruritan Club,) Irene Luck (2016 Rapidan District Governor,) Perry Marshman (Past National Director & 2016 Rapidan District Foundation Promotion Chair,) Emily Payne (2016 Rapidan District Leadership Development Coordinator,) and Fulton Payne (2016 Rapidan District Lt. Governor & Fundraising Chair.)

Irene Luck Delivers afghan blocks to National Convention (photo Linda Bradshaw)

Irene Luck Delivers afghan blocks to National Convention (photo Linda Bradshaw)

Plastic bags filled with Hygiene items (total number donated by the District unknown at this time) for the local homeless shelter, 175 hand-made chemo caps, 14 blankets, and 91 hand-made afghan blocks donated by the local clubs of the Rapidan District were delivered to the convention. Other Ruritan Districts and Clubs also brought donations, and the total collected for the convention were: 360 hygiene bags, 670 chemo caps, 93 blankets, and 1030 afghan blocks. In addition, over 250 Rudy Bears were donated by clubs and Districts, for donations to hospitals, the Red Cross, and the local homeless shelter.

Linda Bradshaw led a workshop on creating Facebook Pages and Websites for Ruritan Clubs and Districts the afternoon of Thursday January 7. Perry Marshman was the song leader for the singing of America during the Opening Ceremonies the evening of Thursday, January 7, and assisted National Director Sarah Kelly with the presentation of the Flag Ceremony. Irene Luck carried the Arkansas flag during the ceremony.

Steve Hicks helped with the technical aspects of the voting booths during the elections Friday, January 8. New to National conventions this year, was the opportunity for delegates to use their laptops from their hotel rooms to log into MMS to vote instead of physically standing in line to vote. Those choosing to vote from their rooms, using their laptops, reported no issues in the process.

Certificate of Appreciation from Hunters for the Hungry (photo Linda Bradshaw)

Certificate of Appreciation from Hunters for the Hungry (photo Linda Bradshaw)

Laura Newell-Furniss, Director of Hunters for the Hungry, presented a certificate of appreciation Friday, January 8, to the Rapidan District for their participation in Hunters for the Hungry over the past twenty years. Over the course of twenty years, twenty-one clubs in the Rapidan District have donated $34,722 to Hunters for the Hungry. That translates into 305,994 servings of venison to needy families! Accepting the certificate of appreciation on behalf of the Rapidan District were Linda Bradshaw (2015 Rapidan District Governor) and Irene Luck (2016 Rapidan District Governor.) Ms. Newell-Furniss also gave certificates of appreciation for the local clubs to Irene Luck, for distribution to the local clubs.

Nominating Committees

Nominating Committee (free clip art)

Nominating Committee (free clip art)

From the desk of the Lt. Governor:

This is the time of year when Ruritan Clubs typically form nominating committees to come up with candidates for their local Ruritan Club’s Officers for the next year. Elections are scheduled to be held during the club’s October meetings.

As the clubs consider their candidates, they would be wise to keep in mind these important details:

Only full members “in good standing” are eligible to hold an office. By “good standing” that means good attendance, and dues are paid in full prior to the election.

Ideally the club’s secretary and treasurer would be on the nominating committee, and they would be able to discretely determine those facts before the candidate is approached.

Candidates should be made aware of the dates of both the District and National Conventions, and should be able to attend the conventions to receive important training in addition to representing their clubs during the business meetings, learn about what is going on at the National level, participate in awards ceremonies, vote on the motions being brought before the clubs, brainstorm with other Ruritan members, and enjoy some great fellowship time. If they are unable to attend the convention, they may find it difficult to perform their jobs correctly, and their clubs may suffer from the lack of representation during the business meetings.

Candidates should be given a thorough explanation of what the job entails. If they are unwilling or unable to perform the tasks, such as attending important training sessions or preparing important reports, nominating committees would be wise to consider different club members to fill the position.

Veterans To Be Honored at the Ruritan National Convention in January 2015

The following is copied and pasted from the Facebook Page “I AM Ruritan.” It is being copied here to accommodate Ruritan members that do not use Facebook. It is our hope to use this medium to spread the word (about the announcement) so that other Ruritan members that are veterans will learn about this event, and ask your club secretary to go into MMS to ensure that your military status is correct in the MMS records.

Are you one of Ruritan’s many Veterans? Are you planning on coming to Greensboro to the 2015 Ruritan National Convention? Remember that our members’ military records pull directly from our Member Management System (MMS). Make sure your veteran status is up to date in the MMS so we can properly honor you in Greensboro. If you aren’t sure how to use the MMS – one of your club members or the national office staff will be happy to help you. There are two important items: whether you are active or inactive; and which branch of the military you served in.

Note: if you are a member of the Rapidan District AND a veteran, if you are not already listed on our web page “Honoring our Veterans” we would love to include YOU on that page.  We want your name, the branch of the service you were in, the year you started, the year you ended, and which Ruritan Club in the Rapidan District you are in. We would also love to have a photograph of you to include in the the listing (preferably in uniform at the time you were in the service.) You can give us the required information by using this contact form below (if you have a photograph, let us know how to contact you so we can make arrangements to get a copy of the photograph from you):
[contact-form subject=’Rapidan Ruritan Veteran%26#039;s information contact form’][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Telephone Number’ type=’text’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]

At The Crossroads

Crossroads (free clip art)

Crossroads (free clip art)

The following article is the sole opinion of the Lt. Governor, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the entire District Cabinet, or of Ruritan National, although some of the ideas set forth are an interpretation of workshops and meetings about Publicity and Membership from the 2014 Ruritan National Convention in Branson MO.

An opinion from the desk of the Lt. Governor:

As the Ruritan Clubs look to their future, more members are realizing that their local clubs are at a critical crossroad, and difficult decisions must be made. Some clubs are struggling with membership loss for a variety of reasons, and are finding it challenging to recruit and maintain their clubs at charter strength. If the clubs are to survive, the clubs need to find a way to recruit and retain younger, enthusiastic, energetic members.

Those younger, energetic members, are members of the generations often referred to as the “Generation X” and “Generation Y” (or “Milleniums.”) Successfully marketing Ruritan to these groups of people is critical if the local Ruritan Clubs are going to survive.

Online published articles about marketing research about the Generation X target market, and marketing research about the Generation Y (Milleniums) from a well-respected source known as CRM (Customer Relationship Management) makes it clear that both of these generations are extremely technologically savvy, and are very involved in social media. Links to articles about that research are provided in the previous sentence; you can click on those links to see the articles.

These two generations are the real future of Ruritan. If Ruritan Clubs want to survive, then the clubs need to embrace that as the truth, and market themselves to those two generations. These generations use dynamic social media, such as Facebook, and Twitter. They are more likely to be attracted to a responsive, dynamic, blog-style webpage that has a calendar of upcoming events on the home page, categories, widgets, and frequent, updated blog posts about the most recent club happenings than they are to a static webpage that is essentially an announcement of “hey, we exist, come check us out” page that is attractive to previous generations. The blog-style webpage is similar in appearance, and feel to Facebook, and most of the people in these generations use Facebook a lot.

Static webpages have served their purpose well in the past, and it is understandable that the clubs might be reluctant to change them. After all, we are comfortable with them, they are our creations, and we hate change! But change is coming, whether we like it or not, and we must adapt, or cease to exist.

Some of the components of those static webpages can be preserved by creating a “sticky post” on the home page of the blog-style websites, but in the current Internet environment those completely static webpages are not going to perform as well in Google Search Engine Results Pages, Domain Authority Rankings, Google Page Rankings, Bing Rankings, Alexa Rankings as the newer blog-style websites will perform. The blog-style webpages, if created correctly, and maintained faithfully and correctly, will be more effective at reaching the Generation X and Y target markets.

There is no reason that a Ruritan Club cannot have multiple websites, targeting different markets! If the club already has a static webpage, and is happy with it, the club can create a new blog-style webpage and link it to a new or existing Facebook page. There is nothing that says a club can only have “one” webpage!

Many Ruritan clubs are at a crossroads. These clubs need to decide whether they want to attract younger members into the clubs so the clubs will survive, or if they want to just let the club memberships drop below charter level and eventually lose their charter. If the clubs want to attract younger members, then the clubs would be well advised to market their clubs to the technologically savvy, younger members through the Social Media that these younger members already use – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and blog-style websites in addition to newspapers, radio, television.

Resistance to evolution is futile. If Ruritan Clubs are to survive, we must study the changes and adapt to them, or we will not survive.