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American Mensa Region 10

RVC Column

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April 2021

The agenda for the American Mensa Committee (AMC) meeting for March 20, 2021 was not posted until early March, so I was unable to get that information to the local group newsletters for the March issues. Additionally, the meeting occurred after the deadline for the April newsletters, so those of you who would want to read about it here would not see that until the May newsletter, over a month after the meeting. While local group newsletters are an important tool for groups to share their own activities and articles by and for the members, over the past few years they have become increasingly inadequate for producing timely information about national news. For those of you who want to be kept apprised, I strongly suggest you make sure you read the Mensa Wired e-newsletter that is emailed out during the third week of each month. To ensure that you receive it, please visit https://www.us.mensa.org/read/enewsletters/ to manage your subscription settings. I will also post information on the Mensa Region 10 Facebook group when it is available, though I realize the percentage of you in that group is small. Please visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/MensaRegion10 to request to be added.

As mentioned last month, the AMC Budget webinar was held on March 17, and by the time you read this the recording should be posted on the national website at https://www.us.mensa.org/lead/amc/amc-webinars/. The budget presentation will also be available under the AMC Meeting Reports at https://www.us.mensa.org/lead/amc/meeting-reports/ under the 2021-03-20 dropdown, along with all other presentations from the March meeting, including the Membership report, which will include results from the recent Member Satisfaction Survey, and a Leadership Development report by 2nd Vice Chair Billie Lee.

(As an aside, I found out a couple of days ago that Julie Warriner of Palm Beach Area Mensa participated in the analysis of the data from the Member Satisfaction Survey, and wanted to express my appreciation for her volunteering at the national level. Thanks, Julie!)

The agenda for the March meeting seemed daunting at first -- 61 pages! Since most of that document was contained in the appendices, the actual agenda was only seven pages long (still substantial). Of the 17 motions included, nine were included in the Consent Agenda (covering six of the nine appendices). The remaining eight concerned adopting the 2021-2022 AML (American Mensa Ltd.) budget, three regarding Hearings (Regional, National, and Acts Inimical), a modification to the RVC replacement procedure, an expansion of the limitations for the use of RVC discretionary funds, adoption of event safety standards, and scheduling rules for Annual Gatherings regarding Regional Meet-And-Greets.


Until next month (or until I see you online),

Thomas George Thomas
Email: RVC10@us.mensa.org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thomas.g.thomas
https://www.facebook.com/groups/MensaRegion10/
Twitter: @FardleBear

March 2021

While most of my columns have been focused on national topics, there are a few Region 10 specific items to note:

Congratulations go to Julie Warriner of Palm Beach Area Mensa who was appointed as the Region 10 Scholarship Chair, and our thanks go out to Albia Duggar of Miami Mensa who served in that capacity for the past two years. Also, Tampa Bay Mensa has a new Local Secretary: Welcome Lisa Blair, and thanks to Arthur Schwartz for his past service in that position.

Back in December the results of the CultureQuest XXXI competition were announced, and three Region 10 teams came back winners! Florida Panhandle Mensa Team with Captain David Howard (Northwest Florida Mensa) came in tied for second, Tragic Kingdom with Captain Bill Horton (Central Florida Mensa) took 10th place, and Jumping Jax with Captain Brenda Weiler (Mensa of Jacksonville) was tied for 17th place. Each team won funds for their local group that more than covered their registration fees, plus bragging rights for the next year. Because the virtual approach worked out so well last year, they will continue with that format for CultureQuest XXXII in 2021. I hope we can see more of you on the leaderboard next time.

____________________________________

Back to national news, National Volunteer Week will be April 18-24, 2021. This is when we traditionally hold Mensa Cares! events, sponsored by the Community Service Committee. While these sorts of events have been difficult to plan since the pandemic hit because social distancing makes group events impractical, this is where Mensa ingenuity comes in handy. What sorts of innovative projects can you come up with to highlight Mensa's contributions to our communities? Local groups get Jewel Award credit for Mensa Cares! projects, and it shows the community that Mensa is more than just an elitist club. Although most events are scheduled in April, you can hold Mensa Cares! events anytime throughout the year. You can see examples of projects created by other local groups by visiting https://www.us.mensa.org/volunteer/community-service/

From an administrative standpoint, the Finance and Audit Committee held their budget meetings in February, and a webinar will be presented for members in early March so you can provide feedback if you wish prior to the March AMC meeting where the budget will be presented for approval. At the time of writing, I do not know when the webinar will be held, but I will post that on the Mensa Region 10 Facebook group as soon as I know. Members can join that group by going to https://www.facebook.com/groups/MensaRegion10

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the AMC will be held on Saturday, March 20, 2021. We have determined that this meeting will again be virtual, and while I do not have the details on how to attend yet, I will also post that information on the Mensa Region 10 Facebook group when it is available.

At some point in the future, we will return to in-person meetings. Based on the candidate roster for the AMC Election, there could be anywhere between two and seven new members (out of fifteen) on the board, and an in-person meeting would be necessary for orientation in July when the new board takes office. In the meantime, information about the candidates has already been posted at https://www.us.mensa.org/lead/amc/elections/2021-election-portal/ . To vote in this election, you must renew your membership before the end of the fiscal year on March 31. Don't put it off!


Until next month (or until I see you online),

Thomas George Thomas
Email: RVC10@us.mensa.org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thomas.g.thomas
https://www.facebook.com/groups/MensaRegion10/
Twitter: @FardleBear

February 2021

I hope that you are all doing as well as can be expected. I have heard sad reports of some members having contracted COVID recently while at a local gathering, but on the positive side I'm also hearing reports of members who are beginning to receive the vaccines. Stay safe as we dig our way out of this -- we will meet again in person eventually!


As noted in my previous column, the quarterly meeting of the American Mensa Committee (AMC) was held on Saturday, December 12, 2020 via GoToMeeting. During this session, we voted upon 10 actions:

  • Approval of the minutes of the 7/20/2020 meeting,

  • Approval of the minutes of the 9/29/2020 meeting,

  • Approval of the minutes of the 11/20/2020 meeting,

  • Passed a procedure making publication of mini-minutes official (in the past this has been done by the Secretary without an official requirement),

  • Denied a motion to set a budget cap on administrative and general (overhead) costs,

  • Passed a motion to amend the Hearings process to add RVCs to the list of those who can file charges on behalf of a member,

  • Passed a motion to limit the charge of the Awards Committee to national-level service to Mensa,

  • Passed a motion to set objectives for the charge for the SIGs (Special Interest Groups) Committee,

  • Passed a motion to modify the charge of the Strategic Planning Committee, and

  • Passed a motion to change the conditions for eligibility in the Research Review Guidelines.

In addition, we received a presentation from AMC Treasurer Taz Criss, discussing the impacts of the pandemic on our finances (revenue is down, but expenses are also down, resulting in a net projected increase over our budget in our bottom line for 2020). Not the way we would like to achieve a benefit, seeing that it involved decreases in programs for our members and our testing programs, but we expect to be back on track as we ease out of pandemic mode by the middle of 2021. Taz also explained the 2021-22 budget process and timeline, with the preliminary budget to be presented to the Finance Committee in early February, reviewed by mid-February, presented to the membership via webinar (date to be determined), and voted on by the AMC at our March meeting.

Mini-Minutes for this meeting, along with the Treasurer and Executive Director presentations and a recording of the proceedings, are available on the national website at us.mensa.org/lead/amc/meeting-reports/ and selecting 2020-12-12 -- Teleconference from the dropdown. You can also find the minutes for the previous three meetings via the dropdowns for each of those sessions.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the AMC will be held on Saturday, March 20, 2021. We are still discussing whether this meeting will be virtual, in-person, or a hybrid of the two. I intend to provide more information on that in my next column.


Until next month (or until I see you online),

Thomas George Thomas
Email: RVC10@us.mensa.org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thomas.g.thomas
https://www.facebook.com/groups/MensaRegion10/
Twitter: @FardleBear

January 2021

Happy New Year to everyone in Region 10! 2020 was an extraordinarily difficult year for so many, but there are signs that we may be able to resume some of our regular activities in a few months. The 2021 World Gathering is still ramping up for August, with LeVar Burton scheduled as the Gala Dinner speaker. In the meantime, there are several virtual events throughout our Region, with Palm Beach Area Mensa hosting a monthly speaker meeting (December's was with member Tereen Hough speaking on Travel Hacks), and Tampa Bay Mensa hosting a monthly Book Club with a wide-ranging cross of genres, from mysteries to sociology, fantasy to biography, and Florida capers to character studies. Many of these events have been posted in the Region 10 Facebook group. While Zoom fatigue is an issue for some, these have provided an opportunity for other members who have not been able to meet -- even before the pandemic -- to participate with other members.


The quarterly meeting of the American Mensa Committee (AMC) was held on Saturday, December 12, 2020. Due to early seasonal newsletter deadlines, I am writing this column before the meeting and cannot provide a report at this time, but by the time you read this the mini-minutes will have been posted online at https://www.us.mensa.org/lead/amc/meeting-reports/ .

There are seven motions in the agenda for this meeting, including

a) making the procedure for publication of mini-minutes official (in the past this has been done by the Secretary without an official requirement),

b) to set a budget cap on administrative and general (overhead) costs,

c) to amend the Hearings process to add RVCs to the list of those who can file charges on behalf of a member,

d) to limit the charge of the Awards Committee to national-level service to Mensa,

e) to set objectives for the charge for the SIGs Committee,

f) to modify the charge of the Strategic Planning Committee, and

g) to change the conditions for eligibility in the Research Review Guidelines.


Petitions for the 2021 American Mensa Election process have been posted at https://www.us.mensa.org/lead/amc/elections/candidate-petitions. Members have the opportunity to electronically sign any and all of the petitions for National Office (Chair, First Vice Chair, Second Vice Chair, Treasurer, and Secretary) and the Regional Vice Chair (RVC) for their Region. By logging in and selecting a petition, you can add your signature with a single click, so the process is very simple. At this time my petition is the only one posted for Region 10 Vice Chair, but any member interested in running for that position (or for any National position) may still submit their own petition through January 31.

In order to qualify for the ballot, a candidate for national office must obtain 250 signatures of members in good standing as of December 1, 2020, and a candidate for Regional Vice Chair must obtain 100 signatures of members in good standing from their Region.


The Mensa International special referendum election has ended, and all three referenda were passed. As a result, an international board member is now limited to a two-term maximum, with a half-term considered a full term, and the election committee is appointed the year prior to an election year rather than on even-numbered years.


Until next month (or until I see you online),

Thomas George Thomas
Email: RVC10@us.mensa.org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thomas.g.thomas
https://www.facebook.com/groups/MensaRegion10/
Twitter: @FardleBear

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