Dave Hayes, VE3JX, sent me an email ver the weekend that is very typical of the many positive comments we’re received over the last couple of weeks. Thought I’d post his email (with Dave’s permission) which will join all of the other comments that will help form the future discussions about where RAC is going to go.
Greetings Peter (& John),
I must apologize for not writing sooner, since I have just become aware of this important discussion going on. (I found out about it from a message sent on one of the ARES groups.)
Firstly, do not get discouraged quickly if you feel that there should be more response than what you’ve had. It is summer and many things get put on hold. Hopefully, we will see more input come September and forward.
I want to say that this whole process, as described by John in his 7-part blurb (or 9-, depending if you count the last two messages), is an opportunity of a lifetime for all to build the kind of organization that they want. If there is any time that RAC management is listening, it is now.
That is not to say that I have been displeased with RAC or its governance; I am not. However, this process should make RAC even more attractive than it already is.
RAC has not been, is not, and never will be, a perfect organization. It is a product of imperfect human origin and as such is flawed itself. Nonetheless, I believe it has honestly tried to represent, in the best way possible, the interests of amateur radio in Canada.
My experience has also been positive with respect to communication with RAC managers. While most of my ideas have not been utilized, I have been given a courteous reception of them.
I am also not blind. I can see how hardworking many of our past & present executive have been. They have been selfless in their dedication to our RAC. Such volunteers have to be appreciated and respected for their timeless devotion to us. If people only took the time to honestly appraise what RAC has done with the very limited resources it has had, the old saying of Winston Churchill in his speech about the Battle of Britain would perhaps ring in their ears: “Never . . . was so much owed by so many to so few.”
I have heard the old phrase, “Old Boy’s Club” applied to RAC management, ad nauseum. My experience has been the opposite. If approached in a decent manner, response from RAC managers has been very positive and gracious. Are they all perfect gentlemen? Hardly. Do they answer every email or query sent? No. But, mostly they do, especially if one is attacking a problem rather than a person. Their attention is even more keen if a positive suggestion is included with the identification of a problem.
However, this is all rather superfluous rambling on my part. Let the process begin to make RAC the place every Canadian amateur wants to be. In the past, the problem has been perception of what RAC is like. This process will be a start in changing the negative perception people now have of our organization to a positive one; that of RAC being their organization, because they will have helped make it so. The trouble is: how do we involve them all?
This is the onerous task that falls in your lap, Peter. The only suggestion I can make is an obvious one: make as much use as you can of club Presidents and club newsletter editors. They can be a local extension of your arm to disseminate the invitation to join in the transformation process. You are already trying to do that, I suspect. Also available is an extensive field organization through which to promulgate the message. That too is being used, I believe.
Now onto the Process, and the dream. I like your dream, Peter; it seems to have covered all bases. Transparency is an important feature of any membership organization, particularly financials, as you’ve mentioned. Most of your dream would be my dream as well.
The American Radio Relay League is a fine organization. I am currently a member of it, as I am also of RAC. The prospect was raised of going back to ARRL to represent us. That would be, in my view, a mistake. We have to work hard in managing our own household rather than relying on “big brother” to bail us out of our internal squabbling.
I have great admiration and respect for ARRL; RAC can learn (and has learned) a lot from its operations, its “customer service”, its transparency.
All the same, it is an American organization created for Americans. There are times when U.S. amateur interests are not the same as Canadian amateur interests. An example would be the expansion of the 80m US phone sub-band. Therefore, our interests, as Canadians, are best represented by a Canadian organization. To give up on that notion is to say that we are not mature enough as a people to look after our own house.
Current RAC Structure
Some have charged that RAC’s current structure is backward, dictatorial, etc. In essence, RAC’s structure somewhat mirrors that of the ARRL, with a few differences. Can it be made better? I’m sure it can. But, don’t put all the blame on RAC for its internal structure. RAC had to start somewhere, and they tried to incorporate much of the way the successful ARRL was run. We can change it where it is advisable.
Let RAC Die!
This is rather dumb in my view. It is a defeatist attitude. RAC is my organization, or rather, RAC is OURS! Therefore, if we are upset with the way RAC is at present, don’t just give it away to those who are, in one’s view, ruining it. We need RAC, and RAC needs us; more so now than at anytime in the past. Let us be up to the challenge of rebuilding our organization into something we can all love. My message to all Canadian amateurs would be: “I already love RAC; add your input so that you can love it too.”
John: Thanks for giving us a roadmap on how to do this.
Dave Hayes VE3JX