This post comes from K. Scott Wood, VE1QD, RAC Assistant Director, Halifax Region who is the chair of the Maritime DX Forum:
On August 6 and 7, the Halifax Amateur Radio Club was very pleased to host this year’s RAC AGM and Forum. It was part of our annual Maritime DX Forum and attracted a large part of our audience of almost 70 people.
All of us who have many years in amateur radio, and have followed the ups and downs of our national organization, were delighted with the presentation of President Geoff Bawden and several other members of the Executive. There was an openness and candour about the precarious status of RAC and a willingness to recognize past errors and shortcomings. However, what most grabbed my attention was a clear commitment to not wallow in the past, but rather shift our gaze to the future.
Beginning with an acknowledgement of the vital importance of our national organization to securing and advancing our interests, RAC revealed that a process of transformation was indeed underway. John Bartlett, VE1OZ/HK3OZ and former RAC VP, has been asked to facilitate the process. If you haven’t yet seen them, John has written 12 short pieces that provide a framework for thinking about and approaching the task. You should look at his excellent material. You can find them on either the RAC website (see RAC Blog) or HARC’s website www.halifax-arc.org. The objective is to obtain the changes necessary for RAC to become a truly respected and effective force for advancing amateur radio in Canada.
The core of John’s approach is simple. One, acknowledge failures of the past and the factual status of the organization, BUT do not dwell on the past. We won’t be able to get to the future by just fixing this and that! Two, engage the membership as broadly as possible, since a “top down approach” is definitely not what is needed. In fact, many would argue, this is a part of the past needing reform. Moreover, RAC belongs to every amateur so change needs to be defined by us. Three, we need to dream creatively about what we want RAC to be. Four, given some commonly agreed upon dream or future, what steps will we need to take in order to get there? Five, since everything needed to create a new future cannot be done all at once, the steps will need to be sorted out or given priorities, and including figuring out what steps will depend upon something happening first. Finally, an Action Plan can emerge that will focus RAC’s efforts in a strategic way, i.e. that will maximize the chances of us realizing the desired future.
I commend Geoff Bawden and his team for opening up RAC, shaking things up and launching a process of change. I also applaud John Bartlett’s courage in laying out a path that we can follow. However, without the commitment of current RAC members and the recruitment of many more, the process of transformation will not happen. Moreover, for those who think that RAC needs to die before being reborn, I would caution against a faith that a new organization would emerge from the rubble. Moreover, let’s not throw out the baby with the bath water! RAC has many positive elements on which we can build a better future.
I am one of a very large number of Assistant RAC Directors and represent the Halifax region. I think that our role is to be the eyes and ears on the ground for the Regional Directors. RAC Section Managers are another key group. In any case, collectively we are two layers of the RAC organization that are closest to the grassroots. How can we help move this vital process along?
I will make a presentation and lead a discussion at HARC’s September 15th meeting. My expectation is not that this will do it, but rather that this will start a dialogue in Halifax. In fact, I think that I will recommend that the large number of hams in the Halifax Regional Municipality who head off to Timmy’s most mornings for coffee do some of the dreaming at this other national institution! I expect it will be necessary to have a few meetings before this corner of our vast country might have something to share. I hope that others will do the same and that we can collectively make change happen. One day I would like to look back and be able to say: “I’ll be damned. We did it!”
K. Scott Wood, VE1QD -RAC Assistant Director, Halifax Region
and Chair, Maritime DX Forum
Halifax Amateur Radio Club