I had the pleasure of attending the USPC National Conference again this year and can tell you that it was a fabulous event! I strongly encourage our pony clubbers and families to consider attending in future years. Next year's meeting will occur in Portland, OR, but hopefully it will come east after that. Some of the sessions my daughter and I got to attend were:
In addition to all that fun stuff, I attended a day and a half of the RS meeting which covered a huge array of material. I've provided my notes on those topics below. Please pay special attention to the last paragraph which covers safety training!!!
I hope that more people from our region will consider attending in the future (especially as it comes further east). My daughter and I met many, many pony clubbers, volunteers and leaders that we plan on staying in touch with. And the enthusiasm of the larger Pony Club family was wonderful.
WNE Region Secretary
RS Meeting Notes
USPC National Conference
Activity releases do not need to be signed for each rally by current Pony Club member participants. The activity release has been incorporated into the national Membership for both new and renewing members. However, non-members who participate in a Pony Club event would still need to sign the activity release.
e-Membership – a new program has been developed to promote Pony Club for those members of the community who wish to participate in Pony Club, but not at the traditional member level. E-Membership is offered as a way of introducing and fostering a love of horses and horsemanship for those non-horse owning, horse loving kids who perhaps don’t have the means or access to traditional pony club membership.
Lorelei Coplen, Governance Committee Chair, is looking for “good ideas” to develop and bring forward. If those “good ideas” include how to resource and fund them, all the better. One of the topics of discussion was how to make the RS position more manageable. There has been some conversation around centralizing certain functions, like management of the treasury (using software accessible to all).
Note that going forward, there will be an increase in cost for clubs, centers and regions at the National level. Whereas in 2013 there was a $25 fee paid by each club and each region, in 2014 that fee will rise to $100 per club and per region. The Centers pay considerably more per year in renewal ($100?) and will also pay an additional $100 in 2014.
The new RS Handbook is available, for both printing and online. The online version supplies links to USPC website holding the area of the handbook in context so that it can be returned to. There is a very handy RS timeline, by month, to assist the RS in knowing what needs to be done at appropriate times. All of the regional executive officers should become familiar with the contents of the handbook.
A presentation was done regarding by-laws and Policies. It was again suggested that all regional executive officers should become intimately familiar with the by-laws and policies or at the very least, understand where they can be referenced. It was also suggested that the RS get a blank copy of a Center Contract for Reference as they have different rules governing them. Lastly, it was strongly recommended that all regional meetings be run in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order, available on the USPC website.
A move has been made to have National Championship entries occur online. The RS will have the responsibility for entering chaperone and volunteer information. Teams can be entered and can be done partially, with the information held until the full team in known and can be committed. There will be a check-out feature allowing for all teams to be paid for at once, with a regional credit card. The coaches and chaperone forms will still need to be printed out, signed and mailed in along with a copy of the paid printed receipt for the team entry. Suggestions for changing/enhancing championship participation:
Qualify for champs at champs?
Allow 11-13yr old D3’s to participate?
Off non-championship classes/rounds at Championships, to gain attendance and to increase revenue?
In 2012, Eastern Champs made $8,000 (falling every year, used to make a lot for the National organization and Western Champs made $12,000 (after threatening to lose $30,000 and taking extreme measures to pull it off and not lose money)
There was a frank discussion around the fact that Championships are becoming a break even event for the National Organization. Western Championships have not been well attended and were almost cancelled in 2012. With membership declining each year (a 4% decline between 2012 and 2013), there is a need to evaluate what our members want out of Championships. Is this still something that riders aspire to? What holds back riders from entering? The organization went from 13,000 members in 1999 to a little under 9,000 in 2013. In 2012 USPC lost $250,000 on an operating basis, in 2011 it was $230,000. A large part of this is due to declining membership and declining participation in Championships. The average retention rate for a club member is ~2 yrs. Last year, there were 1700 unrated members. Why?? That represents almost 15% of total membership.
State level tax filing – Each club has the responsibility of registering with the state. They must have a business license as well as a charitable registration. There was again a great deal of discussion for finding a centralized solution to the treasurer’s software issue. Should there be only a single Regional EIN, not individual club EINs? We need to make sure that each and every club treasurer belongs to the Treasurer Digest.
Safety Discussion – There is an area of the USPC website that all club, center and regional parents, volunteers, coaches and officers should become familiar with. Training is available and recommended in regards to concussion and heat illness. Links to training in both areas are available under the Safety tab on the USPC website. USPC recommends that all RIC’s, HMO’s, RS’s, DC/JDC/CA’s and all parents, volunteers and coaches take both of the training courses and become familiar with the handouts and resources. The USPC website can be found at www.ponyclub.org and the saftey training information can be found by clicking on the Safety tab in the main menu. It would also be a great course for our C level pony clubbers to take and then present back to their respective clubs!!
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