We are getting to the end of the elections and my time is more limited as my day job (High School History Teacher) kicks into full gear.
So, before the elections close, I'd like to talk about my time with the HEMA Alliance and my terms as GC and President. Consider this my, thanks much, message. And no, I'm not entirely fleeing, I'm on the board now, but I will be stepping back to let others move forward.
It's been 4 years, 2 as your President, and has been a crazy ride. Through it all, we had buckets of issues, personality conflicts, governmental issues, insurance issues, policy issues, and at the same time were growing rapidly.
We're still figuring it out as we go along. None of us are paid to be on the GC, or board, and we spend hours trying to make the HEMAA machine work. My first year as President, I actually grew ill, gray hair, and got the shakes. The GC, do care, do work, and do try to keep this ship moving. We all go a little grey when doing good work.
It's not an easy task. HEMAA, to me, is the water company. We provide services to anyone doing HEMA, and we have a broad view of what that is. I've wanted a big tent, I've wanted more services, and I've wanted HEMAA to focus on its primary tasks, and purposefully stay out of issues, some of them important, but outside the scope of our job.
We've done much. Some, may not seem all that exciting, but was necessary to keep the organization running.
Membership used to be done by hand. We now are automated with Tidyclub and since then have (let me check...) quadrupled our membership. Those members get to vote for who helps shape HEMAA, something many organizations do not do. Those members also get discounts to vendors who like our mission and continue to partner with us, as well as discounts to events that also support our mission. Affiliates are clubs that are part of the HEMA Alliance. We've doubled since getting Tidyclub and that means there are more clubs able to do HEMAA thanks in part to the services HEMAA provides to these clubs, namely insurance and non-profit status. So, more members, getting more stuff, and more clubs being able to do what they want to do.
Safety Policy. This policy, which we continue to work on and tweak, has helped safeguard our insurance and let affiliates and members know what activities we are able to protect and what we are not.
Events Policy. This one I pressed hard for and it allows the HEMA Alliance to sponsor or support events with money in exchange for benefits for our members. Numerous events have taken advantage of this and each year we hope to expand on what HEMAA can offer to events. Longpoint, Socal, CombatCon, Brassfrog, NYFA, the Phoenx Society Charity Event, are just some of the events that have been sponsored or supported by HEMAA.
Wiktenauer. The HEMA Alliance is partnered with Wiktenauer and we used our FB page to help fund-raise for them. The FB page, with an ever-growing number of people, has been instrumental in getting the word out. We still have issues to work out, but I'm confident they will be. Be sure to thank Michael Chidester for working on the big W for so long. Michael, we got a longer dance still, you and I, thanks for sticking.
Prevented Dictatorship. I did ask the board for unlimited terms and they said no. Your democracy was saved.
Holiday Discounts. Every winter we've asked vendors for temporary discounts and each year they come through. We're going to press for long-term discounts and a better way for vendors to get something back from HEMAA. A shout out to all the vendors who have helped HEMAA members once a year, or ALL year. Thanks very much and we hope to continue working with you.
Community Building. The HEMAA works to bring HEMA people together. This has actually been a serious challenge. From the fiery forums, to that day we nuked the other FB page from orbit, it's been a struggle to stay on OUR message, invite in content, encourage people, and played neutral referees to the best of our ability. No one hugs a moderator- but you should. They are also unpaid.
Website. We got that thing working so much better! And we're still working on it and looking to expand services on the page to help clubs and members get what they need.
HEMA Alliance Instructor Certification. This was one of the first challenges during my term and we by and large pulled it off. It wasn't easy, and everyone involved in the design and implementation can tell you that. But now- it's working well and we're getting new folk all the time who want to become HEMAA Certified instructors. I was not 'sold' on the program until I saw people fail it, come back, pass it, and the thrill they had at doing so. Seeing people grow, and get recognized is a favorite of mine (see dayjob).
I'd like to thank you the community for being with us, and hope under Tidclub, now you remember to renew! (Check your promotions tab in gmail from time to time. Our election ballots may have ended up there)
I'd like to also thank all the past CC heads I've worked with, Lee Smith and Mike Edelson. The Board, past and present, Mayshar, Hunt, Feil, Norwood, Harmston and your GC members from the years past, whose names are so many it's hard to list them all, but I'll take special time to say thanks to Ben Floyd, he and I came as a pair for all four years, Rj Mckeehan, Jayson Barrons, Meg Floyd, Tracy Mellow, Myles Cupp, and all the rest.
Now- it's time to go vote and remember, when the new GC team rolls in, give them your support, let them know what you'd like to see, and remember what the HEMAA mission is.
As a final request, if I may have one from you all, go build someone up. Make someone better than you are. Help make something last. Love your HEMA brothers and sisters.
HEMA Alliance news, as well as upcoming and past events.
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