Reflections of ROA’s President as he passes the baton:
The age-old aphorism "Time flies" is as true today as it was when it was first said 5,028 years ago!
This has been a whirlwind 18 months full of challenges, hard work, meetings, successes, and disappointments, interspersed with some very enjoyable times. The ROA headquarters staff has been a joy to work with as they have always been helpful and responsive to my many questions and requests.
Although this will be my last note to you, it will not be the last you hear from me. I plan to stay active in addressing challenges including the decreasing membership, building a strong ROA Memorial Endowment Trust, developing an ROA history, and participate in CIOR and CIOMR.
My biggest concern this year has been membership. The struggle to enlist new members and to retain members whose renewal date is approaching is a constant battle. We are and have been in a crisis for several years. As long as I have been in ROA each past president has listed increasing membership as a major goal.
OK! The time is here and upon us. Although we have contractual recruiters and they have brought in new members, the total membership over the past year has declined. The consequences of the continuing falling membership are too dire to ignore. We must avoid turning into a “good old boys and girls” club that is unable to sustain itself.
Part of the reason for falling membership is that many members have died, but the principal cause is that we have failed to retain those members whose membership is expiring and attract a large cadre of new, energetic members who will carry the flag.
It is time for the Departments to roll up their sleeves, step up to the plate and help. At the very least each Department should make a welcoming phone call or send a personalized email to new members and make phone reminders to those members whose membership is about to expire. Several Departments already do this and it works.
The other big item we tackled this year has been the update of the Constitution and Bylaws. It was a three-year Herculean task of our working group, but also by the EXCOM, the National Council, the C&B Committee, most departments and many individual members. All of this input was reviewed, resulting in the Executive Committee's version discussed at the convention this week. The process at the convention has been orderly and respectful, and I thank our delegates for that.
On a final note, I would like to express my thanks to Gen. Bockel and Diane Markham and the entire staff, with whom I have worked most closely on a week-to-week basis. They are all true professionals who have only the interests of ROA and its future at heart. I would also like to thank Lt. Col. Don Stockton, for your outstanding dedication to the National Council! Col. Patillo was an excellent role model while I was president-elect and I thank him. Col. Williams will soon be taking over and I wish him the best of luck.
To the membership, Thank you for electing me and the opportunity to serve you.
Paul T. Kayye, MC, USNR (Ret.)
ROA Past National President 2009 - 2011
President's and Executive Director's Annual Report CY2010