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Re: AGA stand on........

For those of you who are also on the aga-members list, you already know my
opinion on the decision made by the AGA to "officially" stay out of this
fight, so I won't bore anyone by restating it here.

But there does seem to be some continued belief that the AGA might be able
to do something about this, or about anything else affecting our hobby. The
AGA is only as effective (and as active) as its membership - there isn't any
paid "staff" who are charged with assigned tasks and/or duties. It is
_purely_ a labor of love on the part of some probably very overworked

As Roger so aptly put it by quoting Eldridge Cleaver - you are either part
of the problem or part of the solution. The AGA offers a "solution", if you
will, to those within the hobby who perceive a problem. But that solution
doesn't necessarily mean that the organization is going to formulate and/or
implement any action in and by itself.

For example, a few years ago, I felt that it might be a very good thing
(thank you Martha S......) if hobbyists from around the world had a forum to
display their aquascapes online - a place where they could share ideas and
the fruits of their labours (i.e pictures of their tanks). I posted a
message with those thoughts here on the APD and I obviously hit a chord,
because within minutes I was receiving e-mailed encouragement from a number
of people. It was my view at the time (and its still my view) that the AGA
was a natural fit as a "sponsor" of such an undertaking. But I never
expected the AGA to do it.......I didn't think that Karen (who was the AGA
Chair at the time) was going to fire off a memo along the lines of
...."great idea.....take care of it....." to someone in the AGA management.
I realized that if it was going to get done, I was going to have to be
willing to _do_ something about it myself.

With the help and input of a small band of other volunteers (you all know
who you are), we managed to pull it off. The AGA, as an organization,
offered support and guidance, and the very important financial backing that
was necessary to get the thing done. But it took over 18 months of
pre-planning to do it, and I probably pissed off most of the people who were
helping me during the process multiple times (sorry again, folks <g>).

While there _were_ two members of the AGA executive (Karen and Erik) who
were involved all the way through, and without whose cool heads it would
probably have never been fully realized, the input of the AGA Management
Committee ceased once the project had been approved. We (the volunteers)
developed a Proposal, it was submitted to the AGA MC, they debated and
discussed it, took a vote (I assume) and then I was notified to go ahead.
They supported me, but it was up to me and the folks who had volunteered to
help me to actually pull it off.

I was very happy with the results and very happy to see that it is
continuing, hopefully on an annual basis. I'm sure that Charlene Nash could
tell a similar tale regarding the Convention in Chattanooga. If you think of
something that you feel might be good for the aquaplant hobby and might
benefit other hobbyists, the AGA is a natural organization to discuss it
with. But you have to be willing to carry the ball yourself, to get your
hands dirty, so to speak. You can't expect the AGA to do it for you, nor can
you complain that the AGA doesn't do more/enough/anything for the hobby or
its members. The AGA _IS_ the members, and it is only by _members_ getting
involved, suggesting and being willing to undertake projects that the
organization can act.

I know nothing about the state of AGA finances, but I can certainly see that
there is no need to risk the health of the treasury by attempting to take on
a school yard bully in a contest of egos. Its definitely a worthy cause, but
one which can be more effectively addressed in other ways and by other

If people want the AGA to do or become something, they should join and get
involved with the organization, write articles for TAG, think up possibly
interesting experiments which might increase our knowledge of growing
aquatic plants, etc., etc..... the list is endless, but the bottom line, as
Cleaver said is to be part of the solution, not part of the problem......

James Purchase