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Re: VDA at 90, AKA at 40 (ramble)
> What if the host club this year, instead of trying to have a bigger and
> better fish show and bigger and better awards and spending time giving out
> all the meaningless awards the AKA now has, what if they spent real time
> making a Convention book on the AKA's history?
> Now before everyone jumps down my throat for putting out an idea without
volunteering to do it ...
I'd rather not jump down your throat Robert. Kind of a tight fit. ;)
And it is an interesting idea.
Has the 2002 host club been announced yet? Rather than stick them with that
project when it is tough enough just hosting an AKA National, why not gather
a couple of others to create a workshop? I know *ad hock committee* sounds
like the gargling noise someone makes when getting stuck with another
In this age of scanners, CD-ROM burners and attachments to e-mail assembling
such a presentation is certainly easier than in the past. Interviews or
panels or selected reminiscences might be intertwined without exhausting the
organizers. A video projector and lap-top might be borrowed to shoot visuals
on a screen.
A bit of free non-binding free advice (and as several sages on this list
would point out - worth every cent of it) might be to have the 40th
anniversary celebration after the dinner. I would disagree with RE as to the
worthlessness of the various special awards - as a matter of fact several of
them could even be plugged into the program in order to illustrate a lot of
our organizational and hobby history.
Often we invite a really significant scientist or hobbyist to be our after
dinner speaker on a pretty heavy subject. It might be even better to feature
our "big names" at 10 AM or 2 PM in the afternoon Saturday when their
potential audiences would be at their largest and most alert. It could be
more of an honor to be a speaker then.
Both as a host club participant and just as a convention attendee, I have
felt a little disrespectful of speakers when, owing to a very long day, full
stomach and informational overload, I haven't been able to pay the attention
due to after dinner programs that often have a lot to say to us about
killies, their study or the crafts of collecting and keeping them. That as a
matter of fact is why we asked Charlie Grimes to do the post dinner honors
in Chicago in '99. It seemed appropriate to change the pace and just sit
back and have some fun.
A mix of stories, photos and memorabilia (or a tightly organized narrative
with visuals and sound bites) might be a neat cap to Saturday. Undoubtedly
it could lead to a lot of recollections for old timers and to a growing
understanding of what has happened for newer members.
Care needs to be taken. There is also some hurt feelings and resentment out
there. In '91, when finishing my hitch as AKA secretary, I almost took up
(then JAKA Editor) George Slusarczuk's challenge to write a sequel to Al
Klee's account of the founding of the AKA. Other things (growing kids, aging
and increasingly frail parents, a much heavier set of job demands - all the
usual culprits) caused me to back off.
Daunting too were a really disillusioning conflict encountered on the board
that year and in making some preliminary contacts and inquiries on that
project. Some folks were very open to contributing. George however shared a
really bitter letter from a former AKA stalwart he had contacted. Briefly
and politely summarized, it said, "go away." Evidentially a number of people
have burned out after being hazed for their performances in voluntary and
too often thankless jobs.
Actually a lot of old timers are still around. This list has welcomed back
several people who have been away from killies and are back. (Killies do get
into the blood.) Compared to a number of other groups and avocations, the
informal killie hobby and formal organizations have hung on to quite a
An acquaintance was asked to hire on some years ago to write the history of
a church over in Hammond, Indiana. "Why me?" was met by the explanation that
he was that he was a history major, familiar with churches and probably his
name was in the book. "But I don't know your particular congregation" was
met with, yes but you can learn from interviews and documents and if you
leave someone out or err, people will get mad at you and not the local
Ideally it might be nice to recruit someone, with a more open perspecrtive,
outside the AKA to assemble such a presentation. Lacking that, it could be
done in house. The fact that Robert is suggesting it 10 months (or 22
months) before the convention makes it more do-able. Everyone involved would
have to agree to be forgiving, in some cases let by-gones be by-gones, allow
others the same toleration we would like for ourselves and to hear out the
other perspective - all the stuff necessary in running a viable organization
This list and a lot of the killie related Internet resources have been
brought to us often by people who have gotten involved in the hobby during
the '90s. That talent would be invaluable in assembling the finished
It might just be that whoever hosts the 2002 national would be pleased to
have a time slot filled. If not, and people will disregard the tyranny of
the calendar, 2003 could be a good time for a retrospective.
All the best,
Time challenged Old Fart who, um, has a scanner, burner...
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