President General Larry Guzy's Inaugural Remarks
Our future is GROWTH. Growth in younger members, in retained members, in previously not active members,
and in our communities where we will be more engaged.
I am proposing a goal of 64,000 members by the celebration of the 250th anniversary of the
Declaration of Independence—2026—nine years from now. At a growth rate of about 9% per year, we can reach this goal.
Committees are organized, re-organized, and dedicated to finding ways to impact growth in what they and we already do. We can do this.
There are many things we could have done to affect our growth, we just have not made growth a prime goal in the past. We will now. I understand the reasons others—even the DAR—say “What is the SAR? I’ve never heard of it.” It is simply that we have hidden our light, until now. Our communications through bi-weekly email, our committees, and training will begin to show us how to grow and uncover our reason for being.
Here are just a few ideas that may affect Growth.
1. Let’s present the recognition awards we make to individuals at the organizations where the recipients belong so their members see we exist rather than have them come to our meetings for our own edification.
2. Let’s have information tables at all meetings held in a hotel so others in the hotel can see, and ask about what we do.
3. Let’s return to participating in national genealogical society’s conventions so those in those communities see we exist, are active and want them to join us.
4. We will assist Chapters and States in publicity and branding through our website, and new committees for Branding and Engagement, and Community Engagement.
5. We will develop training programs for Chapter Registrars and Prime Recruiters so they can find and assist more men in joining.
6. We will make more of the Liberty Medal recipients—those who recruit 10 or multiples of 10—rather than just have them pick up their medal at Head Quarters. They are our dedicated recruiters.
7. Perhaps we can develop a Volunteer Service Hour program so Chapters can show to their community, in service hours, all the things they already do, and impact others who see service as a reason to join.
8. Think Generation X, those just behind the baby boomers. They value personal connections, humor and fun. They are not workaholics like the Boomers. Think Millennials who want to join something where they can serve and make a difference. They look for ways to get involved. Then there is Generation Z—those after the Millennials. They also want to make a positive impact. All service oriented, we must offer something other than what we are doing if we are to attract any of these groups—our future!
9. I have reformed the Younger Members Committee under Compatriot Les Magee to be for those of us 40 and under, sorry most of you who had been members before, you are well over that limit. This will be an internet based committee with no need to attend Leadership. They will communicate electronically and let us know what we can do to engage them, and what they can do for us. They are the future. If you have members in their twenties or thirties, get them to be part of this committee, there is no limit to membership, just a desire to connect.
You are our core. Without a strong core, everything else is hard. You, our core and leaders, are incredibly talented and capable. We need to empower you to use your talents. What you bring to the SAR through your life experiences allows us to build on a great foundation. With your talent and abilities, I have no doubt you can make growth happen and reach 64,000 by 2026. We can do this.
You and I know that there are things that we must address. One of my favorite cartoons of all time is “Pogo”. His statement “We have met the enemy and he is us” transcends time and organizations. We have been our own enemy in communicating, training, and engaging our own members.
When we hear our Compatriots respond to surveys, and comment on the infrastructures that have recently been put into place, you realize we have not done a very good job of communicating. Do YOU realize that YOU, our core leaders, as TRUSTEES are in fact, the owner of all things National? Those of us who are General Officers or headquarters staff are supposed to manage the decisions you make, not make them for you. Through communications, training and engaging our members, the future will turn around the perception of Who is National, and empower members to voice their concerns to you, our elected Corporate Trustees.
We will embark on a program of training for Trustees as well as General Officers. Being part of the complex structure of a large non-profit corporation, this will need to be a major focus from now on. Empowering Trustees to ask questions so their decisions are informed and meaningful will be hard, but in the end, the right thing to do. We can do this.
Not many of us relish change. However, there are changes we must make because some things are not working properly. I mentioned no new projects, and no new fundraising earlier because we need to focus on growth. We will refocus on the Society and re-evaluate everything we do in the light of how it affects our mission, such as:
1. The Solid Light Project with expenditures of over half a million dollars, and a very long way to go if this would ever be a project we could support;
2. The Online Application System and our Website both of which have and continue to consume large amounts of our financial resources;
3. Whether the SAR Foundation can fulfil the mandates for which it was created;
4. Learning that our non-profit corporation actually needs managing by our Officers and Trustees.
Well, you can begin to see that we have some things to address. The good news is we have identified the enemy and indeed HE IS US! We can do this. With patience, direct communication, and dedication, we will continue to build for the future and reach 64,000 by 2026.
The “We descendants of the Heroes of the American Revolution” is not just those of us who can trace lineal descent, but also our immigrant or first-generation wives, our neighbors and friends, and all our fellow Americans. The American Revolution is our Shared Legacy of what it is to be American.
Our “National Identity” was forged by the Declaration of Independence and the War that was fought to solidify it. We as a Nation should be forever grateful to those who believed enough to support it through whatever means. It is up to us to perpetuate the meaning of The American Revolution, and thereby grow our Society. We can do this.
By the Patriots’ sacrifices they established the United State of America. We can honor them by sharing our National Identity and grow our Society at the same time.
Although we will officially end Congress with the recessional in a few minutes, I would like all to stand with me and think about its meaning.
“Until we meet again, let us remember our obligations to our forefathers who gave us our Constitution, the Bill of Rights, an Independent Supreme Court, and a Nation of Free Men.”
President General Larry Guzy