AAW September Monthly Bulletin from Phil McDonald, Executive Director

Chapter Bulletin - September

September 2, 2014


I am sending this Chapter Bulletin to the top four AAW chapter officers identified in our current officer directory. I encourage you to share this communication with other chapter leaders who did not receive it directly because then it will reach an audience of more than 2,000 AAW chapter leaders.

This Chapter Bulletin is the first in what will become an ongoing series of monthly bulletins from the AAW headquarters. The need for relevant, ongoing communication from the AAW was among the many important service and communication improvement recommendations identified in planning with our chapters over the past eight months.

My goal is to furnish chapter officers with relevant information about the AAW educational mission and areas under focus by the AAW Board, as well as highlight new resources as AAW makes them available, and begin a mutual exchange of woodturning information and ideas. All of the informational items and resources referenced in these monthly bulletins will also be published in a new section of the AAW website created for chapter officers.

I recently returned from a weekend in Waco, Texas, having attended my second SWAT Regional Symposium. Regional symposiums play an important role in serving our community because they offer a convenient opportunity to experience the best of woodturning first-hand. The AAW cannot accomplish this alone due to the scale and the limited geographic location of our annual international symposium.

I cannot say enough great things about the quality of the experience the regional symposiums present. For SWAT in particular, I want to thank Wayne Furr and his talented team for the excellent service experience and for being such great hosts. One very special take-away from Texas was the clear expression of support by so many woodturners who contributed to the Beads of Courage cause. Seeing all of the donated turned work destined to bring joy to kids who are critically ill was a highly emotional experience.

The CRI work group issued their report to the AAW Board in mid-April. Their recommendations were a central topic during the annual chapter meeting held in Phoenix. AAW is poised to begin work on the specific actions and programs called for in the report. This bulletin is a direct response to the call from our chapters for the AAW to deliver more frequent, relevant information about the association and what it has to offer in terms of our broader mission of woodturning education. We have assembled a work plan with deliverable dates for implementation of specific activities and outcomes. Read complete work plan.

Another high priority item chapters asked for was for tools and assistance to help promote the benefits of AAW membership. Our work to recast the value of AAW membership is underway. We’ve designed a new welcome section on our website containing a wealth of information about membership. The collective value of existing publications available with a new membership exceeds $120 – for a cost as low as $45 (for an online membership).

We understand the prevalence of the question, “Why join AAW?” And, our strategy is to more visibly demonstrate how we are continuing to deliver more value and woodturning content to meet the needs of a diverse range of members. We have doubled our yearly publications count by complementing the six annual issues of American Woodturner with six issues of the Woodturning Fundamentals online magazine. As you may have heard, the publisher of Woodturning Design magazine recently announced they are going out of business. Our expanded publications will also help to fill any remaining gaps in the market for hands-on projects and information to help build foundational woodturning skills as a result of their absence.

Information about our upcoming membership renewal will be included in the next Chapter Bulletin in October. Each chapter president will receive five extra copies of the American Woodturner journal which will be delivered by UPS in early October. We ask that you make these journals available for club members during an upcoming meeting.

Total attendance at the 2014 AAW Phoenix symposium was 1,187. This was about 5% lower than projected. Paid attendance was lower still, so we benefited greatly from the additional participation by 129 chapters who responded to our complimentary president registration offer. This offer is likely to be extended for the 2015 symposium in Pittsburgh.

From the perspective of our attendees, the symposium was overwhelmingly successful. As indicated in the attendee survey, the overall approval rating (of excellent/very good) exceeded 90% for the second year in a row. The feedback from attendees also confirmed the high importance that members place on the line-up of demonstrators, trade show, galleries and exhibitions. Read the complete survey results.

We have also posted summary notes of the annual chapters meeting which was held during the Sunday morning session in Phoenix on the new Chapter Officer page. Read summary notes.

Linda Ferber, AAW Program Director, has spearheaded a new program designed for and about woodturning education for youth and students ages 10 to 25. The plan is to develop a comprehensive library of resources, including teaching curriculum, project information, best practices and more. Additional information about this program will follow in subsequent months, but I want to direct your attention to the new “Turning to the Future” section on the AAW website. If you have ideas or thoughts about youth and student education, please contact Linda at linda@woodturner.org.

The AAW will continue to offer scholarships for quality woodturning instruction. This year, twenty-eight scholarships will be awarded for selected AAW chapter members to attend classes at either John C. Campbell Folk School (folkschool.org), or Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts  (arrowmont.org).

To qualify for a scholarship, nominees must be AAW members and be chosen by a process authorized by their AAW chapter officers. All scholarship awards will be for courses in 2015. Recipients of scholarships will be notified by December 1, 2014. Watch for the complete announcement in the October issue of American Woodturner journal.

To nominate chapter members, chapters officers must provide the names of nominees, along with the total number of chapter members and the number of AAW members in their chapter to Phil McDonald not later than November 15, 2014 by completing the online application.

In May 2013, AAW introduced a new set of workbooks composed of selections from our 28-year archive of American Woodturner journals. The newest title, Sharpening Woodturning Tools, is now available as a hardcopy or downloadable booklet and is discounted for AAW members. This is the eighth resource booklet title produced over the past 15 months. All resource books are available for purchase in the AAW online store.

I would also like to emphasize that the first title published, Safety for Woodturners, is now available as a free digital download to all AAW members. We consider this to be a definitive source of general woodturning safety information and I encourage you to share information about this book with your chapter members.

Our member and chapter officer directory listings are only as accurate as the information supplied by you. The AAW Member Directory is available online at woodturner.org. A hardcopy of the directory is printed every two years and the next printing is scheduled for early 2015.

To ensure your member information is correct in the upcoming printed directory, please login to your member account at woodturner.org and review/update your profile by December 31, 2014. Please encourage your club’s  AAW members to update their information as well.

Additionally, we also request that chapter presidents (or appointed officers) update and submit changes to their club’s information at the bottom of the new Chapter Officers page.

AAW’s new website is significantly improved in design, navigation, and function. Content is updated often to give you a reason to visit regularly. You can go online to renew your AAW membership, build a member profile (including photos), send messages to other members, control your privacy settings, regulate alerts, print your membership card, view AAW invoices, and more. In anticipation of potential questions and login concerns, we have created a Frequently Asked Questions page for our website to address the most likely issues.

In closing, as always I encourage you to contact us with any concerns and new ideas.

Yours respectfully,