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Thank You for All That You Do

Generous Members Keep Society Healthy

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     In this issue of The American Philatelist, we recognize the generosity of our members who give of their money, philatelic material, books, and themselves to promote the APS, APRL, and the hobby at large. As a result of their kindness, we have put stamps in the hands of thousands of young people, offered educational courses to hundreds of collectors, began construction on a new library, and promoted philately around the world. We are well into 2016 and the opportunities to grow the hobby and help your fellow collectors continue to present themselves. With the World Stamp Show-NY 2016 kicking off next month, the APS will be there to show the world why we are the world’s largest stamp collecting organization. You can help in many ways — volunteer to help the APS at the show, donate to help promote the APS and the hobby, and give material for our education programs. To join the many members we recognize in this issue, please go to stamps.org/donate to learn how you can help the APS.

AmeriStamp/Southeastern Stamp Expo 2016
     All the boxes are unpacked after a great winter show in Atlanta. Thanks to the Southeastern Federation of Stamp Clubs for welcoming the APS to Atlanta and volunteering to work tirelessly to make sure the event went off without a hitch. For those in attendance, there were a great number of exhibits to enjoy. Congratulations to all those who took home awards, including:

  • Ron Brigham, who won the Single Frame Champion of Champions for his exhibit “Canada: The Twelve Pence of 1851: From Production to Forgery.”
  • Kathy Johnson, who won the Single Frame Grand and Gold for her exhibit “Evolving Bishop Marks in Scotland: Postal History.”
  • For the American Association of Philatelic Exhibitors Team Competition, first place went to the team “Good from Start to Finish” of Kathy Johnson, Seija-Riitta Laakso, Mike Ley, Dan Undersander, and Tim Wait.
  • Finally, congratulations to Adam Mangold for winning the Vernon and Pam Morris Best Youth and Gold for his exhibit, “Building a Nation … One State at a Time.” A special thank you to Dr. Vernon and Mrs. Pam Morris for their 10-year sponsorship of the Youth Award at our winter show. With their generosity, the winner of the Youth Award also took home a cash prize of $300. Dr. and Mrs. Morris wanted to provide an extra incentive for young exhibitors to participate and given the competition this year, it certainly worked!

     The exhibit palmares for AmeriStamp/Southeastern Stamp Expo 2016 can be found on our website at stamps.org/userfiles/file/wsp/ameristamp16.pdf.
     Another notable event at AmeriStamp this year was the first-day-of-issue ceremony for the Botanical Art forever stamps. American Topical Association director Dawn Hamman did a great job as master of ceremony. The ATA is one of our most active affiliates and has been a fantastic supporter of the APS and our shows. The highlight of the event was Howard Hotchner Fellow Austin Foo, of our Young Philatelic Leaders Fellowship program, who shared his passion for collecting with the audience. The YPLF program has given us several opportunities to bring young collectors to the hobby, and then to introduce young collectors to the public. If you know a young person who would be great for the program or you would like to serve as a mentor or supporter, please visit stamps.org/Young-Philatelic-Leaders.

Candidates Forum
     Our members who attended AmeriStamp had a chance to hear from many of the candidates running for the APS and APRL boards. In Atlanta, we hosted a candidates forum and we are especially grateful to Cheryl Ganz for serving as the moderator. Cheryl was very kind to take on the task of managing the event and did a fantastic job! For our members who could not make the event, we recorded the session and have posted it online at youtube.com/watch?v=dT7w8te6reo.
     A reminder, ballots for the APS and APRL elections will arrive in the May issue of The American Philatelist. For members who do not receive a copy of the magazine each month, a copy of the ballot will be sent directly to you. It may sound cliché, but your vote counts. Please take a few moments to learn about the candidates running and cast your vote. More information is available at stamps.org/elections.

Strategic Plan
     One of the charges from the APS and APRL boards from the Grand Rapids StampShow was to develop a joint strategic plan for the next five years. Thanks to the work of a joint committee comprised of members from the APS and APRL boards, the staff at the APS, and the volunteers serving on our major committees, we have developed a strategic plan focused on four areas: Sustainability, Education, Accessibility, and Membership (SEAM). If you’ve been reading this column over the past five months, you’ve read about each of those topics individually.
     At the APS Board of Directors meeting in Atlanta and at a subsequent APRL Board meeting in February, both boards reviewed and unanimously approved the five-year strategic plan. The plan includes specific activities and benchmarks and we will report back to the membership on progress of the plan. If we all embrace and support the staff and our volunteers working hard to make the plan a reality, I believe it will help keep the APS and APRL on a positive course moving forward into the future. Thanks to all those who put in countless hours to get us this far. The work has just begun. To read the strategic plan, visit stamps.org/userfiles/file/reports/Draft-StrategicPlan2016.pdf.

There’s Always a Stamp Club Meeting
      One of the critical elements of our strategic plan is the idea of having a strong grassroots of clubs around the country. While the APS can use its leveraged membership to promote the hobby and serve the membership at large, stamp collecting grows at the local level, too.
     By the time you read this column, I will have visited several stamp clubs around the country and spent time at a few shows. Specifically, I was able to visit the Springfield Stamp Club in Springfield, Virginia — a club that has donated countless boxes of material for education programs over the last 12 months; the Ayr Hill Stamp Club in Vienna, Virginia (where the club circulated the strategic plan in advance of my visit); the Worthington Stamp Club in Worthington, Ohio (pizza and social time follow the meetings); and the Metro Louisville Stamp Society in Louisville, Kentucky (a fantastic city with a very smart group of collectors). I also was able to promote the APS at Knoxpex, where the Knoxville Philatelic Society is doing a great job growing its membership and March Party, sponsored by the Garfield-Perry Stamp Club in Cleveland.
     Thanks to the kindness of clubs that have reached out to invite me to visit and hear what’s happening on the ground. There is a great deal happening at your local stamp club from organizing shows to promoting stamps to serving the community and much more. I’ve managed to pick up a couple of tips about collecting, buy a few items, and strengthen the connections between Bellefonte and our collecting community. I will be visiting some more clubs throughout the year and look forward to meeting our members and hopefully adding a few more.
     As always, thanks to the members who provided insight and support through phone calls, letters, and e-mails. It is my honor to be a part of such a great community. If there is ever anything we can do, please feel free to contact me at scott@stamps.org..

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