ACA News Jan 2010

Upcoming Events and Club News

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Mr.Firemouth
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ACA News Jan 2010

Post by Mr.Firemouth » Fri Jan 22, 2010 4:01 pm

Hello everyone and Happy New Year from the ACA!

I want to let everyone know what's new for 2010 and the ACA.
First off we have a new Board of Trustees! New BOT members are
Mo Devlin (Chairman)
Phil Benes, Vice Chairman
Dean Hougen, Secretary
Chris Borgese
Li Chih
Steve Edie
Eric Hanneman
Ted Judy
Patrick Kelly

Mo has initiated a great new promotion to Non-ACA members called the "3 for Free" program.
Here Mo will send an interested person thinking about joining the ACA 3 Buntbarsche Bulletins as samples with the hopes that they enjoy the journal and join the ACA! If you are not yet an ACA member and are curious about this program please follow this link.....

http://www.cichlid.org/index.php?pageid=three_for_free

Mo Devlin will respond to your request from the link above.

The ACA also has a new Newsletter Editor, Dave Hansen! ACA Members will get their quarterly Newsletters from Dave now.

The ACA Website has undergone some improvements by combing several servers into one and by consolidating information to the following web address, please bookmark this address as one of your Favorite cichlid sites....

http://www.cichlid.org/

You can find info about the ACA from the links on the left side of the Home Page and discuss ACA and Cichlid topics on the forum.

If you have previously registered to the ACA Website before and are having any trouble logging into the new site, please contact me so that I can fix any problem. Also, if you are a current ACA Member and are not seeing the "Members Only" Section of the ACA forum please LMK so that I can add you to the "Members Only" Section.

The ACA CARES Program is growing and if you have any of the fish that are on the following list, please register with Claudia Dickinson and become a CARES Member!

CARES SPECIES LIST~
http://www.cichlid.org/index.php?pageid ... ority_list

Please check out our newest forum category: Cichlid of the Week! This is found in the "Members Only" section and is led by ACA Member John Neese! Please help us populate the Cichlid of the Week threads by adding your personal experiences with fish chosen to be showcased!

The biggest News for 2010 is the ACA Annual Cichlid Convention being hosted this year in Milwaukee, Wisconsin!
You can find out all about this years convention and register at the following web page....
http://www.aca2010.com/

The Angelfish Society will be at the convention this year and will be judging all angelfish entries according to their standards and classes. This is a separate set of awards from the ACA show, which has one angel class with two subclasses. All angels in the TAS show will be entered in the ACA show.

This years convention is going to be fantastic! I am hoping for some real head to head challenges in the Show Classes and will be updating info as it gets closer and closer to the show!

LOCAL AQUARIUM CLUB MEMBERS
The ACA is still accepting Bids for the 2011 and 2012 Conventions! Please contact me if you are interested in hosting a convention!

Please remember to send in your BAP award point scores to [email protected] for the Annual ACA Club Breeder Awards. So tally up your cichlid points from last year and let me know the results!

Please remember to contact Chuck Rambo about assistance with speakers for your club's events or meetings through the ZooMed sponsored Speaker Program....
http://www.cichlid.org/index.php?pageid ... er_program

Please remember to contact Kathy Stearns about show sanctioning with the ACA for your clubs fish shows!
http://www.cichlid.org/index.php?pageid ... anctioning

If your club has any News it wants added to the ACA Calendar or website please LMK.

Thanks,
Happy Fishkeeping
~Rich Dietz
ACA Club Liaison
http://www.cichlid.org
Thanks, Rich
Proud member of theAmerican Cichlid Association!!!JOIN TODAY!!!!
CICHLID POWER!!!

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Kyle May
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Re: ACA News Jan 2010

Post by Kyle May » Sat Jan 23, 2010 3:54 pm

Great Post Rich. It sounds like the ACA has a lot going on!
As membership chairman of the OCA, I am always telling our members about all of the benefits of membership.
It's my way of making sure that each member gets the most benefit from their membership dollar.

Since you've posted here asking our members to join the ACA, I'll no doubt receive many inquiries into what the benefits of membership in the ACA entail. Can you do me a favor and list all of the benefits a member receives from the ACA?

Thanks,

Kyle May
Membership Team
Ohio Cichlid Association
Kyle May
Ohio Cichlid Association
Northern Ohio, USA

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Mr.Firemouth
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Re: ACA News Jan 2010

Post by Mr.Firemouth » Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:12 pm

Every American Cichlid Association member contributes to the hobby at large by supporting the ACA with their membership!
The ACA provides science with the Guy Jordan Fund to help research with cichlids! We give grants to students studying cichlids!
The ACA provides real efforts in conservation through the Paul V. Loiselle Fund. We give grants for studying environmental impacts on habitats!
The ACA CARES program offers members the ability to assist in the Species Maintenance of Threatened and Endangered Species. This interactive program offers recognition for members efforts in preserving some of the last few species of endangered cichlids! It is also associated with Aquahavens! This program helps local schools to set up an aquarium with CARES species so children can get involved with cichlid conservation!
The ACA offers the Speaker Program for your local club through the Club Liaison Program! Here the ACA helps pay for your club to have a speaker.
http://www.cichlid.org/index.php?pageid ... er_program
The ACA and a local host club hosts an annual convention each year. Membership within the host club or the ACA is required to attend the convention. By being an ACA member you have already met that requirement.
http://www.cichlid.org/index.php?pageid ... er_program

There is the 6 issues a year of the Buntbarsche Bulletin! A great magazine journal of the ACA!
There is access to the ACA "Members Only" section of their forum.

IMO, every person passionate about cichlids should consider participation in the ACA to support the above Funds and to help build a strong national organization with strong, long lasting relationships with local clubs! As with all things in life what you get from something is the sum result of what you put into it! By participating you are supporting the ACA which in turn supports the hobby.

Members interested in species preservation should seriously look into the benefits of CARES....
http://www.cichlid.org/index.php?pageid ... on_program

There is also access to the largest cichlid database of articles archived here, over 1,000 articles!(but you have to be an ACA member to view them)....
http://www.cichlid.org/index.php?pageid ... e_bulletin

There is a rich history associated with the ACA, and I believe that once a member understands what is available to them, who and what the ACA has been since its inception, and how members can continue this great tradition of supporting the hobby that they will be proud to be a member of the ACA!

I hope this helps,
Rich :)
Thanks, Rich
Proud member of theAmerican Cichlid Association!!!JOIN TODAY!!!!
CICHLID POWER!!!

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Re: ACA News Jan 2010

Post by Dan Woodland » Tue Jan 26, 2010 8:41 am

Mr.Firemouth wrote:...
The ACA and a local host club hosts an annual convention each year. Membership within the host club or the ACA is required to attend the convention. By being an ACA member you have already met that requirement.
...Rich :)
Rich this is not correct. One MUST be a member of the ACA to attend the ACA Convention. There is no option of being a local club member that allows one to attend the convention without being a member of the ACA.

From the ACA 2010 web site:
"The ACA convention is for ACA members. If you are not a member or your membership will expire before the convention, please purchase a membership. If you have a current membership that will not expire before the convention, you are not required to buy another. If you do, your membership will be extended for a year from the expiration date of your current membership."


Kyle,
Basically as we discussed previously the Ohio Cichlid Association offers everything the ACA offers with exception of the individual programs like CARES which should be run at a national level to encourage participation and accurate record keeping.

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Mr.Firemouth
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Re: ACA News Jan 2010

Post by Mr.Firemouth » Tue Jan 26, 2010 11:12 am

Hi Dan,
I am checking on if that is a host club rule or an ACA rule.
In Chicago 2006, I know I was prompted to join one or the other to gain admittance to the show.
I am not sure at the last 3 shows. I will have some clarification soon. Thanks
Kyle,
Basically as we discussed previously the Ohio Cichlid Association offers everything the ACA offers with exception of the individual programs like CARES which should be run at a national level to encourage participation and accurate record keeping.
Dan, I am unaware of any other club granting funds for research and conservation to Universities and students within in the study of cichlids.
The use of the Internet and electronic media options has provided local and regional clubs/organizations with many of the resources of the ACA.
However, it is the goal of the ACA to foster stronger relationships with all of these clubs and together build a stronger national organization.
The Pet Industry reported in 2006 that 80 million U.S. households kept fish as pets. I am sure that over 50% of those are cichlid keepers.
Just 1% of those cichlid keepers would be over 400,000 possible ACA and local club members. If we can build stronger club relationships, then stronger vendor relationships with manufacturers and local fish stores, we can then have a direct line to new cichlid keepers and help them to be successful aquarists while educating them about all things cichlids!

Pam Chin and her BABES efforts are also unique to the ACA. They raise thousands of dollars each year for the endowment funds. Pam is always looking for extra "BABES in training for her fund raising efforts.

As I said before, both the ACA and local/regional clubs will only be as strong as what members are willing to invest into them. I am committed to helping the ACA as a volunteer to attaining its goal of reaching out to local/regional clubs and making more people aware of the ACA, its contributions to science and the hobby, and the history of the ACA. I am willing to work with any local/regional club and even cichlid forums, to get the word out about supporting the efforts of a national cichlid organization so that we can offer more to science and the hooby/hobbyists. If you have any suggestions or ideas that would help please LMK.

I believe that during the last 2 decades the ACA slowly communicated less and less with American hobbyists and I am trying to rectify that situation by providing as much info about the ACA to cichlid enthusiasts around the country and Mo is also campaigning internationally in several countries. My hope is that you(and the members of the OCA) will join me in promoting a strong national cichlid hobby based organization.
~Rich
Thanks, Rich
Proud member of theAmerican Cichlid Association!!!JOIN TODAY!!!!
CICHLID POWER!!!

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Re: ACA News Jan 2010

Post by tjudy » Thu Jan 28, 2010 9:26 am

Hello Everyone,

To answer the membership requirement question for ACA conventions. Each year the host club determines whether the members of that local club have to pay for a registration or not. Some clubs, like Chicago in 2006, actively promoted membership in their club as an option vs. joining the ACA. We are not going to do that in Milwaukee. We have a system within our club that we will use, but joining our club just to attend the ACA convention is not an option. Like most clubs, membership in our society carries some costs of service, and we do not want to increase that cost for a bunch of new members who are not going to participate in our club events for the rest of the year. That is our decision.

So Dan is correct. To buy a registration for the ACA 2010 convention and participate in the show and see the speakers you will need to be a member of the ACA. You do not need to be a member or buy a registration to walk through the show, vendor or rental rooms. If you are registered and want to buy extra tour, banquet or brat dinner tickets for your significant other you can do that too.

Ted Judy
ACA 2010 Convention Chairman

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Re: ACA News Jan 2010

Post by Dan Woodland » Thu Jan 28, 2010 12:24 pm

I’ll start by saying I appreciate your enthusiasm and efforts to work for the ACA. I’ll also say you have an uphill battle and here’s why.
Mr.Firemouth wrote:Hi Dan,
I am checking on if that is a host club rule or an ACA rule.
In Chicago 2006, I know I was prompted to join one or the other to gain admittance to the show.
I am not sure at the last 3 shows. I will have some clarification soon. Thanks
That may have been but only for the Chicago club run convention. As I recall it's been this way for some time.
“Dan Woodland” wrote:Kyle,
Basically as we discussed previously the Ohio Cichlid Association offers everything the ACA offers with exception of the individual programs like CARES which should be run at a national level to encourage participation and accurate record keeping.

Mr.Firemouth wrote: Dan, I am unaware of any other club granting funds for research and conservation to Universities and students within in the study of cichlids.
The use of the Internet and electronic media options has provided local and regional clubs/organizations with many of the resources of the ACA.
A major hurdle for all cubs these days, if you aren't on the web your dead!! is how the saying goes. The Internet is jammed with information killing printed material industries prompting authors to release books directly to the Internet instead of publishing them. Most recently a fantastic book on Rainbows fishes was “published” in this way.

You are now. :lol: The Ohio Cichlid Association is in that very process - refining an education/scholarship/research fund. It's called, in short, the Jim Smith Endowment fund. It's in it's infancy but we have already donated nearly 3K over the last two years including two donations to the Malawi AND project managed by Ad Koninings and Dr. Jay Stauffer of Penn State University. Additionally there are a number of clubs around the world that donate money to worthy Cichlid causes including research and educational programs. The PCCA has the Tomasello Award that has typically gone to students. The St. Louis Guys have had several fund raisers for the AND’s, as has the Chicago club to name a few…
Mr.Firemouth wrote: However, it is the goal of the ACA to foster stronger relationships with all of these clubs and together build a stronger national organization.
The Pet Industry reported in 2006 that 80 million U.S. households kept fish as pets. I am sure that over 50% of those are cichlid keepers.
Just 1% of those cichlid keepers would be over 400,000 possible ACA and local club members. If we can build stronger club relationships, then stronger vendor relationships with manufacturers and local fish stores, we can then have a direct line to new cichlid keepers and help them to be successful aquarists while educating them about all things cichlids!
Here's one area where you have your work cut out for you. Local clubs feel there is no relationship from communication to support for those willing to host a convention. As I understand there is no formalized show plan, it's left up to the host club to run the show without ACA guidelines?

Sorry, I'm an analyst by nature and training, but throwing stats araound without backup is misleading at best. You may be right, not likely, but I'd need to see those statistics. Keep in mind statistics can be manipulated to say whatever anyone wants.
Mr.Firemouth wrote: Pam Chin and her BABES efforts are also unique to the ACA. They raise thousands of dollars each year for the endowment funds. Pam is always looking for extra "BABES in training for her fund raising efforts.
True but this is another "nationally suited" program and not a benefit of ACA membership. As a matter of fact the BABES are not part of the ACA, the ACA is simply the benefactor of their fund raising. They do great work and it's much appreciated by everyone but it's "not an ACA program" as you eluded to. Oh and it's not exclusive to the ACA either. They do donate to other causes as well.
Mr.Firemouth wrote: As I said before, both the ACA and local/regional clubs will only be as strong as what members are willing to invest into them. I am committed to helping the ACA as a volunteer to attaining its goal of reaching out to local/regional clubs and making more people aware of the ACA, its contributions to science and the hobby, and the history of the ACA. I am willing to work with any local/regional club and even cichlid forums, to get the word out about supporting the efforts of a national cichlid organization so that we can offer more to science and the hobby/hobbyists. If you have any suggestions or ideas that would help please LMK.

I believe that during the last 2 decades the ACA slowly communicated less and less with American hobbyists and I am trying to rectify that situation by providing as much info about the ACA to cichlid enthusiasts around the country and Mo is also campaigning internationally in several countries. My hope is that you (and the members of the OCA) will join me in promoting a strong national cichlid hobby based organization.
Very true. Communication has waned however the fundamental problem is the ACA says "join us, were a great organization" but potential members ask what do I get joining a national organization? Benefits seem skewed toward the ACA (pointing out what I've heard from others). Also, the ACA has a negative reputation of being Club Snob filled with elitist Cichlid Keepers. This was fueled in part by the requirement to be a member to attend the convention - yes I know the reasoning behind that policy.

Another very large issue for the ACA to over come is – why does a local fish club member need the ACA? I speak from my own experience here; our club (maybe a unique club) can and does provide all a “local club member” wants or needs from a Cichlid organization. A local organization can do more for its members but I feel a national organization like the ACA can do more that it is. For Example, Mo Devlin's Three for Free program.

For example we are fortunate to have working relationships with local fish stores providing product for monthly give ways etc… We’ve done catered meals at monthly meetings including pig roasts and given away a sponge filter to every attendee. Our Christmas party is full of giveaways, door prizes and more! The kids, every one of them, leaves with at least two or three items each!

Our club preaches “benefits of membership” and we are striving to add more and more benefits. We also call it “giving back to the membership” because without them there would be no club!

Things we offer, member only access to our web, web only content (coming soon), eleven monthly full color ebulletins (growing every month), eleven monthly meetings, eleven monthly meeting give-a-ways, eleven monthly raffles, local shop discounts – when offered, and we’ll be adding more this year. We must be doing something right, we’ve grown membership 31 percent in the last eighteen months – that includes replacing those that didn’t re-up! Not bad considering Ohio is one of the worst states to live in tax and recession wise.

Granted this isn’t normal but we are lucky enough to have a professional consultant working with our bulletin editor and they are committed to making our club rag a national, maybe international, publication – it’s always good to have goals!.

You wrote:

“As I said before, both the ACA and local/regional clubs will only be as strong as what members are willing to invest into them.”

True, that’s why a “local guy” says I’ll keep my money and effort at home. Why join/volunteer for a national society for $35 when I join my local club for $15, receive benefits of membership, help Cichlids, and have fun in the process?

I speak from personal experience here, the local clubs don’t feel like it’s a partnership. In the past the ACA used to communicate with each and every club member sending letters, membership cards, membership reminders, and more….

I understand it’s easier for a local club like ours to offer what we do but the local fish club guy you’re after as a member is going to be a hard sell, his only question is “what do I get”? Subtracting the impressive list of what the ACA does he gets a color booklet six months a year and the privilege to attend the convention.

Maybe increased communication with each member would be a start.

[/quote]

~Rich[/quote]

Ted,

thanks for the “membership” clarification.

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Re: ACA News Jan 2010

Post by TheFishGuy » Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:57 pm

I'm relatively new to being in a club, but I can say, the benefits of being in the OCA are... well... Awesome. If you have cichlids and you live in Ohio it should be a no brainer. It's worth it to join just for the buck a bag auctions every month at the end of every social meeting! I considered joining the ACA but why? So I investigated it and found the only real advantage for me is being able to post in the ACA buy sell area of their forum. To me... That's not worth it... Sorry...

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Re: ACA News Jan 2010

Post by oshp132 » Thu Jan 28, 2010 6:31 pm

I can't even spell A-C-A!!!

I'll stay right here.

MIKE

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Re: ACA News Jan 2010

Post by tjudy » Thu Jan 28, 2010 11:14 pm

I am a member of two local aquarium societies and the ACA. I am very active in all three. We all get what we get from the clubs we are involved with. Trying to justify why to someone who does not see the benefits the same way you do is a waste of bytes.

If you want to support the ACA great. We would love to have you. The OCA is an excellent organization that also puts on an excellent weekend event each year. Not quite as big as the ACA :wink: , but my impression is that making the Extravaganza that large is not really a goal. Bigger is not always better, but I do believe that the ACA convention is well worth the effort to be there... even with the cost of membership. I do not see the debate as OCA or ACA. A lot of ACA members go to the Extravaganza, and a lot of OCA members go to the ACA... because they are both great events.

See you in Milwaukee! (Actually, I will see you in December, but I hope to see you sooner than that in Milwaukee...).

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Re: ACA News Jan 2010

Post by Dan Woodland » Fri Jan 29, 2010 1:01 am

Apparently I’ve ruffled some feathers trying to show what difficulty or competition the ACA is facing while trying to grow their membership numbers.

One PM I received called me “negative” and “divisive”.

He went on to say:
”Maybe you are just trying to say that the Ohio Cichlid Association is great, and I'm sure it is. However, your posts read more like you are scared that the ACA will lure members away from the Ohio Cichlid Association, so you have to tear down the ACA in front of your members so that they don't run away. I think it would be of greater benefit to both organizations if you looked for ways that the organizations could work together, rather than tearing one down to build the other one up.”

This is pretty funny and gives me more credit than I deserve. I’m not that petty and I’m certainly not divisive – like I have the time. On top of that the author obviously doesn’t know me at all – twenty year ACA member, a twenty-four year OCA member, and twenty-two year Ohio Cichlid Association board member. You know what they say when you assume.

Most people in this country have the right to join or leave any club they want when they want and I certainly wouldn’t try to stop them, in fact, I’d encourage them to do as they please. Life is too short to allow others to tell you what to do. Relax folks it’s a fish club.

As an analyst, by nature and training, I must be one of the very few that looks at the good and bad of each situation when trying to work out a problem which is what the ACA has, a problem. How is anyone supposed to fix something if they don’t know why it’s broken?

Declining membership and declining show attendance are two of the major issues I know facing the ACA, does anyone wonder why? Did anyone look at local clubs to see what they are doing? Are those clubs successful, etc etc? Does what I posted earlier look differently now? No, then I guess the ACA should just go along blindly not knowing what they were up against. Sorry to have bothered you all.

Rich or anyone else is welcome to post here what ever and when ever they want (provided it’s not mean spirited or vulgar), it is a public forum. Personally I dislike electronic communication but it appears to be a necessary evil in this world we live in. Feel free to contact me directly at 800-223-2273 x 4-4642 if you’d like to discuss it in person.

I’m not sure why the communication between me and Rich was taken so negatively but it was - I thought we were simply communicating. Why is communication via electronic means always assumed to be negative first? Who knows, but that’s what it was from my perspective a discussion not and attack or subversive act to keep my own fish club members in their restraints. -)

Rich or anyone else is welcome to post here what ever and when ever they want (provided it’s not men spirited or vulgar), it is a public forum.

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Re: ACA News Jan 2010

Post by TheFishGuy » Fri Jan 29, 2010 8:44 am

After reading my post it seems as if I'm bashing the ACA. I assure you I am not. I wanted to simply bring to head my thinking process as to why I'm not a member. Weather my thinking process is correct or not is still up for debate! :lol:

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Re: ACA News Jan 2010

Post by phil b » Fri Jan 29, 2010 3:42 pm

Dan and everyone else, who replied,

Thanks for your honest feedback. As a BOT of the ACA, input from our membership is very important to me and should be used to shape the organization to meet the on-going needs of our membership.

Phil
Phil Benes
ACA - Convention Liaison
Fellow - American Cichlid Association
GCAS - Auction Chair

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Re: ACA News Jan 2010

Post by Kyle May » Fri Jan 29, 2010 5:46 pm

Boy Dan! Whoever PM'd you must really have had her (or his) feathers ruffled!

As the membership chairman for the OCA I always like to tell our members "what's in it for them".
I believe that an effective and enjoyable organization should provide value for it's members first.
Everything else is secondary.
It's brings me great satisfaction when a member is thankful for the opportunity and value that an
Ohio Cichlid Association membership represents.

For only $15 the OCA provides numerous benefits directly to the member including, but not limited to:

A welcoming atmosphere at meetings and events
Monthly door prizes
Interesting speakers
Members only areas on the discussion board
35+ page Monthly electronic fish magazine
....I could go on all night.

We also do our share of philanthropy and plan to do more in the future.
Our members are encouraged, but not required to support our charitable causes,
but when we do give, it's on the behalf of all the members. I think we get more in
donations to our Jim Smith Memorial Fund because of member generosity than
we ever would if we made the contribution part of the membership.

The entire point is that today people expect something definite for their hard earned money.
They rightfully expect a direct and recognizable benefit.
It's why I asked directly what a member gets when she or he joins the ACA.
At the club level the OCA is a value oriented membership. I just wanted everyone to see what value you get from an ACA membership. I didn't think it would turn into a 50 post thread and I don't think anyone would leave one organization for another. I think the ACA would be an additional membership to the local club membership. I just wanted our members to see what additional value there might be in an ACA membership....so I'm sorry if I started controversy. I seriously thought there was more to it than 6 digest sized bulletins per year. I'm fairly new at this so maybe I missed a point or two.

For any member who wants to explore the ACA, they maintain a web site at: www.cichlid.org
They have forums, annual convention information, as well as a "Join the ACA" section.

Best,

Kyle May
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Ohio Cichlid Association
Northern Ohio, USA

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Re: ACA News Jan 2010

Post by Jombi21 » Fri Jan 29, 2010 6:37 pm

As a relatively new member to both the OCA and the ACA, I am pleasantly surprised at my feelings towards this conversation. I joined the ACA because I really wanted to attend the convention in Cinci. Other reasons I joined were the history of the ACA and the respected cichlid all-stars who run the organization. I love the Buntbasch bulletin too. After reading this discussion, I am shocked at how I feel about my benefits as a member of the ACA; there really are none. I must come to this conclusion because of the amount of progress my own local fish club strives to make each month. Whenever I venture over to the ACA website, I usually just find cyclical debates that probably will never affect me on a local level or debates over new BOT members. While on the local level, my own club is putting in the effort every month to make things better for me. I joined this club - I never asked them to work for me, but they do. The ACA looks good on paper (or pixels) for prospective members, but I find it hard to keep up the membership cost for the bulletin. I might just use that money to subscribe to Cichlid News or cichlidae.com. I did have a great time at the convention, and the CARES program is a must. I just feel like the ACA is too far away from its members. The hobby is about keeping fish, but the members bring them together; otherwise, I am sure they would be content in their lakes.

Jom
Ohiocichlid.com

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Re: ACA News Jan 2010

Post by oshp132 » Sat Jan 30, 2010 12:34 pm

I have to agree with one of the above posts......
But I will add a little of my own opinion to it:

Next to NOT PURCHASING A FLUVAL FX-5, joining The OCA is the biggest no brainer in the hobby.

MIKE

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Re: ACA News Jan 2010

Post by Dan Woodland » Sat Jan 30, 2010 12:58 pm

oshp132 wrote:I have to agree with one of the above posts......
But I will add a little of my own opinion to it:

Next to NOT PURCHASING A FLUVAL FX-5, joining The OCA is the biggest no brainer in the hobby.

MIKE

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Aquamojo
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Re: ACA News Jan 2010

Post by Aquamojo » Sun Jan 31, 2010 6:45 am

Jombi21 wrote:As a relatively new member to both the OCA and the ACA, I am pleasantly surprised at my feelings towards this conversation. I joined the ACA because I really wanted to attend the convention in Cinci. Other reasons I joined were the history of the ACA and the respected cichlid all-stars who run the organization. I love the Buntbasch bulletin too. After reading this discussion, I am shocked at how I feel about my benefits as a member of the ACA; there really are none. I must come to this conclusion because of the amount of progress my own local fish club strives to make each month. Whenever I venture over to the ACA website, I usually just find cyclical debates that probably will never affect me on a local level or debates over new BOT members. While on the local level, my own club is putting in the effort every month to make things better for me. I joined this club - I never asked them to work for me, but they do. The ACA looks good on paper (or pixels) for prospective members, but I find it hard to keep up the membership cost for the bulletin. I might just use that money to subscribe to Cichlid News or cichlidae.com. I did have a great time at the convention, and the CARES program is a must. I just feel like the ACA is too far away from its members. The hobby is about keeping fish, but the members bring them together; otherwise, I am sure they would be content in their lakes.

Jom

Jom,


You and the others are "spot on" with your observation. On one hand, membership allows the ACA to further support cichlid research and conservation. Some of the discussion...a lot of the discussion...over the past couple years was around member benefits. Back in the pre-internet days, members were able to obtain hard to find cichlids through the club's Trading Post...a definite benefit. Today, hard to find cichlids CAN be found through members, but the majority now comes from various on line vendors.

Without a doubt the single biggest tangible benefit is the BB. The late Ross Socolof was quoted saying, "as goes the BB so goes the future of the ACA" (or words to those effect) Apparently he had a lot of faith in the publications ability to unite fellow cichlid lovers. The price of admission to the club...at least in my opinion...is worth the six publications. Not just that, but also access to the other 254 archived electronic BB publications on the ACA site. Information you won't find elsewhere wrapped in a historical blanket. We just passed a proposition that will offer of a $15 membership to the club which will allow access to the site, and to the BB though an electronic form...no printed BB. I think it will allow folks who maybe don't/won't/or can't get to a convention the ability to be an active member, help support the big picture (conservation & research), AND get the publication. I see it as a win/win.

I am fully aware that on many levels the club is on a disconnect with the average hobbyist. For the most part the average hobbyist could care less that the ACA gave money to an undergraduate student to do research on cihlid X, or a filed study on enviroment X. You and I and a bunch of other folks know that it's all good...but the young guy/gal with an Oscar in their tank says...so what? And the club is seeing this through rapidly declining membership. In 2007 we had 1146 members. In 2009 we have 823 members. We are also stilt looking for a prospect for the 2011 convention. It's not good and we have to turn it around.

Sometimes it's the things that you don't look back on and say, "Oh yeah...benefit." For me it was being able to meet and make some great friends. If I hadn't been a member of the club I wouldn't have met my good friend Dan Woodland, Juan Miguel, Rusty, Paul Loiselle and a hundred others. I personally LIKE being part of a big group of like minded aquarists. I'm honored to have met most of these folks, shaken their hand and able to call them friend. Sure, you can do that within your own club but the ability to reach out across the nation makes it more sweet. I can still remember walking up and shaking George Barlow's hand...or the first conversation I had with Ad Konigs. That's what the club did for me...and hind sight the biggest benefit and well worth the price of admission.

We need to be a club that provides more than a publication. I know we have the folks (many of whom are right within your own club) that can enrich the masses with their cichlid and aquarium knowledge. We can't hang our hat on the annual convention as it doesn't serve all. Our focus has to turn back into the average hobbyist and provide them support and information. Bottom line is that the BOT and the Cadre and the convention hosts are ALL volunteers. The club survives, as does the OCA only on the generosity of fellow aquarists. I only WISH I had a club like yours close by. We have nothing here in NEPA. We are constantly talking about things we can bring to the table. As Phil pointed out, we always value the input and appreciate anyone who would like to be an "active" member of the ACA. If you have an idea or suggestion, please contact me or someone else on the board. It is always welcome.

Thanks for your time.

Mo Devlin
"Some days you have the hobby. Other days the Hobby has YOU!"

American Cichlid Association 2010 Chairman
American Cichlid Association Publicity Chairman

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Mr.Firemouth
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Re: ACA News Jan 2010

Post by Mr.Firemouth » Sun Jan 31, 2010 1:00 pm

Hi Guys!
Sorry I stepped away from this conversation, I had a deadline at work to hit with several hundred grand hanging in the balance so my boss had me working 18 hr days on the biggest stack of paperwork I think I have ever seen! LOL

Dan and others are absolutely right, and I couldn't agree more. I joined the ACA in 2006,(Chicago) and had an awesome time! I saw Mo's video on the big CA's and his experiences with the pond and I knew there where people back home that couldn't afford to go to the show, so I asked Mo if it would be possible if I could get a DVD to share with friends. He agreed and I got some friends together and we watched and enjoyed the video talk. I also won a complete 180g combo in Chi-town for an investment of $45 in raffle tickets! To say I was impressed by the talks, the speakers, the cool people talking about fish, and winning the tank is an understatement! I then signed on to the ACA Website and was completely and utterly disappointed with the amount of member participation online. I assumed that the energy from the show, and all the friendships made would be overflowing in the ACA Online community. It however wasn't very busy at all. I decided then and there to commit my free time to the ACA to bring the energy and the experience of a convention to the everyday life of every ACA and NON-ACA member through the Internet.

I am 100% appreciative of everything said here so that I have a better focus on what the ACA needs to rebuild their reputation and more importantly(IMO) to get all local clubs involved with the ACA so that their contribution can be the biggest part of the ACA's foundation! Time willing, I will do my best to increase communication with clubs and Non-Members of the ACA. I currently deal with 50 clubs Online and increased the Club Liaison position to 2 members now to better serve members and clubs.(Myself and ACA member John Neese) I believe there are many people throughout the country that don't live close to a local club and that a strong and active national club would be a great experience for them. I also believe that if my goals of expanding exposure of the ACA to non-members through forums and possibly vendors/manufacturers that more people will visit cichlid.org and see the ever expanding Calendar of Events that shows local club activities and always links back to the local clubs. That way someone near your club that has not yet heard of you might see your event and seek you guys out!

In my business( I have been an asbestos abatement contractor and demolitions expert for 20 years) both companies and individuals are very competitive. I always view this competitive behavior as a short sided strategy to success. I see, IME that team building within an organization and forging strong, loyal relationships with partners in your field build a much more stable and long term strategy that can stay the course in both good times and hard times. My strategy is opt for the long term success and to invite participation at every level between the ACA and the OCA, and all other clubs to help grow an incredibly strong national hobby presence in the cichlid hobby. I believe we are all in this together and that we share all the same goals.

We currently have a very receptive and eager BOT that wants to reform any problem they become aware of, and I want hobbyist to be able to trust that the years of experiences from devoted aquarists like all of us will be there to help them, encourage them, challenge them, and share with them the joy of cichlid keeping!

I live a hectic life at times, and there is nothing that calms me down faster than a half hour of just watching my fish in the fishroom. This hobby has always been like a reward to me at the end of a long day. I hope to convey some of that to the people I encounter along the way.

I thank all the members of the OCA for their comments and interest in the ACA. If I can do anything for the OCA please LMK.
~Rich
Thanks, Rich
Proud member of theAmerican Cichlid Association!!!JOIN TODAY!!!!
CICHLID POWER!!!

Ken Grimmett
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Re: ACA News Jan 2010

Post by Ken Grimmett » Sun Jan 31, 2010 3:29 pm

To join the ACA or not...

The cost is not so much money as is the benifits recieved for that money.

For maybe every two out of four years its worth it to go to the convention. These seem to be within my money's reach. The other two years there are no "in person" social events.

As I get older (near retirement) I look at what my money is buying that I can use. To me the in person social event is big. The ability to sell fish is not. I have local means to do that. The cost of adding O2 tank setup, shipping box's and delivery to a shipper is not worht it to me when I weight the local outlets that I currenty have. Maybe I could make more $$ but that is not my reason to join.

Getting my thoughs and actions away from work is the reason I would join.

I enjoy the bulleten but it is not out offen enought to meet my current cost vs receration decisions.

Helping conservation is good, but how many people would join a club so that a porition of their menbership money goes to help the enviroment? I would rather donate directly.

The current ecnomic crisis has forced me to scale my hobby alowance. I am planning a vacation this year and Milwalkee is in the running. By May I should know if we are going so that is when I'll decide to re-join or not.

I am only posting this because of the ealier thread that mention the ACA membership is dropping. I hope this is as informative as it is meant to be.

Idea...

What can you offer in the way of an online "meeting"?
Format a chat room for a set time. Maybe a video talk - 15 minutes or so -
My kids have now shown me how to connect the Internet to my TV and the surround sound. We watch netflicks and you tube all the time. This could be "cool".
Someone could write a "how to do it" article.

All the clubs has to do is set up the links (the membership gets them to you plus an active password). Moderate the chat room with a starter topic or use the video for that. I don’t know much about the above technologies, but I do know they are possible. Set up a display at the Auction, i.e. a TV hook to a computer and let people log in at set times or something. This would be a low cost social event to the club.

Just an Idea..
The future is what you plan for, life is what you get, enjoy it.

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