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Our local newsletter, Mentally, is not available online. But here are other items of interest:

THE TENTH STORY for April

The American Mensa Committee (AMC) met on March 3, with several presentations, including the first report by our new Executive Director Trevor Mitchell, the regular Treasurer's report by Deb Stone including a presentation of the Annual Budget Review and Budget Process, a presentation by Committee Chair Jon Gruebele of the new Strategic Planning Committee, and a couple of presentations by Membership Officer Henri Buccine-Schraeder regarding the membership satisfaction survey and other membership information. These presentations will be available under the meeting reports on the national website at www.us.mensa.org/read/board-meeting-reports/ under the dropdown 2018-03-03 - Denver, CO once the minutes have been approved. Actions taken during the meeting included approval of the 2018-2019 Budget, a waiver of Equity Restoration requirement for 2018-2019, and rejecting a motion regarding making guest memberships available to Mensa International Members for additional fees. The next meeting of the AMC will be on July 5, 2018 at the JW Marriott Indianapolis Downtown, site of the 2018 Annual Gathering.

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Speaking of the Annual Gathering, have you made your reservations for AG2018 yet? Co-Chairs Teresa Gregory and Jan Pfeil Doyle have been hard at work in creating an exciting event, including booking Gala Dinner Speaker Dr. David Wolf, veteran of seven spacewalks and one-time MIR resident. Of course, you'll also have an opportunity to see the AMC in action, and participate in the business of American Mensa at our Annual Business Meeting (ABM). We understand that there will be many other intriguing presentations and events that might draw your attention away from the AMC meeting, but I do hope you'll try to attend the ABM, since we can't conduct any business (including the introduction of member-instituted referenda for the 2019 election) unless we have a quorum for the meeting.

The Mensa Foundation Colloquium will take place the day before the AG, with the theme "The Evolution and Revolution of Manufacturing", with featured presenter Scott N. Paul, President of the Alliance for American Manufacturing. More information on both of these events can be found at ag.us.mensa.org, and you can find discussions about the events at www.facebook.com/events/234054937121565/

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On a more local note, don't forget to sign up for the next Regional Gathering in Florida, which will be in Tampa Bay over Memorial Day weekend. Registration is now open at http://www.tampa.us.mensa.org/. Tammy Hicks and team are putting together another great event, and I look forward to seeing you there!

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Over the past several weeks I've been making the rounds to many of the local groups, with visits to the ExComm meetings for Central Florida, Palm Beach Area, Jacksonville, Tampa Bay, and Space Coast Area, with upcoming meetings scheduled for Northwest Florida and Tallahassee. I'll be scheduling meetings with the remaining groups as well, and hope to get to all of you before the AG.

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Now that renewal season is over, thank you to all of you who have continued your membership for the next year or longer. If you haven't renewed, it's not too late! I hope you'll stay involved.

Until next month (or until I see you online),

Thomas George Thomas
Email: RVC10@us.mensa.org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thomas.g.thomas

THE TENTH STORY for March

The American Mensa Committee (AMC) will meet in Denver, CO on March 3, 2018. At the time I write this the agenda has not been published, but by the time you read this it will be available on the national website at www.us.mensa.org/read/board-meeting-reports/ under the dropdown 2018-03-03 - Denver, CO.

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Central Florida Mensa threw another wonderful Regional Gathering in January, thanks to Chair Debbie Freeland and committee members Jennifer Keating, Stephen Stull, Bill Keevan, and Melissa Stephens, and all the other volunteers who worked to make it happen. The next Regional Gathering will be in Tampa Bay over Memorial Day weekend, with Chair Tammy Hicks hard at work with her team. Everything that happens in our Region or in any of our chapters are due to the efforts of volunteers, so please thank them when you see them.

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The Mensa Foundation Scholarship Program is underway, and submissions are being evaluated by local group volunteers. Once they finish their work, the essays will move on up to the regional level, headed by Regional Scholarship Chair Wynn Rostek and his team of Regional Judges - Nora Foust, George Lebovitz, Elizabeth Potter, Tammy Hicks, Darcy Schiller, and Suzanne Rostek.

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Have you put together your CultureQuest XXIX teams yet? Each team may have up to five members plus two alternates, but if any team members are not renewed by March 31, the entire team will be disqualified - so encourage your smartest teammates to renew early! The competition lasts 90 minutes, with all teams across the country beginning simultaneously. Game Day is Sunday, April 29.

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I'd like to congratulate North Florida Mensa and Palm Beach Area Mensa, both of which are currently exceeding their membership levels from this same time last year. With a little over six weeks to go in the fiscal year, I'm hoping more of our groups will join them.

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One metric where our Region is falling behind is in Mensa Testing. In the fourth quarter last year, only 26 people took the Mensa test in Region 10, while half of our local groups had not held any test sessions at all. That said, I would like to recognize Testing Coordinator Nancy Heinrich of Manasota Mensa, who was responsible for over 40% of all the tests given during that time period!

Part of the issue is that we're running low on Proctors - the volunteer members who administer our tests to those who are interested in joining Mensa. Three of our Local Groups only have a single Proctor, and at present there are only three Proctors-In-Training across the Region. I trained to become a Proctor in 2005, and have found it gratifying to meet people I've tested at events after they've joined. If you have a four-year degree minimum from a college or university, you could be part of our front-line greeters for new members. Contact your Local Secretary/President or Local Group Testing Coordinator for details.

Until next month (or until I see you online),

Thomas George Thomas
Email: RVC10@us.mensa.org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thomas.g.thomas

THE TENTH STORY for February

The American Mensa Committee (AMC) met via teleconference on January 16. This brief meeting involved the approval of the minutes of the December 2 AMC Meeting (now posted online), the official appointment of the Chair for the Community Services Committee (yours truly), the Transition Committee's report regarding a new Executive Director, and a vote on a motion to clarify the Duties, Responsibilities, and Authority of Regional Vice Chairmen for inclusion in the ASIEs (Appendix 26). This is the topic I mentioned in my column last month, and I hope it will be useful information for anyone interested in running for the position in the future, as I have heard many amusing misconceptions about what the RVC's role actually is.

The details of the agenda for this meeting are available on the national website at www.us.mensa.org/read/board-meeting-reports/ under the dropdown 2018-01-16 - Teleconference. The next in-person meeting of the AMC will be in Denver, CO on March 3, 2018. The agenda will be posted online at the link above on February 16.

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CultureQuest registration opened on January 16, and there's still time for your Local Group to field a team (or three)! Last year Central Florida Mensa and Tampa Bay Mensa both took money prizes, and maybe this year it's your turn. The deadline for registration is March 31, and remember, all members of your team(s) must also have renewed by that date! Rules and registration are at https://www.us.mensa.org/attend/culturequest/.

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Does your Local Group have a great Gifted Youth Coordinator? Nominations for Gifted Youth Coordinator of the Year are due on February 20. Information on this program is available at https://www.us.mensa.org/recognize/group-awards/gy-coordinator-of-the-year/.

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And finally, with National Volunteer Week (Mensa Cares!) coming up on April 15-22, I'm starting to hear groups coming up with different programs they would like to create, from beach and road and park cleanup to library support to group home visits and other projects. Besides being a good way to give to your local communities, it's also great visibility and promotion for your local group. I'd love to year what kind of creative ideas you could come up with! You're Mensa - and you're Brilliant!

Until next month (or until I see you online),

Thomas George Thomas
Email: RVC10@us.mensa.org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thomas.g.thomas
Twitter: @FardleBear

THE TENTH STORY for January

The American Mensa Committee (AMC) met on December 2 to discuss several matters, including the Transition Committee's progress in seeking a new Executive Director to replace Pam Donahoo, as I'd mentioned in last month's column. After presenting their report, the AMC thanked them for their work so far and asked them to continue with their work. In the meantime, Trevor Mitchell, AML's Director of Membership and Strategy, was named Acting Executive Director.

Other appointments made at the meeting included Palm Beach Area Mensa member (and former AMC Chair) Elissa Rudolph as the AML Advocate, and Allison Reeves will be joining Palm Beach Area Mensa member Brian Reeves as Co-Chair of the 2019 Annual Gathering (AG) Committee.

The usual Treasurer and Executive Director reports were presented, along with the results of the Local Group Leadership Survey and the launch of Mensa Connect (the Higher Logic project). These reports and more are available on the national website at www.us.mensa.org/read/board-meeting-reports/ under the dropdown 2017-12-02 - Houston, TX.

The next in-person meeting of the AMC will be in Denver, CO on March 3, 2018, with a teleconference meeting scheduled before then on January 16, 2018. The agenda for the teleconference has not been set, but will be posted online at the link above on January 6.

On another topic, the AMC has been discussing the role of the RVCs (Regional Vice Chairmen), given the split duties we perform. In addition to acting as members of the Board of Directors for American Mensa along with the five nationally-elected officers, and serving as voting members on various national committees, we also have particular duties to the Local Groups of our regions that go beyond the fiduciary responsibilities for American Mensa. However, some expectations, both from the national and local point of view, are contradictory. While there is documentation that defines our role as "CEO of the Region", this nevertheless carries with it limited authority. So when I've been asked to intervene in some local group issues over the past few months, there wasn't much that I could do other than to listen to the issue being presented and refer the involved parties to documentation on the website (primarily dispute resolution). The RVCs are working through the existing ASIEs and guidebooks to come up with a consolidated job description so that it will be clearer to future RVCs (and local members) what the real expectations should be.

Finally, I mentioned the Community Services Committee in my column last month, and I have recently been appointed Chair of that Committee. While there are projects going on year-round, the big focus is Mensa Cares!, a project that coincides with National Volunteer Week. This year those dates are April 15-21. Many of our members have mentioned in surveys that this was something they wanted Mensa to be involved in, and the response to last year's efforts was enthusiastic. More information will be forthcoming as the Committee starts planning over the next few weeks.

Until next month (or until I see you online),

Thomas George Thomas
Email: RVC10@us.mensa.org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thomas.g.thomas
Twitter: @FardleBear

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