Jon Gruebele Regional Vice Chair Local Group Newsletter Articles from 2023


March 2023 – On the Fence?
 

If you’re not a life member or in the middle of a 3- or 5-year membership term, ‘tis the season for you to be mercilessly bombarded with pleas to renew. Personally, I bought a life membership back when dues were still $45. That may have been my best financial investment ever. Not only can I avoid the yearly entreaties and dues increases, but I’ve gotten tremendous value for those dues.

Value is, of course, in the eye of the beholder. For some, getting the Bulletin and Local Group newsletter is enough. Others enjoy meeting their Mensa friends for a meal or games, having an on-line chat, or attending a regional, national, or international gathering. Some use SIGHT (Service of Information, Guidance, and Hospitality to Travelers) to enhance their vacations. Special Interest Groups (SIGs) abound. Some enjoy volunteering, either in service to Mensa or their communities through Mensa Cares. Many of us want to help support the Mensa Foundation’s philanthropic pursuit of excellence in human intelligence.

Fortunately, around 90% of us renew within 12 months. Of those that don’t, many aren’t gone forever. They may return when their life circumstances change, finances improve, or they simply miss our Mensa community. With new members joining, our membership has been down only slightly over the last few years – despite the pandemic.

Anyone looking for a deal on dues should consider multi-year or life memberships. Our 3-year memberships are priced at about a 10% discount; 5-year memberships are about 12% off. Life memberships are structured such that they’re always a great deal actuarily and protect you from future dues increases. For example, anyone ages 40 to 44 could buy a life membership for $1,380. That’s equivalent to 17.5 years of today’s dues, so a 40-year-old would break even at age 57 – or earlier if dues go up.

I hope you’re one of the people who renew or have already purchased a discounted multi-year or life membership. If you’re on the fence, consider becoming more active in what Mensa has to offer. People who attend things tend to be happier with their memberships. If you can’t find something you like, perhaps you could invite other Mensa members to join you in doing what you already enjoy. We’re always looking for great ideas for the calendar.I always end these articles by inviting feedback and urging you to join the Region 4 Facebook group. I’m very serious about wanting feedback. What should we be doing better? If you aren’t renewing, why? What should we have done differently to keep your interest? If you did renew, I’d be interested in hearing about that too. We need to do more of the things that work and fewer of the things that don’t. Sometimes knowing which is which can be challenging.


February 2023 – Board of Directors (AMC) Update


The AMC met in Denver for its final meeting of 2022. It was the first meeting led by our new Chair, Lori Norris.

There were a variety of appointments made. We’ll be welcoming Baker Ring back to the AMC as Second Vice Chair. In addition to other service for Mensa, he served as Regional Vice Chair 5. We also appointed Beth Anne Demeter as the 2024 Annual Gathering (AG) Chair. That event will be held in Kansas City MO, following the 2023 AG in Baltimore and preceding the 2025 AG in Chicago and the 2026 AG in Fort Worth.

Walking through the agenda:

  • A motion to reassign members in specific ZIP codes to another Region was removed from the agenda after the affected RVCs were able to reach agreement on how to proceed.
  • Between meetings, the ExComm (our nationally elected officers plus one RVC) approved hotel and meal funding for the Executive Director to attend the International Board of Directors (IBD) meeting in Montenegro. Several other appointment changes were announced.
  • Taz Criss, Treasurer, reported on our financials through August 2022. As always, it’s challenging to compare year-to-date numbers due to the timing of when expenses and revenues are recognized. Nevertheless, compared to the prior year, expenses were up and revenues were down. Investment-related losses driven by overall stock market performance also weighed on our results.
  • Executive Director Trevor Mitchell reported that through December, membership was down about 3% compared to the prior year. While new and reinstating memberships were on trend, it’s been challenging to get renewals from members who have lapsed for more than a year.
  • The Gifted Youth Committee Chair was removed from the list of Professional Appointments. It was unclear what accreditation would be applicable here.
  • We continue to struggle to pass bylaws change proposals related to the National Ombuds. Since we cannot amend these motions during the meeting, even the smallest change means everything gets pushed to the next meeting. These proposals were either withdrawn by the movers or referred back to them: giving Regional Ombuds a vote in National Ombuds elections, handling Ombuds vacancies, and changing the term of office from six years to three. Two motions to prevent National or Regional Ombuds from simultaneously serving in other Ombuds roles were defeated.
  • In Executive Session, the AMC voted no confidence in the National Ombuds for breaking the confidentiality of executive session in both the September and December AMC meetings.
  • Robin Crawford reported on Volunteerism, I reported on Strategic Planning issues. We are revamping targets for Local Group testing and establishing goals for private testing. Tabby Vos reported on marketing initiatives and updated us on the 2023 AG.


Additional detail will be available on-line as always under Lead -> Board of Directors (AMC) -> Meeting Reports.


January 2023 ​– Tell Me Again, Where Is That Body Buried?


Web sites are so #lastcentury. I get it. Boring. Hard to navigate. I’d much rather look at a funny meme. Sadly, when all else fails, sometimes I just have to fire up my trusty Netscape browser to find what I need.

It may have been a long time since you’ve looked at American Mensa’s (us.mensa.org) website. If so, I understand, but there’s actually some really interesting stuff you might want to revisit. The top-level navigation takes you to:

Join: If you have a smart friend, here’s everything they need to know about qualifying prior evidence scores, taking private or Local Group administered tests, and how to rejoin if you’ve been away.

Attend: If you like getting together with other Mensa members, learn about events beyond your Local Group. That includes Regional Gatherings, the Annual Gathering, on-line sessions, and the Foundation’s Colloquium.

Connect: Some of well over 100 active Special Interest Groups may help get more from your membership. Want to talk to a board or national staff member? Contacts are there. You can look up other members and get information about our “Service of Information, Guidance and Hospitality to Travelers” (SIGHT) program. Drilling down into the Local Groups directory can tell you about every one in the country.

Lead: Here’s all that super exciting governance stuff: board meeting minutes and financials going back to 2005, our strategic plan, leadership development, handbooks, Local Group resources, bylaws, and more.

Learn: Interesting things about the Foundation, gifted youth, Mensa for kids, demographics, and how to use the Mensa Logo.

Read: With few exceptions, you have access to pretty much every Local Group’s newsletter along with past Bulletin publications, our national e-mail newsletters, and an eclectic collection of other stuff.

Recognize: Join us in congratulating all the wonderful Local Groups and people who have been recognized by Mensa and the Foundation.

Volunteer: Learn about our Mensa Cares program that benefits our communities. Sign up for one of the volunteer opportunities occasionally posted on our Volunteer Marketplace.

Shop: Yup, buy stuff here and learn about third party company discounts available to Mensa members.

Play: Learn about CultureQuest®, Mind Games®, and board games awarded our Mensa Select® seal.

My Mensa: Perhaps most important, customize your membership experience. Tired of getting unwanted e-mails? Pick what you want to see. Subscribe to various publications. Change your address. You can even get a vanity e-mail address (yourname@member.mensa.org).

You may also want to visit connect.us.mensa.org. There you can join various e-mail lists. Manage your preferences to get real time notifications of new posts, ask instead for a daily digest of all posts, or turn off notifications entirely.

Finally, mensafoundation.org and international’s mensa.org sites are great resources too.

Enjoy browsing, and no, I don’t really use Netscape.

Feedback? Please contact me at rvc4@us.mensa.org or via phone/text at +1 309 693 1359. Region 4’s  Facebook group is: https://www.facebook.com/groups/695847670490858.


Copyright © 2023 Jon W. Gruebele. All Rights Reserved.