[PAO] National Board

Karen Copenhaver karenc at smyth.net
Sat Jul 19 08:44:16 CDT 2014

Dear Fellow PAOs,

As we continue our volunteer commitment to an outstanding organization, 
we gladly donate our resources to train and participate.  Across the 
years, we have attended conferences for our wing, region and our 
national board, and the cost has slowly increased, mainly because of the 
economic posture of the time. However, after reviewing the current cost 
associated with our national board, personally I am voicing a concern of 
how many members can afford this astronomical cost.  Registration - $205 
per person plus room of more than $100+ per night (don't forget tax and 
tax); (plus the extra days lodging for a total of 5 nights if you stay 
for the entire event) then if you plan on attending our PAO Academy it 
is $45,  and if you want to attend the FEMA course it is $20, then 
Incorporating the Medal of Honor Character Development Program into 
Character Development for $20 and Grant Writing for $10.  We can easily 
add these costs to be exorbitant for many.  I've attended many National 
Board Conferences, but never experienced such fees, and would like to 
know what the "registration" is suppose to cover, if not the work labs, 
and associated hand-outs.

I would like to see a more reasonable cost for our National Board 
Conferences in the future.  We do not necessarily need a place like Las 
Vegas, Washington or Atlanta, or the like, as we do not have the 
numbers  of attendees to support that type of location as we once did 
with totals of upward of 2,000+ attendees.    We have some locations 
that could support the size of our event, with less expense to our 
members, such as Charlotte, NC,  and communities of that size across our 
country.  Our overall cost has escalated to a level whereby one must 
truly set aside additional funds up to more than $1,000 to attend, and 
that does not include airline tickets, which are escalating too.  I 
don't know how many of you join me in these sentiments, but we need a 
more economical platform for our national board conferences.

One other comment, wouldn't it be nice to have a non-military speaker 
like Bill Cosby to entertain and inspire us to continue our service?  As 
a volunteer organization, who gladly gives and gives so much to our 
communities and nation, I would hope that an individual like this would 
not charge, but to have airfare and other related costs (room and meals) 
to be covered to get him/her to be our speaker.

Realizing our organizational funds are somewhat limited and reduced 
greatly across the board, we could certainly reduce our cost by holding 
our national conference in a less costly location, and it would increase 
the numbers who can afford to attend.  It indeed is a great experience 
that everyone should have the opportunity to attend.  The labs, breakout 
sessions, or workshops... what ever they are called, are always 
phenomenal.  The opportunity to network with your fellow members and 
national staff  is something that you will always remember as you also 
establish a contact and many times lasting friendships.  If you can..... 
please attend as it is an experience that you'll want again and again.

Thank you for your commitment and dedication to one of the best 
organizations of which you could ever be a part.

Karen L. Copenhaver, Lt Col, CAP
Deputy Director, Public Affairs

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