As we approach the end of 2013, I would like to extend my congratulations again to the vibrant Nor Cal Chapter of USA Dance, which has just celebrated its 30th anniversary, having been founded in 1983, making it the oldest USA Dance chapter west of the Mississippi. Its first board consisted of founding members Mike Riggs, John Duffy, Bruce Leppert and Karen Andersen, and Karen has served on every succeeding board through the present day – surely a record of chapter service!
Over the years Nor Cal has played an important role in USA Dance, producing scores of national champions and world representatives from among its members. And Nor Cal volunteers have proven their worth through years of significant contributions to our national organization.
Among the national champions the chapter has produced who have also served as chapter board members over the years are Vernon Cheng, past chapter president and Adult Standard National Champion, Tina Moretti-Rose, current chapter treasurer and Senior I Latin Champion and Adult Latin World Representative, James Kleinrath, current chapter president and National Champion in a variety of senior categories in Standard and American Smooth, Genya Mazo, past board member and National Champion in Junior and Youth Latin, and Turtle Brennen, past board member and National Champion in Adult American Smooth, Senior I Standard and World Representative in Adult 10 Dance. Turtle was also a DanceSport Delegate on the Governing Council of USA Dance for many years.
In my post of September 4, 2013 I covered the accomplishments of my husband, Mark Scardina, a current chapter board member, who together with former chapter secretary Art Lashbrook wrote the first DanceSport Rulebook in 1993. Mark and Art went on to serve as USA Dance’s first Vice President of DanceSport and Chair of the Rules Committee respectively.
Also of major significance to USA Dance were the accomplishments of another former Nor Cal chapter member, Bill Bennett, who founded the USA Dance Youth College Network Program, personally bringing over 100 college clubs into USA Dance. Bill and his wife Phyllis, although living 100 miles from the ballroom where Nor Cal held its competitions in its early years, nevertheless were among the first on the scene at each event in order to help set up the ballroom, and were usually among the last to leave after having helped with clean-up duties. Such volunteers are worth their weight in gold!
The Nor Cal Chapter has had a number of firsts – first chapter to receive a national sanction to organize a Regional Championship (now NQE) in 1992, first chapter to host three National Championships (in 1995, 1999 and 2006), all of which made a significant profit for USA Dance, first West Coast chapter to receive the Chapter of the Year Award from the National President in 1995 and National Volunteer of the Year Award (Tina Moretti-Rose in 2006).
And the Nor Cal Chapter is still going strong, with a capable and experienced board at its helm, and its 300 members made up almost exclusively of competitors, who repeatedly bring home national titles in a variety of age categories from the Pre-Teen through the Senior ranks, and continue to distinguish themselves on and off the dance floor.
I’m proud to call myself a member of the Nor Cal Chapter, and look forward to many more accomplishments in the years to come from this wonderful chapter.