I am very humbled by the outpouring of support that has been coming in for Bill Rose, Esther Freeman and me following the announcement of the results of the USA Dance national election. Please be assured that we will remain engaged in USA Dance.
You have probably surmised from viewing the announcement of election results the other day that this election was decided by a very small number of voters. In fact, 93% of the approximately 14,000 USA Dance eligible voters did not choose to vote, and so the election was decided by the 7% who did. This tells me that neither side in this contested election succeeded, in spite of the considerable social media component of this election, in getting the vast majority of our members to actually send in their ballots. An effort must be made in future elections to find a way to engage this vast majority of our membership, competitors and social dancers alike.
This election also clarified for me that most of our members do not follow very closely what is going on at the national level, and/or are simply too busy enjoying their own dancing to vote. Individuals who are dissatisfied for one reason or another or who simply want “change” are often the most prone to vote, while those who are pleased with the direction of the organization are more inclined to forgo voting. The problem is that a small group of motivated voters can then swing the election in a direction the majority of non voters may not want. But that’s the way it is – those who vote decide who will lead the organization, and then they and all who did not cast ballots must be prepared to live with the results.
Many of you have asked us what we will be doing when our terms of office conclude. Bill Rose, as many of you know, is the president of the Orange County Chapter and on the organizing committee for the Southwest Regional Championships and NQE, and will continue with those activities.
Esther Freeman and I will also remain active members and volunteers of our local chapters, and as National Past Presidents, we will join the other Past Presidents on the newly created USA Dance Past Presidents Council come January.
Under the USA Dance bylaws National Past Presidents have always been offered the opportunity to attend and participate in Governing Council meetings, and most have chosen to do so. They are also invited each year to attend the National Championships.
At its meeting last month the Governing Council strengthened the role of the past presidents even further with the creation of the Past Presidents Council. This Council will advise GC members individually and collectively on a variety of issues and will also provide a historical perspective which will be needed now more than ever. Additionally, the Past Presidents Council will undertake studies and reviews of various components of USA Dance programs, councils and committees and will make recommendations for their increased effectiveness. The Council will be developing its list of priorities and announcing its activities for the coming year in the near future.
Again, we want to thank all who have supported us throughout this election and who have since come forward to express their good wishes. For those who remain angry or disappointed with the outcome of this election I urge you to channel your feelings into positive avenues and work to make USA Dance an even better organization than it is already. USA Dance is a wonderful organization with many thousands of caring people who are joined together by their love of ballroom dancing and DanceSport, and that is what will keep USA Dance strong now and in the future.