The Outdoor Writers Association of America is a diverse group of outdoor communicators. While this diversity is a source of pride, strength and professional enrichment, each identifiable professional constituency within OWAA has unique needs and focus. To meet these needs and still maintain the diversity that is OWAA’s great strength, OWAA in 1992 established the “sections concept.” Members of like professional interests for the basis of establishing a section, may not be based on advocacy or of lobbying for a particular issue or point of view, nor may they be based on subjects or activities. The Board reserves the authority to determine, when considering a petition to form a new section or maintain an existing section, whether that section meets the standards. Operating under OWAA governance, Sections provide an additional venue to accomplish the OWAA Mission and serve as a positive resource in OWAA. Individual members and the Board of Directors may use sections for advice and assistance.
Establishing a Section: The Board of Directors may establish a section by majority vote after receiving a petition signed by at least 25 OWAA members having like professional interests.
Termination of Section Status: If a section fails to generate enough interest or fails to meet its responsibilities as described in section guidelines, it will be placed on probation for one year and upon review may be dissolved or reconstituted by the Board of Directors. If a majority of the Board votes to terminate, the section shall be dissolved. Funds remaining in terminated section accounts after payment of obligations will be donated equally to the Bodie McDowell Scholarship Fund and the Madson Fellowship Fund.
Section Membership: Individual members having a professional interest in a section’s area of focus are eligible for membership. Section affiliation will be identified in OWAA Directory biographical entries. OWAAers appearing on petitions to establish sections are charter members. Others may request section membership on their annual dues renewal form or membership applications.
Section Organization: Sections annually shall elect a leader and secretary/treasurer. Sections may organize as desired; establish policies and procedures that address goals, operations, publications, finances, annual activities and other matters deemed appropriate by section members. Section policies and procedures may not conflict with the OWAA Bylaws, Declaration of Principles, Criteria, Mission Statement, Code of Ethics and Board Directives. A copy of section policies and procedures will be provided to OWAA headquarters.
Section Representation: A Sections Committee, consisting of leaders of each section and chaired by an OWAA director, appointed by the president, shall address section interests, serve as a liaison between the Board of Directors and sections, and coordinate section submissions to Outdoors Unlimited.
(1) Sections may acquire funds to meet expenses and may not incur financial obligations that exceed section revenues.
(2) Sections may charge dues (not to exceed $10 annually) for membership, collected as part of the annual dues. Sections may also raise funds by sponsoring section raffles, auctions, etc., but may not solicit or accept financial support from members or nonmembers.
(3) Section funds will be maintained by the sections.
(4) Section funds for deposit and invoices for payment or reimbursement will be forwarded to the executive director.
Section Communications: (l) The preferred medium for section communications is Outdoors Unlimited. Section articles on craft improvement, newsmakers and issues of general interest to professional outdoor communicators are encouraged. Submissions should conform to OU Editorial Guidelines.
(2) Intra-section communications on internal section matters will be considered for publication in OU on a space-available basis. Section minutes will not be published; however, members will be advised meeting minutes are available from headquarters.
(3) Sections may establish newsletters for section members. Preparation, publication and distribution costs must be borne from section revenues. A copy will be provided to the Section Committee Chairman.
(4) Headquarters will provide mailing labels of section members on request at no charge, but mailings will be done by sections. Postage costs wiIl be charged against section accounts.
(5) Sections shall not issue public statements that represent section positions on public issues.
Section Participation in Conferences:
(1) Section leaders are ex-officio members of the Conference Program Committee. The second vice president, who serves as Conference Program Committee chairman, will solicit section leaders’ advice on the subject and content of conference sessions and attempt to accommodate section recommendations for conference sessions. Costs of sessions scheduled as a result of these recommendations will be included in the second vice president’s conference budget, and not charged against section accounts.
(2) Sections may conduct meetings during the annual conference, open to the general membership. The second vice president and headquarters’ meeting planner will arrange meeting space and times, and coordinate AV support and refreshments. AV support for section meetings will be included in the second vice president’s conference budget. Sections will be responsible for the cost of refreshments. Awards,
Contests and Recognitions:
(1) Sections may create programs to “recognize” members for their outstanding contributions. For example, the Photography Section may recognize the “Outdoor Photographer of the Year.”
(2) To avoid confusion with the OWAA awards and contest programs, section “recognitions” may not be called awards or contests; nor may sections establish separate awards or contests. Sections are encouraged to recommend contests that support section interests. Approval of contests is the responsibility of the Board of Directors and solicitation of contest sponsorships is the responsibility of the executive director.
(3) Sections may establish criteria, and nomination and selection procedures for recognition programs. Approval of selectees by the OWAA Board of Directors is not required. However, sections shall ask the executive director to review selectees before announcement to determine if the recognition would bring discredit to the section or OWAA, or conflict with other OWAA awards.
(4) Sections may determine the form of the recognition. A plaque or similar symbol would be appropriate. The monetary value of the recognition may not exceed $100, the cost charged against the section’s account. Sections may not solicit or accept financial support for the recognition from members or nonmembers.