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President's report

By John L. Beath
I just got home from SHOT Show in Las Vegas. The winter OWAA board meeting coincided with SHOT Show and gave us an excellent opportunity to explore this year’s show and then conduct our business meeting.
SHOT Show this year larger than years’ past. Many new companies displayed their products and disproved the notion that a bad economy kills the outdoors business. Hundreds of media also attended the show and came away with stories, videos, images, podcasts and contacts for future projects. While wandering the show and visiting with exhibitors, I came away with a strong feeling of optimism for the industry. When discussing media, many of the exhibitors conveyed excitement for the new forms of online media including blogs, podcasts and videocasts. Lots of media badges also had “Blog” listed as media type.
While some media outlets disappear, others appear. This topic became a strong point of discussion during the winter meeting.
Question: “How can we help our members take advantage of and profit from new media?”
Answer: “Education through Outdoors Unlimited and a strong conference program.”
The board also unanimously voted to create a new section called “Digital Media” but still requires 25 active member signatures. If you agree that OWAA needs this new section please e-mail HQ supporting the new Digital Media section. Board members agreed this new section was needed to help provide as much information and education to help OWAA members profit from new digital media opportunities. This summer’s conference in Rochester, Minn. will feature several craft improvement seminars to help members advance their digital skills and profits.
During last summer’s meeting, the board agreed to revise Excellence in Craft contests, making the contests less confusing and easier to enter. The revision committee, chaired by board member Mary Nickum, is almost finished revising the rules and defining the contests. The new rules will begin in 2011 and will enable members to enter their work digitally. Entries published on Web sites, e-zines, videocasts, podcasts, etc. will be included as long as the entry was produced for pay.
Board members unanimously voted to eliminate membership initiation fees effective Jan. 1, 2010. This will no doubt make it more affordable for new members to join OWAA and make it easier to market OWAA to prospective members.
If you have any ideas about how to improve OWAA or suggestions to improve member benefits, don’t hesitate to contact a board or staff member with your idea. And I sincerely hope to see as many members as possible in Rochester this coming June.
John L. Beath is OWAA president and owner of Pacific Lure Communications. He is a writer/photographer and owner/editor of 14 Web sites and 10 online stores. He is also an Internet marketing consultant for several businesses. Contact him at jbeath@gmail.com.

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