Re: AIS: Satisfying Personal Needs
I've been thinking about the idea that AIS has some duty to satisfy our
personal needs and mulling what the extent of any such duty might be. Clearly
people tend to want a lot from the organization and I have been thinking
about whether I am getting what I need.
Speaking purely impressionistically here, some TB fanciers seem to feel that
inadequate attention is being accorded the TB, some people who prefer other
sorts of bearded irises seem to feel they are habitually being given short
shrift in favor of the TB. Some beardless fanciers suggest the whole system
is geared toward the pogons, some smaller hybridzers feel everyone else gets
the glory, and commercial interests feel not enough is being done to bring
the message to the wider gardening world, or if you prefer, increase the
customer base. In short, it appears that many want more of what they are
personally interested in from the larger organization, regardless of whether
that organization can realistically be expected to meet the changing needs of
So who is this AIS that is supposed to meet our needs? It hackneyed to
observe that the organization is no one but We ourselves, but it is true. AIS
is and can only be the Members, who, to varying degrees participate in the
process of meeting their own needs, or the needs of others.
Some members volunteer to do the Society's work at one level or other, and
some volunteer at very high levels and in so doing take on great
responsibility and face the possibility of widespread opprobrium. They do the
best they know, but some of their actions are more enlightened than others.
How could one expect otherwise? They also have limited resources with which
to work, including limited money, limited manpower, and fluctuating
commitment on the part of those who must come through for the cause to keep
the little boat afloat. The only thing never in short supply within AIS at
any level is opinions, which is not the same thing as ideas, or vision, or
I'm of the opinion that the duty of AIS as an organization to its members is
to facilitate communication, facilitate self-education, keep the
documentation of the Genus straight, use its resources responsibly and
develop new ones, support research on iris issues which have the capacity to
enhance or diminish people's enjoyment of irises, and encourage and reward
excellence in irises within defined standards which are meaningful to the
members. In a world of fluctuating iris fancies and conflicting demands, AIS
at all levels must balance progressive ideas and special interests against
eternal verities, all while keeping the oars of the trireme beating in unison.
Now, at the top are the People Like Us who are the AIS Board and support
staff, egionally there are the People Like Us who are the administrators and
editors, locally there are the People Like Us who are the chapter leaders,
and members. On the personal level, there is oneself and one's unique passion
and curiosity. I believe all levels have some duty and responsibility to try
to make the AIS membership experience meaningful for the individual, and also
for the collective.
While I share the interests of many members and vicariously enjoy others'
enthusiasm for things which do not ring my chimes at this time, I also have
iris preoccupations which are not shared by most members. I find people with
whom to talk about those, and people have been good to me regardless of what
my interests were. Never have I had my tastes ridiculed, nor has anyone tried
to cram any Straight Party Line down my throat. Interesting information about
all kinds of irises and many new developments comes my way, and at all levels
of the Society people are accessible to me. They always have been so, even
back when I literally knew no one, and talked of nothing but seeds.
I don't think AIS is doing a poor job with what it has to work with. The
Bulletin gets flashier and more interesting as time goes by, we are more or
less solvent at the moment, the Registrar keeps on trucking, we have a new
home for our library, the awards system feels its way toward responding to
member ideas, money awaits scientific research, we are hearing more about
international developments than we have at any time since WWII, new people
are being brought along to take on significant projects, old prejudices are
diminishing with time, classic presumptions are being discussed openly if not
invariably cheerfully, people keep daubing pollen, folks outbid each other at
ebay for the classic iris books, and every year we await the new catalogs and
buy more irises than we have room for.
I think that we could do with more self-reliance and individual
self-validation in some quarters, and I don't care for the tone of some of
the discourse which I fear will drive folks away from the iris, but as one
small piece of AIS I am not discontent, and I don't think we are in bad shape
for the shape we are in. AIS is a more interesting and modern organization
than the one I joined some years ago.Thanks, everybody.
Anner, in Virginia --off to till in the aphabits.
Shop? Read? Go to the movies? Clean the Bathroom? What would you
rather do? Ourhouse.com wants you to WIN A MAID for a year....