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Annual Conference 2012
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Calling All State Chapter Leaders

By Karen Langer, LMHC, Conference Planning Committee Chair, and
AMHCA President–Elect, 2011–2012

Why would a chapter want to send its leaders to AMHCA’s Annual Leadership Training and devote the money for them to make the trip? Because the training is so valuable—to both emerging and established chapter leaders.

Each year, the AMHCA board provides training for chapter leaders immediately prior to the Annual Conference. In contrast to the conference, Leadership Training is specifically focused on the successful operation of state chapters and giving the needed assistance to leaders and emerging leaders. 

As usual, the day and a half of training this year will be packed with information. It also offers the opportunity for chapters to network and support each other and develop new ideas and creative solutions. For many state chapters, the most challenging topic is leadership development and transition. How many potential leaders are reluctant to take on the challenge either for fear of being left holding the bag or because of a concern that they lack the time and skill set needed to successfully and confidently keep a chapter alive and vital? 

Some of the topics to be covered this year come directly from suggestions of our membership and chapter leaders. 

  1. What is the relationship of AMHCA to the chapters?
    • What are the responsibilities and expectations of chapters?
    • What are the responsibilities and expectations of AMHCA?
    • What can a chapter expect of its regional director?
  2. Board basics
    • Why is it so hard to get members to commit to a leadership role?
    • What are the expectations of being on a board?
    • What is the time commitment?
    • How do we deal with conflict?
  3. Nonprofit status and financial matters
    • Why are we a nonprofit, and what is the difference between a 501(c)3 and a 501(c)6?
    • Are there special requirements and financial responsibilities?
    • What does this have to do with our lobbying activities?
  4. By-laws
    • What are they and why do we have them?
    • How often do they need to be updated, and how do we know they are correct?
    • Do they need to be consistent with AMHCA?
  5. Strategic planning
    • What is it and why would we want to take the trouble?
  6. Role of chapters and AMHCA in national and local legislative efforts?
    • Updates
    • Legislative contact
    • AMHCA support for local issues
  7. How chapters can help each other
    • Ideas
      • Membership drives
      • Nondues revenue
      • Member services
    • Support

And, of course, we have followed the popular tradition of planning a group activity for the chapter leaders. This year, we are heading to Disney’s Epcot for a reception and front-row seating at the fireworks show. 

In addition to the training and renewal we can count on at the conference, we can’t forget the importance of networking. Throughout the Leadership Training and the Annual Conference, take the time and opportunity to connect to others in the field. See you in Orlando!