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In 1987, the Advisory Board (AB) was established within the National SCRABBLE Association (NSA) by John Williams to a) give players a sense of involvement and representation and b) be perceived as more democratic. The AB remained intact in the transition from the NSA to NASPA. The current Advisory Board's tasks are to:
A complete list of the rulings made by the AB is available on the NASPA webpage: http://scrabbleplayers.org/w/AB_Rulings
Initially, as members left the Advisory Board, they appointed their successors from within their regions. Four years ago, the first elected positions were added to the AB. As the membership has called for more voice, more democratic processes and more transparency, the current Advisory Board has been discussing the AB structure.
Moving forward, the aim is to populate the Advisory Board with half elected members and half members who are appointed by their predecessors, seeking balance and diversity in terms of gender, geographical region, skill level, participation level (player / Club Director / Tournament Director), etc.
We hope that there is interest from players in becoming involved in the Advisory Board. NASPA is only as strong as its volunteers, as there is much that can and should be done that cannot by done by Executive Committee alone. To learn more about the duties and responsibilities of AB members, you are welcome to reach out to current and past members. Here is some basic information that may provide insight to future AB members and NASPA members in general.
What's the time commitment? It varies depending on your desired involvement. At a minimum, you should be available for one conference call per month, which will run between one and two hours. Depending on what's going on, there may also be follow-up email discussion. If you choose to take on additional projects, you are welcome to spend as much time as you can spare!
What happens on the conference calls? The first priority is to discuss anything that needs to be ruled on -- most frequently appeals on disciplinary sanctions or requests from committees to rule on policy issues. We receive updates from the EC on current happenings and AB members can bring up issues that they want to discuss based on feedback from the membership.
What are the benefits of being on the AB? If you go to Nationals you get a nice meal :). You get to vote on the Person of the Year. You get to have conversations with a group of smart, committed individuals once a month. You will have an inside track on the inner-workings of NASPA, the administrative challenges, and the complexities of the decision making. If you have questions for the EC, you will receive answers. You get the satisfaction of helping to keep the organization functioning. You get to vote on a number of issues and be part of the decision making process.
What are the frustrations of being on the AB? You know that at the end of the day, you're an advisory body and not the final say -- you could be overruled by the EC at any time. You may have to defend, or at least be able to explain, decisions with which you do not agree. You may have to make rulings against people you like. You have to put personal interests aside and try to think about the good of all versus the good of yourself and your friends.
What skills or qualities are important in an Advisory Board member?
How do I nominate myself or someone else to run in the election? This year, elections will run for AB representatives in the West and South, as well as one at-large seat that can be filled by any NASPA member. In 2016, elections will be held for Northeast, Midwest and Canada. Nominate any NASPA member by emailing the nominee's name to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are nominating someone else, an AB member will reach out to that person to confirm their desire to run. Nominees will be asked to submit a platform statement describing their interest in serving on the Advisory Board, their qualifications, and any other information that they would like to share. Nominations will open immediately and run through May 31st. All platform statements will be posted on the NASPA website.
How will the election work? NASPA members may vote for the representative in their own region, and all NASPA members may vote for the at-large representative. Voting will be done through the Member Services portion of the NASPA website. Voting will be open from June 1 through June 30.