Each July, we welcome a new group of volunteers to the leadership ranks of ACA. The level of enthusiasm I have already witnessed among these volunteer leaders encourages me. Leading our organization at the national level is Marcheta Evans, who will serve as ACA president through June 2011.
President Evans, a counselor educator from the University of Texas at San Antonio, has been a longtime leader in ACA at the branch, region and national levels. This past year, she served as our president-elect, and I found that she was engaged and very committed to preparing for the role of president.
As I have done occasionally throughout the past several years, I would like to solicit your opinion as to what you want your ACA to provide. We know that in an economy that has resulted in a loss of buying power, reduction in disposable income and a tightening of the job market, we need to do what we can to meet needs in a way that minimizes any additional financial burden on ACA members.
ACA has been fortunate to see an overall increase in membership during the economic crunch, which says a great deal about our members. It is also an indicator that our mix of products and services are resonating with those who choose to belong to the “world’s largest organized body of professional counselors.”
Our growth pattern has also provided a few surprises. For example, when broken down by membership category, ACA has seen phenomenal growth in the percentage of graduate students who are members. We expect continued growth this year. This means that as an organization, we have an obligation to provide the resources and services these individuals need to be successful as students and to prepare for their role as emerging professionals.
We also have to do our best at meeting the needs of midcareer professional counselors. Our members have embraced our use of new technologies and methods of communication such as blog posts, podcasts and an enhanced library of information available via the ACA website at counseling.org. This includes posting on our website many of the PowerPoint presentations given at the ACA Annual Conference this past March in Pittsburgh. For the 2011 conference in New Orleans (March 23-27), we hope to continue that service.
We also believe that those who need continuing education credits to maintain their state license appreciate the “CE of the Month” program we launched this past year. Simply by reading an article and taking a test (all online), ACA members can receive up to $240 worth of CE credits at no additional cost, all from the comfort of their homes or offices.
For counselor educators, the American Counseling Association-Association for Counselor Education and Supervision Syllabus Clearinghouse continues to add to an already-considerable library of course outlines submitted by your colleagues nationwide. Later this year, we will post a student membership recruitment video on the ACA website for use by counselor educators and others.
More than 20,000 of our members hold ACA professional liability insurance through Healthcare Providers Service Organization. We will continue working with HPSO and the ACA Insurance Trust to ensure that your policy’s benefits are the very best on the market.
Clearly, member needs vary depending on whether individuals are studying to become professional counselors, are in the prime of their careers or have become “elders” in the profession. I am confident that as the 2010-2011 ACA year progresses, our members will continue to excel at the services they provide. And as the economy improves, you will be exposed to new opportunities. You will need various resources, and ACA wants to be your partner in that endeavor.
As always, I hope you will contact me with any comments, questions or suggestions that you might have. Please contact me via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 800.347.6647 ext. 231.
Thanks and be well.