Each June, the American Counseling Association experiences a significant change as we say thank you and farewell to one leadership class even as we welcome another cohort. This month is no different from so many other Junes that we have experienced. Thousands of you chose to volunteer at the local, branch, regional, divisional and national levels of ACA this year. I want you to know that I am in awe of the thousands of hours donated by so many of you to move the counseling profession forward. This feat is all the more amazing in that you did this while also helping, serving and advocating for your clients and students.
This year, we were ably led by Colleen Logan, who served as ACA president. While I have known Colleen for many years through her work at the division level, the time we spent together this year really helped me to better understand her commitment, her dedication and her willingness to “stand up” for what she believes is both just and right. Colleen was a tireless president! She traveled a great deal, despite having little ones at home, so that she could fulfill her duties as ACA president. More important, Colleen was always willing to meet with various counseling groups in big cities and small as long as the dialogue explored the human condition and how counseling could help to make a positive impact. Colleen has both “talked her talk” and “walked her walk.” This is not always easy to do, but then again, Colleen hasn’t been dedicated to “easy” so much as being committed to justice, dignity and the rights of those who have been oppressed. I hope that the members of our association realize how lucky we were to have her with us this year.
I also want to thank the ACA Governing Council, division and branch leaders, and all those who volunteered for committees, task forces and interest networks. As a group, you were amazing, and I truly feel that some of the issues tackled this year will reap benefits for ACA and the profession for many years to come.
Likewise, I want to openly thank the ACA staff for the sacrifices they made this year and for the extraordinary job they did as a team. There were countless times when they stepped up to the plate to solve problems or listen to the frustrations that ACA members were facing. These staff members found ways to make things happen that will continue to benefit ACA as we head into the new fiscal year that starts July 1. We truly have a very dedicated staff, and I am extremely thankful for what they do each and every day on behalf of ACA and its members.
As I was writing this column, we received the sad news that two of our exemplary leaders — Harriet Gardin Fields of South Carolina and Betty Hedgeman of New York — had passed away. For as long as I had known her, Harriet had always been active in legislative issues. This year, she was serving as chair of the ACA Public Policy and Legislation Committee. She had a knack for working with public policy-makers at all levels, and she had a clear grasp of how important our grassroots members are in effecting change. For more on Harriet’s life, turn to page 56.
Betty was distinguished in the field of rehabilitation counseling. However, she still chose to serve as ACA’s treasurer (once doing so for three consecutive terms) and also chaired a number of other national counseling and rehabilitation counseling groups. Counseling Today will be sharing more on Betty’s contributions to the counseling profession in the July issue.
Please contact me with any comments, questions or suggestions that you might have via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 800.347.6647 ext. 231.
Thanks and be well.