Each June, ACA experiences several transitions, from our employees who find the weather outside nice enough to do their lunchtime health walks, to closing out “the books” as we finish our fiscal year. There are also personal transitions, such as staff members with children switching from getting their kids to school to figuring out their summer schedules. And some staff might possibly be thinking about taking a well-deserved vacation.
June is also the month when we prepare to transition from the current volunteer leadership team to a new cadre of enthusiastic, engaged and committed ACA members. For the past year, ACA President Brad Erford has led our team. Although I have known Brad for many years through his work as an ACA author, division leader and member of the Governing Council, these past 12 months have demonstrated to me how strongly he feels about the association, its members and everything that professional counselors do to help people face the challenges of life. Brad has been an articulate and extremely hardworking president. He has traveled extensively to represent the profession, given freely of his every waking moment and served as a communicator who speaks confidently, while still being an empathic listener.
Clearly, Brad is a president who doesn’t like to blow his own horn. That being the case, I will let you know that he faced several professional issues during his presidency. His ability to find solutions to situations was often based on his respect for those with divergent views. During a year in which several challenges arose concerning the practice, and future, of professional counselors, Brad did an admirable job of representing the association.
But as Brad would say, those challenges and issues required a response that was built on team effort. Always willing to dodge the spotlight (as noted), Brad made sure that ACA’s committees and task forces, and the other groups with which we partnered, felt that they were part of the team. Those team members included the members and chairs of our committees and task forces, as well as the leaders of our branches, regions and divisions. They also included our interest network participants and Brad’s colleagues on the ACA Governing Council.
From my perspective, the sad part of each June is when many of our volunteers complete their terms and rotate off of their current assignments. We are fortunate at ACA that some of these individuals will be retuning this year in new volunteer positions, while others will be back at the ACA table in the near future as authors, bloggers, presenters (either online or in person) or in other roles as volunteer leaders.
ACA has a broad and complex agenda, none of which could be addressed successfully without a talented group of volunteers. Some of these volunteers are still graduate students, while others are new professionals. We have both midcareer and retired folks as well. It really does “take a village,” but when we have a committed and dedicated community of volunteers, it shows that we are ready to face today’s business and lay the groundwork to address tomorrow’s challenges to the profession as well.
On behalf of the entire ACA staff, I want to thank all of you who have volunteered for the association in one way or another during the past 12 months. You don’t receive enough thanks for all of your efforts. Although this column does not come anywhere close to equaling your actions, please know how grateful we are for what you have accomplished. Put simply, job well done.