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Thread: Meeting to discuss club options to recent AKCA board actions

  1. #81
    Honmei ricshaw's Avatar
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    Time for a little History lesson...

    Quote Originally Posted by andy View Post
    JR ....... Clubs, shows, judges, Koi Health, vendors, advertisers, magazines and hobbyist, just to mention a few, play an integral part in promoting and preserving our beloved hobby. Having not experienced the history and tradition of years past I tend to view the current situation through a different prism.
    In my mind AKCA has become the one association (brick and mortar) that has capture the most attention becoming by default our hobby's national representative weather it likes it or not. But How can the AKCA be the flagship of our hobby when it discriminates to those enthusiast who for whatever reason don't belong to a "club". That has puzzled me from the beginning. I figured for every club member there are tens who don't belong.
    Mature and experienced Koi hobbyist is a demographic you can take to the bank. I'm certain they would support the hobby weather they belong to a club or not. But the current AKCA structure does not have the flexibility to deal with that segment.... Join a club and then you can be counted is hardly a form of survival.
    At this stage its very hard, as history has proven, to start a new national movement. I'm almost positive it would never work unless a few folk really spend tons of money and time. Why not update/upgrade the next best thing.... AKCA. It already has experience and structure. Rearrange AKCA's model a little. Create a regionally represented board who's sole purpose is to focus on the big picture, individual memberships, budgets, marketing and modernization. Shift the current "club" board to an autonomous committee who's sole purpose is to promote and support clubs, shows and judge programs. And create a new autonomous committee to deal with Koi health. I'm sure I'm missing a bunch more but you get my drift.......Science and technology for instance.
    Clubs are really a great thing but not for everybody. Those who enjoy that aspect of Koi society will find each other and thrive. But they should not carry the burden of the whole industry.
    Times have changed and social networks are here to stay. I don't think clubs are the only way to preserve tradition and neither is the internet but together they form a great partnership that far exceeds the expectations of a few decade ago.
    I think to understand the current board, it helps to know the history of the AKCA.

    Even though I was present and remember the start of AKCA and KOI USA magazine, I got some help on the following from Larry Leverett’s online “snippets” of AKCA history and Stan Ranson’s AKCA Practical Koi Keeping Volumes 1 & 2.

    Back in the early 1970's the Koi hobby had already started in Southern California. There were several Koi clubs formed and by the mid 1970s, the Southern California Koi Club (commonly known as "SoCal") and Los Angeles Zen Nippon Airinkai (now known as “Southern California Chapter, Zen Nippon Airinkai”) were having Koi shows and the appreciation of Koi was growing.

    In the summer of 1976 Ed Fujimoto saw a need for a Koi magazine and started KOI USA magazine. You need to remember that this was before computers and Ed published the magazine at his own expense.

    About the same time a group of people from the local Koi clubs including, SoCal, So Cal chapter ZNA, Orange County ZNA, and Ikiru Hoseki got together with Ed to talk about forming a Koi organization and the AKCA was formed. These people included Joan & Bob Finnegan, Pam & Bob Spindola, Marilyn & Vergil Hettick, Bertrelle & Frank Caswell, Julie & Bob Everett, Phil Ishizu and Sus Yamanaka. Ed Fujimoto became the first AKCA chairperson in 1977 and an effort was made to construct some bylaws for the fledgling new organization.

    In 1978 Bob Finnegan took over as second chairperson and it was decided to hold a barbecue at Phil Ishizu's father's home in Pasadena, CA. A charge of $5.00 per head was set and this proved to be the first source of income for AKCA (about $200 was collected).

    In 1980, Ed Fujimoto retired and moved to Washington and sold the KOI USA magazine to AKCA for the sum of $3000.00 There was insufficient cash in the AKCA treasury, so six of the families on the AKCA Board contributed $200 each and the AKCA became the new owner of KOI USA. The magazine had about 350 subscriptions and the magazine was collated and stapled together at the monthly AKCA Board meetings.

    Dr. Bertrelle Caswell became the third chairperson and “rededicated” KOI USA to the ideals of Ed Fujimoto: "KOI USA is dedicated to all KOI lovers and is published in the hope that it will be looked upon as the focal point, the sounding board, and bible for the much needed communication concerning KOI in the United States". Also during Dr. Caswell’s term the process of AKCA incorporation was started. Bertrelle arranged for an attorney to do the legal work and both the Articles of Incorporation and the By Laws were written. The Articles of Incorporation required that an annual general meeting be held each year which in 1981 gave start to the AKCA annual seminar and general meeting.

    Some of the other early AKCA accomplishments included: Under Bob Spindola (1980 – 1981) the "Club Starter Kit" was written. Under Bob Everett (1981 – 1982) AKCA acquired its tax exempt status and started the AKCA insurance program for clubs.

    Later books, posters, and pamphlets were published and a slide show on Koi classification was made available to clubs. The AKCA web site, Judging Program, Project KHV and the Koi Health Advisor programs came later.

    Today there are over 100 AKCA Koi clubs and each club is required to have an AKCA rep. It should be noted that when there is an election, only about one half of the clubs bother to vote.

    Over the years and now there has been a concern about the lack of influence and leadership from outside the California area on the board. In the past there has been interest (input) from the outside on how to make more money or run AKCA and/or KOI USA.


    “The AKCA board is sympathetic to most people’s concerns but the bottom line is the board is not going to give up its control.”

    The above is only my opinion.

    The first issue of KOI USA

  2. #82
    Tosai
    Join Date
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    Outsider looking in

    I'm probably gonna regret this but here goes: Ive read much of this thread and have information and a perspective that may be of interest to some of you.

    Relevant background
    Ive been a fish geek all my life. Ive been in Koi seriously for about 17 years. I started and ran the KHA program. I started and later ran Project KHV. Over my tenure with AKCA, I typically spent 6 to 12 hours a day working on these projects. I quit the AKCA in May of 2009 after it became clear that I could no longer successfully work within that org. I later joined a sizeable number of KHAs who wanted a better outlet for their desires to learn and share their knowledge.

    I know much of the AKCAs history, attended BOD meetings for about 10 years prior to quitting and know almost all the current players.

    Heres the So what?
    We participate in hobbies for enjoyment. Fighting is not fun and I contend theres nothing in the hobby thats worth going to war over. I see some people are threatening to leave the org. That turned out to be my and many others preferred option.

    We cant really know others motives but, judging from past and present actions, the establishments apparent philosophy is, If we just stick together, we can outlast them and they will eventually go away. Most opposition folks actually come to that same conclusion albeit from a different perspective, i.e., they conclude, Its just not worth it. So it works, or has so far. This time may be different.

    BTW, the principle of systematically grooming independent-thinking newbies for future service is virtually non-existent within AKCA. I know, and know of, an army of folks who had given countless hours to AKCA only to be put off or run off by those would-be/should-be groomers.

    Everyone has an opinion, heres mine: The AKCA is NOT likely going to perish if it gets taken over by non-establishment types. And, those new comers need not be in it for a lifetime either. It might and they might if, for instance, they run off those they ought to be grooming to be the next generation of leaders. But, theyve had lots of examples of how not to do it, theyre not ignorant, they have historians within their group (history wont be lost) and I suspect they are too perceptive and committed to be put off by those offering a skewed perspective of the past and dire predictions for the future.

    The opposition may not know everything they want, but they know what theyve had and apparently they dont like it. Imagine my surprise .

  3. #83
    Daihonmei
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricshaw View Post
    I think to understand the current board, it helps to know the history of the AKCA.

    Even though I was present and remember the start of AKCA and KOI USA magazine, I got some help on the following from Larry Leverett’s online “snippets” of AKCA history and Stan Ranson’s AKCA Practical Koi Keeping Volumes 1 & 2.

    Back in the early 1970's the Koi hobby had already started in Southern California. There were several Koi clubs formed and by the mid 1970s, the Southern California Koi Club (commonly known as "SoCal") and Los Angeles Zen Nippon Airinkai (now known as “Southern California Chapter, Zen Nippon Airinkai”) were having Koi shows and the appreciation of Koi was growing.

    In the summer of 1976 Ed Fujimoto saw a need for a Koi magazine and started KOI USA magazine. You need to remember that this was before computers and Ed published the magazine at his own expense.

    About the same time a group of people from the local Koi clubs including, SoCal, So Cal chapter ZNA, Orange County ZNA, and Ikiru Hoseki got together with Ed to talk about forming a Koi organization and the AKCA was formed. These people included Joan & Bob Finnegan, Pam & Bob Spindola, Marilyn & Vergil Hettick, Bertrelle & Frank Caswell, Julie & Bob Everett, Phil Ishizu and Sus Yamanaka. Ed Fujimoto became the first AKCA chairperson in 1977 and an effort was made to construct some bylaws for the fledgling new organization.

    In 1978 Bob Finnegan took over as second chairperson and it was decided to hold a barbecue at Phil Ishizu's father's home in Pasadena, CA. A charge of $5.00 per head was set and this proved to be the first source of income for AKCA (about $200 was collected).

    In 1980, Ed Fujimoto retired and moved to Washington and sold the KOI USA magazine to AKCA for the sum of $3000.00 There was insufficient cash in the AKCA treasury, so six of the families on the AKCA Board contributed $200 each and the AKCA became the new owner of KOI USA. The magazine had about 350 subscriptions and the magazine was collated and stapled together at the monthly AKCA Board meetings.

    Dr. Bertrelle Caswell became the third chairperson and “rededicated” KOI USA to the ideals of Ed Fujimoto: "KOI USA is dedicated to all KOI lovers and is published in the hope that it will be looked upon as the focal point, the sounding board, and bible for the much needed communication concerning KOI in the United States". Also during Dr. Caswell’s term the process of AKCA incorporation was started. Bertrelle arranged for an attorney to do the legal work and both the Articles of Incorporation and the By Laws were written. The Articles of Incorporation required that an annual general meeting be held each year which in 1981 gave start to the AKCA annual seminar and general meeting.

    Some of the other early AKCA accomplishments included: Under Bob Spindola (1980 – 1981) the "Club Starter Kit" was written. Under Bob Everett (1981 – 1982) AKCA acquired its tax exempt status and started the AKCA insurance program for clubs.

    Later books, posters, and pamphlets were published and a slide show on Koi classification was made available to clubs. The AKCA web site, Judging Program, Project KHV and the Koi Health Advisor programs came later.

    Today there are over 100 AKCA Koi clubs and each club is required to have an AKCA rep. It should be noted that when there is an election, only about one half of the clubs bother to vote.

    Over the years and now there has been a concern about the lack of influence and leadership from outside the California area on the board. In the past there has been interest (input) from the outside on how to make more money or run AKCA and/or KOI USA.


    “The AKCA board is sympathetic to most people’s concerns but the bottom line is the board is not going to give up its control.”

    The above is only my opinion.

    The first issue of KOI USA
    Excellent Contribution to the Internet scene, Ricshaw.
    People who have arrived to the hobby in recent years have no idea as to what came before them and how that history of activity laid the ground work for what they might assume today, always was and always will be.
    These things do not happen by accident. So it’s good to have a history lesson now and then to remind even us 'old timers' just how we got here.
    As mentioned before, there are three ways to go-- you can support an organization by working within it. Or you can reject that organization and do another version of the original with a start up, or you can throw stones from the side lines and simply work to destroy a thing.
    It’s up to each local politician and their followers as to which road is best for them to take. Some will burn bridges and take bat and ball and go home. Others will double their efforts and still others will vow to destroy the object of their desire.
    Spin offs of clubs, organizations and programs are as common as can be. In one sense it is a process of created destruction and a healthy thing. In another, it holds the potential to weaken our hobby further.
    For the average member, my advice would be not to get caught up in the political infighting—it is destructive to the soul and your enjoyment of the hobby. And malcontents abound on the margins of organized koi—so don’t be one of them!
    This will sound corny, but---- if your intentions are good and your energy to 'give back' is strong, you will find a voice in AKCA. If you are a politician with a plan, or interested in spending the treasury on your personal vision-- do expect a push back. It’s only natural as egos collide.
    And as we know, in the real world, if you play the game of political control and you lose, there are consequences. All this from a former AKCA volunteer who was treated badly at times, marginalize at times and given great opportunities for input at time. It's always going to be that way, as structure uses people for their talents. But personal satisfaction is always within our control. Choose your path and make a difference. Try and not keep score as who is ahead in ‘physic dollars’-- you or the organization. A word to the wise. JR

  4. #84
    Daihonmei
    Join Date
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    7,642
    Quote Originally Posted by andy View Post
    JR ....... Clubs, shows, judges, Koi Health, vendors, advertisers, magazines and hobbyist, just to mention a few, play an integral part in promoting and preserving our beloved hobby. Having not experienced the history and tradition of years past I tend to view the current situation through a different prism.

    In my mind AKCA has become the one association (brick and mortar) that has capture the most attention becoming by default our hobby's national representative weather it likes it or not. But How can the AKCA be the flagship of our hobby when it discriminates to those enthusiast who for whatever reason don't belong to a "club". That has puzzled me from the beginning. I figured for every club member there are tens who don't belong. Ergo my comments on lost revenue opportunities.

    Mature and experienced Koi hobbyist is a demographic you can take to the bank. I'm certain they would support the hobby weather they belong to a club or not. But the current AKCA structure does not have the flexibility to deal with that segment.... Join a club and then you can be counted is hardly a form of survival.

    At this stage its very hard, as history has proven, to start a new national movement. I'm almost positive it would never work unless a few folk really spend tons of money and time. Why not update/upgrade the next best thing.... AKCA. It already has experience and structure. Rearrange AKCA's model a little. Create a regionally represented board who's sole purpose is to focus on the big picture, individual memberships, budgets, marketing and modernization. Shift the current "club" board to an autonomous committee who's sole purpose is to promote and support clubs, shows and judge programs. And create a new autonomous committee to deal with Koi health. I'm sure I'm missing a bunch more but you get my drift.......Science and technology for instance.

    Clubs are really a great thing but not for everybody. Those who enjoy that aspect of Koi society will find each other and thrive. But they should not carry the burden of the whole industry.

    Times have changed and social networks are here to stay. I don't think clubs are the only way to preserve tradition and neither is the internet but together they form a great partnership that far exceeds the expectations of a few decade ago.
    morning Andy-- off in a few hours to the FIRST koi show in America- The SoCal ZNA show! First in continous annual shows and first ZNA chapter. I'm pumped! so this is a timely conversation we are having.

    I won't be long on this one--- Those that are 'private' koi keepers are certainly welcome to be so! And many will tap into the structure of koi once in a while to get updates and be part of shows. And that's fine too.
    But make no mistake, those who are outside the koi culture still benefit
    from it's existence. They might not realize it, but the koi in their pond and many of the books on their shelf are a byproduct of organized koi.
    So the koi club is the vetted information, unbiased education, a social outlet, a 'keeper' of the koi standards, the producer of the koi show and the place for kindred spirits who are truly koi kichi.

    This might surprise you but in the very issue you see above that Ricshaw posted a picture of, there was a standard ad that read ( paraphrase) "If you are looking for someone in your area that has an interest in koi or forming a koi club please contact use at AKCA".. So as you pointed out, they will indeed find one another thanks to an association. This is THE reason ( or a way) that clubs are formed. Kindred spirits seeking one another out to bounce off ideas, find answers and share their excitment about their koi.
    If you go to the ZNA website ( International or ZNA America) you begin to get a sense of the culture of Japanese koi. It is a very rich one. And one thing that most hobbyists can relate to-- the more you learn about koi, the more you realize that there is a lot more to koi than you thought! And a lot more to learn about these fascianting creatures. Beyond keeping them alive ( an easy thing to master) there are the koi themselves as living art. That is a life time of study. Or simply a way to put a smile on ones face as they take the leassons learned and enjoy their own koi in a quite moment.
    I'm happy to annouce that we will soon have an ' education officer' in ZNA. This individual can open eyes of the koi student and introduce the next level of understanding to the intermediate and beginner eye in a very unique way. And as humble as he is, he sees himself as a student. A very healthy perspective. Judges are NOT made to be elitists or politicians-- but treachers. All the great ones take this role on very seriously. From Spindola to Hansen to Fugita.
    I hope all our judges will become teachers first and 'rankers' of koi second. So where can you tap into this kind of instruction? At your local chapter/club. It is going to be a great year in koi--- JR

  5. #85
    Daihonmei MikeM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andy View Post
    Mike I think I answerd your question in my last post. I'd like to see membership dues being paid for the national organization and if so desired dues paid for club membership. All benefiting the same Association......
    Well, I'm not sure you did. It seems to me that most of what you stated emphasized assistance to clubs, not to individual members. If your thought is that all clubs' members be members of the national organization, then it looks like ZNA. But, I think you are concerned about the koikeeper who is not part of a local club. I do not know how a national organization can serve those folks other than through distribution of educational material, such as a koi magazine, booklets and website. When it comes to putting on shows, pond tours, seminars, etc., there has to be 'feet on the ground' doing the work. Travel distances inhibit both volunteer workers and participation. So, I think there has to be an assemblage of folks in geographic areas to get the 'feet on the ground'. That's a local club, even if it does not call itself a club. I don't have any problem with having individuals join on their own, but I don't know why many would bother if the national organization cannot deliver something not already available for free or available through a separate subscription.

    So, I'll ask again, a little differently: What would you as an individual member of a national organization want to get from your membership that is not available to you now?

  6. #86
    Tosai
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    I am still pretty busy playing catch up here around the house. Worked through Monday to get all the tanks back in storage and to empty our storage pod. I have been taking time to check in here from time to time. I appreciate the factual history from Ricshaw and was pleasantly surprised to see Spike's comments, a person who has done more than anyone to advance our knowledge of koi health koi as hobbyists. I do appreciate too the sincere interests expressed and the positive remarks from Steve, Jim N., Mike A., Dick, MikeM, Mark, and others.

    BTW, we really had a great time at the show this year even though it did rain a bit here and there. Thanks to our judges, all of whom travelled great distances at their own expense. Thanks too to the many worker-volunteers "on the ground" before, during, and after the show, and thanks to the many vendors as they have made the CFKS the size it has grown to over the years.

    Picking up from Mike's comment above we always have a few volunteers who are not club people per se that help with the show in one way or another. We appreciate their help. CFKS does require that show entrants to be in a CFKS member club the first time they show, however, we like to have people join a club (either AKCA or ZNA) thereafter so we can get to know them. My feeling is that if there is enough interest and participation to float a new national organization there most certainly will be a membership category to accommodate individual members for whatever reason.

    All for now. I have to get back to work as this time of year here is our heaviest maintenance time for the ponds and the yard. All my citrus trees are in full bloom as are the Azaleas, skies are clear, and the gators are back out here in the creek. It is just too nice of a spring day to stay inside.

  7. #87
    Jumbo jnorth's Avatar
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    I'm going to go ahead and unstick this now since the meeting has already happened. Feel free to continue the discussion in this thread or in a new one.
    Koi-Unit
    My personal koi page Updated 7/8/07
    ZNA Potomac Koi Club

  8. #88
    Honmei ricshaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobF View Post
    I have decided on my own to make a brief report of the momentous meeting held in Orlando Florida, Friday, the 9th of March 2012. I sat in the second row. I’d say there were 70 in attendance. The room was called to order at 4:00 pm.
    Joe White, the soft spoken, the most highly respected koi fancier this side of Japan, began the presentation, he began with a welcome, to all, rebel or spy, curious or crazy, welcome. This is my abbreviated recollection with minor elaboration. Joe summarized in objective terms the recent actions of the AKCA BoD as regards the ballot and the candidates. Joe related to the assembled that at 40+ clubs have signed a petition protesting these actions. He said that 30+ judges have signed a similar petition and that both petitions would be hand delivered to the ACKA Board Meeting later that evening by Burt Ballou. Joe did not express much optimism that the AKCA BoD would be receptive to the expressed concerns of the member clubs and judges group. He said that in the likely event that the protestations of the clubs and judges went unheeded then an alternative was in place.
    Mike Frady was next. Once again without, or a least very little, recrimination Mike related his recent experiences with the BoD and how the way forward may in fact be in a way leading away. A way to an organization with vision expressed through action, inclusion, and cooperation. Steve Childers, five years editor of Koi USA, who of course is known as the “most divisive person in koi keeping” then spoke. However, contrary to that reputation Steve spoke not so much about division as about a new unity. Not so much about past injustice as the possibilities that technology offers the present. Richard Porter then presented some charts that showed the uniformly downward trend of the AKCA as regards to finance, KoiUSA, and clubs. In the last few years, under the current AKCA management, the annual seminars are stopped, insurance coverage was lost, magazine revenues are way down, the number of shows have declined; many longtime AKCA volunteers were lost. In retrospect many now see that the destruction of KHA was motivated by the same hubris the BoD now shows toward the clubs and judges.
    Porter showed us some details and the tentative by-laws and Trustees of a national organization: The Koi Society. The initiation of The Koi Society would be held back until later that evening in the event that the AKCA BoD chose to listen to overwhelming majority of the Association’s membership. Charles Phelps assured the assembled that whatever the short and long of it might be: that judges would always be available, indeed eager, for shows. Questions were taken, Joe pretty much forbade any inclination to discuss personalities and speculate upon motivation, the meeting was adjourned at 5:00.
    I spoke with Joe and Mike Frady the next day, they said that the AKCA BoD was completely unresponsive, indeed dismissive, of the club and judge petitions. And so Kichis the die is cast. It is possible that some, and maybe the AKCA BoD is among them, consider that this creation of another national organization is a ploy, just a negotiating tactic, so wrong! Don’t doubt for a second that far too many have already put far too much on the line to turn back now.
    A new day is awakening to the dawn; the sun rising in the eastern sky is the same sun that set in the west, the dark night is past, a soft, warm light shines upon the smiling face of American koi keepers.
    I got to work yesterday with Mike Frady, JR, and Dick Thomas at the SoCal ZNA show... Great bunch of guys!!

  9. #89
    Oyagoi RayJordan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricshaw View Post
    I got to work yesterday with Mike Frady, JR, and Dick Thomas at the SoCal ZNA show... Great bunch of guys!!
    Nice to get to meet you Ricshaw. There is something very special about this show(38th annual) and club. Living koi history. Where ZNA first arrived from Japan to the United States.

    Ray Jordan

  10. #90
    Daihonmei
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    It was a good time! Being amongst kindred spirits is a very good thing! I was fascinated to learn that the SoCal ZNA show is not only the oldest of our American koi shows, but that it is also THE oldest cultural event in The city of Gardena, according to Councilman Ron Ikejiri. Fascinating stuff and an honor to be part of the event. It is good to know that in this rapidly changing world that something endures --- and renews us all in its presence.
    Richard I wanted to talk to you about violet eared waxbills but never got a chance! To be continued!
    JR

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