[nabs-l] The "state of the student divisions"

Joe Orozco jsorozco at gmail.com
Tue May 5 05:07:43 UTC 2009

Hello all,

Grants are mistakenly seen as just free money to sponsor an activity.
People overlook the value grants provide to help groups organize themselves
to make the activity work.  There are many benefits to learning how to
clearly define your mission, how to explain your community need, to spell
out how your group is making an impact...  Grants, if nothing else, help
people learn about drafting and managing a budget.  In general, there is no
greater exercise in teamwork than in the preparation of putting together a
proposal.  For my office I will say we are far more interested in your
complete story than we are in the perfection of your proposal.

I do not at all buy the argument that some divisions are too young to apply
for grants.  Divisions are formed because the affiliate felt there was a
sufficient number of people and a sufficient need to allow the student
division to be established.  If neither factor is present, it is okay to
have a group of students minus the formality of a student division.  There
are plenty of benefits to an informal group, but at the point a division is
formed, the students are saying they want to be taken seriously as an
organization.  As such they should be treated like an organization.  To
expect anything less is to say we are okay with forming divisions for the
sake of forming divisions.  People are quick to be fascinated with the
notion of becoming president of this or treasurer of that but are not very
amused when the pressures of these positions come to bear.

Yes, even fully developed divisions face their own troubles with recruitment
and retention.  I would never claim the work is easy, but the greatest
obstacle you have to overcome is taking the first step.  If you need help,
ask for help.  If you don't get the answers you want, keep raising hell.
Pick up a phone.  Don't give up if your e-mail is not answered.  You know
there's a NABS board.  They keep talking about regional representatives.
Make them work.  That's why they ran for their positions, to be put to work
for your benefit.

I completely respect Oregon, because Joseph Carter understands where his
weaknesses lie and is carrying out a plan to address those weaknesses.  I
don't hear Joseph bitching about how things are just so hard.  Students from
California and Michigan have written me off list asking how they might be
better prepared for the next opportunity.  They weren't somewhat offended by
my tone.  They took their rebuke and are using the opportunity to do
something to improve their status.  They and others understand there are
enough examples of the good things that can happen in state divisions when
students decide to quit whining and start acting.   The founders of
Invisible Children were nothing more than a few guys with a camera, and now
they lead one of the most influential grassroots organizations benefiting
children who are on a completely different continent, and they were students
when they began their venture.  Don't give me this nonsense that as students
we're too busy to do anything of substance.

Here's the interesting point I have not seen anyone mention.  I have told
you I was disappointed in you for not applying for one of our grants.  I
told you in my most recent opportunity announcement that I did not want you
to let me down a second time, but consider this thought:  Who am I to tell
you to do anything?  What if you were so confident in your ability to do
great things that you could write to me publicly and say, "Screw you.  I
don't need your stupid grant to kick ass!"

Think about it...

Joe Orozco

"A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the
crowd."--Max Lucado 

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