When Bob Wollam asked me to write this article for The Cut Flower Quarterly, I considered writing about the farm experience here at Happy Trowels but realized that this was a good chance to describe the workings of the Nominations Committee, which I chair, and the joys of being on the Board of Directors of the ASCFG.
    
Each year the Nominations Committee recruits new members to run for the Executive Board and for Regional Directors. This year we are looking for candidates for President, Vice-president, Midwest Regional Director, and South & Central Regional Director.  We wrack our brains trying to find persons who might be interested in running.  We know that such persons must be able to manage their own business and meet the responsibilities to the ASCFG.  It’s an interesting process.  We pull out the Ouija board, the darts, and the vodka, whatever it takes to come up with good names.  We then send a letter to prospective candidates asking, cajoling, and begging them to run.  Most are too busy, too self-effacing, too scared to run.
    
So let me tell you why being on the board has been such fun for me and why YOU should run for office.  The Board of Directors gets to go to Board Meetings!  Two each year!  The expenses are paid by the ASCFG!  Humble farmers rarely get expense-paid trips or free meals.  But hotel lodging with stars?!?   Now we’re talking.  There was an iron in my last hotel room.  
    
That’s just the creature comforts.  What about the intellectual stimulation and emotional gratification?  Well, intellectually speaking, you would get to rub shoulders with Dr. John Dole, no sweet potato when it comes to flower knowledge.  Also there is the chance to talk with the other board members about flower opportunities when the committee discussions wane.  No end to the valuable tips there.  Takes me back to high school and hustling the girl across the aisle.  
    
And the real tuna of this opportunity is getting to know what it takes to run the ASCFG and being part of the decision-making necessary to run our organization.  You get to decide when and where the next National Conference will be.  If you’re Regional Director you get to decide where the next Regional Meeting will be and when.  Not to mention the real nuts and bolts decisions affecting our organization as seen from the Finance, Promotions/Member Services, Conference, Communications and Research committees.
    
Now, the emotional gratifications are many.  I love to tell my florists or my wholesaler that I am a Member of the Board.  I don’t worry at all about their quizzical expressions and jump right in to tell them about our association and how no fly-by- night flower grower could ever be a part, let alone a Member of the Board.  As their eyes go glassy, I just think of all the wonderful growers I associate with, including the Big Shots, on the Board.  When things go wrong, I just think of all my illustrious colleagues and that they must have survived worse, and then that I am on the Board.  Shucks, Bunny, I say to myself, you’re on the Board.
    
I can’t say that being on the Board has helped me get a date.  Some things are beyond, well, help.
         
What do your neighbors say when you tell them you have to go to a Board Meeting?  Mine show a little more respect; I like that.  Down on the farm respect is hard to find.  I like the way my kid looks at me when I tell him I have to go to a Board Meeting.  That’s real respect.  
    
Enough of the emotional side.  What about the kicker?  Well here it is:  you get to visit someone’s farm because we usually have a Board Meeting near a member’s farm and finagle our way into a short visit.  You all know how much you learn from a farm visit.  And this one is free.  I have enjoyed touring Bob Wollam’s, Dave Dowling’s, Jon Landwer’s and Ray Gray’s farms.  You see, you really should run for office and have a little of this fun for yourself.  Don’t leave it all to the current Board Members!  Run for office and vote them out!  I mean: Run for office and join in the fun!