I can’t resist the opportunity to congratulate the Portland Conference crew, including dedicated ASCFG staff  Judy Laushman and Linda Twining on a terrific program entirely befitting a 20th year anniversary. I was particularly impressed with the attention to all the details.  I think special thanks go to Ray Gray in getting his talented family and friends involved in the festivities. We will need another 20 years to top that conference. Very warm hospitality everywhere we went, I know all those in attendance felt it.
    
On to next year, let me remind you of the generous offer from the representatives of three seed companies in California—American Takii, Goldsmith and Sakata. We have not settled on the final details but please keep in mind that they have offered to set aside a day at the 2009 Pack Trials to focus on cut flowers.  I’ve told you before how much information is available at the Pack Trials, so please consider taking this opportunity to come to California. This meeting will likely be on April 2 or 3 (at least right around there).  Pencil that time in on your 2009 calendar and as soon as we have the details worked out, in the next couple of months, the information will be posted in a Short Cuts and on the Bulletin Board. I truly look forward to seeing as many of you as possible in California this spring.  (In fact, when people start asking you what you want for Christmas, tell them all you want is a trip to the cut flower day at the Pack Trials).
    
I wish to focus the rest of my column following up on a project I got started at the Conference. This idea has been kicked around for a few years and now that the ASCFG is in its 20th year, the timing seems perfect for all of us involved in the Association to take part in shaping the next 20 years. To do this, the Board of Directors is making plans to have a facilitated strategic planning session for the spring 2009 Board meeting. Between now and then, I am making an effort to collect as many of your ideas, opinions, and just thoughts about where you see the organization by the time ASCFG’s Ruby anniversary comes along.
    
We truly want input from all members, that’s what makes the ASCFG strong. To help you get started if you weren’t able to make the conference or to encourage you to submit the questionnaire that we handed out at the conference, if you were there, I have listed below a few questions. Your answers to the following questions will be a great help to the Board as they embark on this planning process:
1.    What do you see as the main purpose or role of the ASCFG?
2.    What do you see as goals for the organization in the next 20 years?
3.    What type of membership services and benefits do you think would best
    serve a future ASCFG?
4.    What might be some of the ways the ASCFG can produce the services and
    benefits you are suggesting (either financial support or actual administration)?
5.    Do you have any suggestions for raising funds for the ASCFG?  
6.    What do you see as the best way to retain members?
7.    Gazing at your crystal ball, what does the ASCFG in 2028 look like?
    (Not replying “gray” would make us all feel better!)
    
Please take a few moments of your time to offer your thoughts and help guide this great organization into the next 20 years—it could be your legacy! You can send me your answers by email to: [email protected] or P.O. Box 1164 Dayton, NV 89403.
    
Now, I do have one other item (well, I never have just one more item but I have just one more for this column) to bring up. In order to conduct this strategic planning session this spring, the Board is looking for a top-notch, professional facilitator. We have been given a couple of leads but I want to have several options.  Let me know if you have any recommendations for a facilitator. I’m thinking we have such a talented pool of members; a facilitator might be lurking among the membership. If you are a great facilitator or know of one could you please let us know?  Please contact me at [email protected] or (541) 573-1454 to discuss.
    
I thank you in advance for help and service to the ASCFG on this strategic planning process.