To the Members of the WCA,
The Officers, Board of Directors and Executive Secretary (“the Board”) of the WCA are dedicated to the continued operation of a national club that promotes the Weimaraner breed that we all love. The Board has been engaged for the last two years in a series of actions intended to improve the operations of the club and address a number of issues that, if left unattended, threaten our ability to pursue excellence in the intended purpose of our breed.
The Weimaraner Club of America exists to promote breeding of pure bred Weimaraners that meet the AKC standard for conformation and that possess the natural ability to perform as hunting dogs. To that end, the WCA holds events and supports and encourages local clubs in conducting bench shows, field trials, obedience trials, hunt tests, tracking events and agility events. Additionally the WCA urges members and breeders to accept the standard, protect and advance the interest of the breed and encourages sportsmanlike conduct at all events.
Thank you to all of our members who have taken the time to share their comments, questions and concerns regarding the committee structure, Futurity and Maturity Program and other topics with the members of the WCA Board of Directors or our Executive Secretary. It continues to be important for the Board to hear the varied perspectives of our members.
Some of our actions have been completed.
As presented in the March 2011 WCA Magazine, and in Board meeting minutes over the last 2 years, the Board has undertaken a major committee restructuring intended to streamline operations and focus our attention on the activities that are important. In making the determination about what needed to be done with our committee structure we started with the recognition of our current situation and the issues that we need to focus attention on.
Specifically, WCA membership has decreased in each year over the past 5 years from 1,822 in 2007 to 1,382 in 2011. The Futurity and Maturity Program is the best indicator we have of the change in the size of the breed itself, and the number of litters nominated has trended down from 184 in 2007 to 135 in 2011. Similarly the number of puppies nominated has trended down from 409 to 287 over the same period.
The trends in membership led to two of our Board committee decisions. We have formed a Membership Committee to encourage, reward and recognize membership in the WCA and local affiliated Weimaraner Clubs. We are committed to improving financial transparency through the creation of more detailed financial reports. Unfortunately, the improved transparency reveals a weakening financial condition. One factor that has contributed to that weakening financial condition is the Futurity and Maturity Program, which has lost money since 2006. The Board made a first attempt to address the Futurity/Maturity issue in early 2010, but club members let us know that the job was not yet completed so we convened a special committee in December, 2010 to advise us on further changes. The results of that work will be shared in February.
The trend in membership and puppies nominated is reflected in the accomplishments of our dogs. The number of Weimaraners recognized as Champions has trended down between 2007 and 2011, from 193 to 177; while the number has rebounded from the lean years of 2009 and 2010, it remains well below 2008. The number of Field Champions has decreased in each of the 5 years from 9 in 2007, to 2 in 2011. The number of Amateur Field Champions, already lower than the number of Field Champions, trended lower. It is worth noting however, that the number of Senior Hunter and Master Hunter titles earned by Weimaraners has grown through the same period.
The divergent trend in the Field Trial and Hunt Test accomplishments of Weimaraners is one of the facts that the WCA Board wants to investigate in coming years. Of greater concern to the Board than the number of titles being conferred is the trend in the number of events being hosted by local clubs. There are 38 local clubs. The number of specialty shows has remained roughly constant over the years 2008 through 2011, with an average of 49 per year. But the number of field trials hosted by local clubs is lower than the number of specialty shows and has gone down each of those years, from 31 in 2008 to 22 in 2011. It is also worth noting that the number of WCA Shooting and Retrieving Rating Tests, which can serve as the introduction to field activities for many of our less experienced members, is low. In 2011 only 13 local clubs offered retrieving ratings and 12 offered shooting ratings.
The support of the breed standard mandates that the Board find ways to continue to support field activities by our members and our local clubs. Our first step in that direction is to consolidate the committees dealing with the different field activities into one. The priority that the Board places on field activities is reflected by the fact that one of the seven committees in the new structure is the newly designated Field Committee, charged with promoting involvement in field events. Additionally, the National Field Trial Sub-Committee (under Operations/Administration) will oversee all WCA field trials: the Field Classics as well as the National Field Trial.
In addition to our Field and Membership Committees, we have Communications, Records, Breed Advocacy, Companion and Operations/Administration. The Charters and Chairs for each committee are listed on our web site and Chair contact information is also included The Weimaraner Magazine.
The Board is seeking ways to demonstrate to the membership that it is working to achieve the objectives of the club. Such a demonstration is challenging because there is no single measure that alone demonstrates the accomplishment of the very broad objective of “protecting, promoting and preserving the breed and serving the interests of the membership.” So we have elected to use a balanced scorecard. It is based on the belief that working toward the accomplishment of ultimate organizational objective is best served by working to meet a set of intermediate targets that are measurable and that combine to move the organization in the direction of meeting the ultimate objective. Our scorecard is:
Balanced Scorecard for the Weimaraner Club of America Board of Directors
We recognize that we have members that do not agree with or see the need for changes; however, as we look at the trends and the input across the organization (from all member survey results) it is our belief we are implementing changes that will benefit the organization going forward.
We will continue to outreach to the whole membership through surveys to determine priorities. Our committees will focus on the areas that support the Weimaraner and our members.
We thank you for your support and patience during this time of transition.