I understand your position, Pete. I respect it, too.
My viewpoint is that, since certifiers are now required to pay the $30.00 annual membership, we should think of ourselves as having more skin in this game. I for one am grateful for the opportunity USATF has given me. Simultaneously, if we are now going down the road of USATF membership, we can legitimately ask for and expect a little more support, IMHO.
I have no criticisms of anyone nor complaints about anyone in RRTC or USATF who has given so much of his/her time and expertise over so long to ensure we maintain standards of excellence. I'll say it again, since I have been a more active measurer in the last several years (I began in 1985), and especially since I have been a state certifier, I have grown to have a huge amount of respect for not only this selfless dedication of volunteers, but for the high level of technical expertise of RRTC members as well. My participation with such wonderful folks is stimulating. Accordingly, I also find myself more and more drawn to analyzing our work processes, with an eye to efficiency and simplification.
A few years ago, I think there were a couple of steps in our certification process that were arguably broken. They have since been fixed. I am therefore not about fixing anything that is broken or unbroken. Not unlike others of our group who have interesting ideas about what we do and how we do it, I too have some thoughts about improvements and their concomitant benefits.
Though many of my friends close to my age seem to have remained firmly on the wrong side of the "digital divide", I see a nearly equal number of seniors who are technologically literate. These people welcome technological change and improvements in everyday life. Most of us realize that younger generations have reached adulthood with expectations about the role of technology in society that may be quite different than those many of us reading this do. Accordingly, my position is that, in the interest of "succession planning" for RRTC, as well as in the interest of certification systems that are easier, quicker, and less prone to errors, we have in front of us now a huge opportunity. And a way to simultaneously step up our excellence to a new level.
So, what does this have to do with USATF membership? In terms of the income to USATF generated by 45 or so men and women paying $30.00 a year, maybe not a whole lot. Yet, $1,350.00 a year, were it to be dedicated to RRTC, would add up in a few years to something meaningful. We could underwrite dedicated server space, better connectivity, maybe some more admin support, or better pay for those of us who do the heavy lifting for course certification administration.
Now, think of each measurer being required to pay a once-per-year fee that would go directly to RRTC. If all the measurers out there paid $15.00 or $20.00 per year, we could finance the development costs for an in-house all-electronic web submission process in short order. Or, we could hire a contractor to set up and manage such a site. Imagine being able to fill out all the forms and additional info as needed via a web interface of the sort that is common today (think how Turbotax, LinkedIn and many other sites work well for completing and submitting forms online; think how well Picasa, Flickr and other sites work for scanning and easily uploading images, documents, and electronic files).
So, in a way, Pete, I am agreeing with you. If we as a group have little or no interest in keeping up with technology or in embracing readily available process improvements, then I will join forces with you in lobbying for revocation of the USATF membership requirement. We should expect something more for our outlay, IMO.
Alternatively, if we want to move ahead to embrace the inevitable rather than wait until we are sadly behind the times, I am on board not only with the annual dues requirement, I propose we institute a funding mechanism that we can employ to expedite needed upgrades. If not an annual measurer fee, perhaps a fundraising campaign - web-based, of course. Accordingly, I hereby publicly announce my commitment to helping make all of this happen when we elect to move ahead.