Meeting called to order at 9:00 a.m. by National Director of Men, Br. Chuck Kalat, and National Director of Women, Sis. Barb Vondra.
Pledge to the flag was given.
A moment of silence was observed in memory of past Sokols.
All District Directors, American Sokol Board of Instructor members and guests were welcomed and requested to rise and introduce themselves. A sign-in sheet was also passed around.
– Each District Director has one vote, 1st and 2nd Assistants each have one vote, National Directors each have a vote. Everyone is welcome to participate in the discussions, present opinions and suggestions even though they have no voting power. Motions are restricted to those who have voting rights, but anyone can join in on discussion.
General Conference Session Plans
– Copies of National and District Director Reports and Committee Reports were sent to conferees prior to the Conference for review. Agenda was presented and will be followed.
– This afternoon there will be a presentation by someone from the Ft. Worth Convention Visitors Bureau regarding our Slet facilities. We will then take a tour of some of the Slet facilities. We will have dinner while we are out, and then we will attend a social at the Milan Galleries.
2007 SOKOL USA SOKOLFEST – Pittsburgh, PA
– Sis. M. Cushing wrote the American Sokol Special Number that was performed at the Sokolfest.
– Bryan Pracko gave brief summary of the Sokolfest events. Sokol USA received a lot of positive feedback. Following Br. Pracko’s summary, several comments were made by those present.
– Applause was given for another successful event.
– Registration materials have been sent out to all units. Two youth are registered so far from Sokol Los Angeles.
– Current income: $10 for two new members. $252 for funds transferred for last year’s National Traveling Camp held in Central District.
– November newsletter is scheduled to go out after registration deadline of November 15, 2007. Newsletter will include the penpal program and another Christmas Holiday Coloring Contest.
– Br. B. Kucera requested a list of unit instructors so that he can send them the Youth Newsletter so they are aware of what the youth are being told about. The instructor’s database does get cleaned out and there is a youth ambassador web site. At this time, these spaces are not working. Br. T. Pajer will check out these sites and get them up and running in the near future.
– Br. B. Kucera request that the person who submits the registration materials at each unit pay attention to people’s addresses that were marked because they are not correct; please correct that information when submitting your registration information. These people do not receive the membership materials, i.e. passports, newsletters.
– Last year, 2, 070 youth members registered
– Contests that remain stable, the penpal program and coloring contests, have a lot of participation. Some contests may be offered at different times of the year in the hope of getting more participation. Rather than hold an essay contest, there may be a poster contest instead.
– Some prizes help kids save money on camp registration fees, but not many are taking advantage of the opportunity.
– Br. C. Kalat encouraged instructors to talk about youth programs and newsletter information.
– Youth ambassadors receive youth newsletters.
– The National BOI has a Yahoo Group e-mail system. Members become part of this site by invitation only. Youth Membership has a similar Yahoo Group. If you are interested in being part of the youth membership group, request an invitation through Br. B. Kucera to be part of the group. A lot of information is disseminated through this system. Br. B. Kucera would like to have the instructors join this site.
– Howie and Jane Wise are the BOI advisors to the New Wing. The New Wing representatives are Kevin Fitzpatrick, Mike Wise, Mike Dropka and Emanuella Grinberg.
– The goal for this past year was to produce a database of individuals that fell into the age 18-30 group. This goal is still in progress; they are not sure what to do with the database once it is created.
– New Wing is planning a second Winter Slet. It will again be in the Chicago area. Ted Polashek is the main contact for organizing this event. Sis. J. Wise presented a flyer (attached) that will be going out. It will be the same format as before. The Slet will be held over the Martin Luther King holiday weekend. Prices have not yet been finalized; it will be cost effective in order to encourage people to participate. The same hotel will be used as the last time. Sokol Tabor will be holding a pig roast; it is optional if anyone wants to attend and pay for dinner. At the last Winter Slet, only Sokols from Cleveland, Chicago, St. Louis and New York had people attend.
– BOI approved an $800 advance for New Wing to pay for the deposit on the volleyball facility.
– The purpose of the New Wing is to get young people socializing.
– Strategic Planning Task Force uses the New Wing as a sounding board and values their opinion.
– Currently, there are no plans for a New Wing conference of any sort at any time.
– It was noted that there are a few items on the BOI Action List that the New Wing can take charge of, such as the Presidents Fitness Challenge which they can facilitate and monitor.
– The New Wing contacted Sokol USA’s YES committee prior to Pittsburg Sokolfest to see if they could help with anything, but the New Wing never heard back from them.
NATIONAL GYMNASTIC SKILLS MONTH – December, 2007
– Br. T. Pajer had packets of Skills cards to pass out.
– The Skills program went okay. Br. Pajer is attempting to evaluate who is actually using the Skills cards. Br. Bob Kucera helped with the Boys Skills Cards, Christina Curran helped with the Girls Skills Cards and Patti Vondra helped with the Tots Skills Cards. All Skills Cards were kept the same as last year. The cards are reviewed prior to the start of each Sokol year.
– Br. Pajer is concerned that this program is not being utilized and gets pushed to the side. This program has a lot of merit to it, with regard to teaching and for safety purposes within your unit.
– Br. Pajer touched on future plans for Skills program. (See National Skills Program Annual Report attached). Section V in his report explains a program of achievement proposal. Br. Pajer is looking for feedback as to whether this sort of program would inspire classes to work on achieving these skills.
– Instructors School has begun some work in incorporating the skills cards into the instructor’s school curriculum so the students know that this program and the skill cards exist.
– Both Sis. M. Fiordelis and Sis. J. Wise feel units use the skill cards as an evaluation tool; not sure more paperwork would go over with instructors.
– Central District does order a lot of ribbons for skills. There are ribbons for different levels available.
– A suggestion was made to remove the word “month” from the ribbon and replace it with the word “program.” Another suggestion was to possibly get the ribbons and cards out earlier in the year so the program can be started earlier.
– It was noted that these cards should be kept and used for the students year after year in order to follow their progress.
SOKOL USA REPORT – Bryan Pracko
– Report of the Sokol USA National Gymnastics Department Meeting dated September 8, 2007, Boonton, NJ by Br. C. Kalat is attached.
– Br. B. Pracko indicated that Sokol USA formed a committee to discuss holding an Instructor’ School in Barryville, NY, with beginning and novice levels only. The course may be held this year or possibly the year after.
– At their Department Meeting, there was a long discussion on Sokolfest.
– Sokol USA has five active gyms.
– The YES Council has been in a state of flux for the last year or so. There are only 2 or 3 of the original members still on the Council. Br. Pracko was not sure why the New Wing was not contacted about getting involved with Sokolfest; Br. Pracko will check into this.
– Sokol USA discussed holding 3 competitions, one held in each of Western (Chicago) area, Central (Pennsylvania) area and Eastern area.
DA SOKOL – Peter Lattanzio
– After 15 years as director, Peter Lattanzio stepped down.
– There are 180 gymnasts registered.
– There are 5 branches in DA Sokol; only one branch is active.
– Gymnastic programs have been merged into one program
– Only one branch has been getting new members.
– DA Sokol has been attempting to have a merger of all 5 branches since 1975. Hopefully, the last convention will be this year. Once the merger is completed, there will be no need for a convention.
– DA Sokol will attend American Sokol Slet in 2009.
STRATEGIC PLANNING TASK FORCE – Maryann Fiordelis
– Sis. M. Fiordelis provided a brief update on the following active teams: Database team, Finance team and Personnel team.
– Sis. B. Vondra indicated a survey will be going out from the Finance team.
– Sis. Fiordelis brought Team Interest Forms and encouraged BOI members to fill one out and join a team. Currently, the Membership team has only 3 members; the Volunteer Management team needs members.
– At this time, Sis. M. Cushing and Br. T. Pajer gave a slide presentation from the Programs team regarding the education program.
At 10:55 a.m. a 10-minute break was taken. Meeting resumed at 11:05 a.m. The Programs team slide presentation continued.
Application of the Youth Participants Must Be Youth Members By-Law
– Certain activities have been opened up to non-members; however, it is in violation of the Sokol by-laws, which stat, “In order to participate in an American Sokol program, a youth must be a youth member.” There was a camp situation where we actually eliminated applicants because of this rule. The question was raised whether we should allow an exemption to this rule for some of these activities. There are times Sokol opens activities to non-Sokol people in order to gain their interest in Sokol; i.e. bring-a-friend to Sokol.
– Br. T. Pajer indicated that traveling camp, which is held in the summer, prepares kids to register for Sokol in the fall. This year camp was opened to non-Sokol kids, hoping to recruit more kid into our program, but it is a direct violation of the by-laws because it is a National traveling camp program and the by-laws state the kids have to be youth members.
– Previously, we could collect money to be a member and the child was a member; now, a parent also has to become a member in order for the child to belong.
– Br. T. Pajer indicated a change to the by-law or just make every person who wants to participate become a member. Or, rather than becoming a member, charge non-members more money than a member would pay to participate.
MOTION made by Br. T. Pajer to recommend to Board of Governors that an exception be made to this by-law to accommodate recruitment strategies and other special exceptions per event, seconded by Sis. L. Laznovsky and passed.
$5, 000/year BOI Income Commitment
– At the last convention, we committed to raise $25, 000 to help support the BOI budget. Several ideas were introduced during the past year as possible activities to raise more money. A suggestion was made to hold an open tournament of some sort to raise money in 2008 which is a non-Slet year.
– Sis. B. Vondra talked about the ideas discussed at the last BOI Directors Conference.
– More suggestions were made at this meeting, i.e. annual baseball, golf, bowling and bags tournaments on a National level. Regional tournaments or local tournaments could work also. If the tournaments are held locally, then a percentage could be given to the National.
– Br. T. Pajer suggested running private lessons to earn money for American Sokol; volunteers would donate a couple hours a week and earn money for American Sokol. Br. Pajer volunteered to look into private lessons and requested he be put on the BOI action list to be reminded of this.
At 12:30 a.m. a 45-minute break was taken for lunch. Meeting resumed at 1:15 p.m.
– The Uniform Report was distributed. Sis. B. Vondra summarized the attached written report.
– Br. C. Kalat read the list with costs of merchandise and souvenirs available for purchase through American Sokol.
– A letter was received from Sokol Spirit requesting reconsideration of Group II uniforms. Previously, BOI felt it did not want to separate the Senior II group uniforms from the other adult uniforms. Discussion followed.
MOTION made by Br. R. Milan that American Sokol have one uniform for all adults, seconded by Sis. N. Pajeau and passed.
BOI polled the votes: Men and Women Directors voted same – Central District votes no; Eastern District votes yes; Northeastern District votes yes; Western District votes no; Southern District votes yes; BOI Officers’ votes 6 yes. Total votes: 12 yes; 4 no.
ASO NATIONAL INSTRUCTORS SCHOOL
– Sis. M. Cushing summarized the attached 2007 American Sokol Instructors School Report, July 16-July 30, 2007.
– American Sokol School Board Report 2007 is attached.
– The School Board held a meeting yesterday (10/18/07), prior to the American Sokol BOI Directors’ Conference.
– The School Board recommended to the Directors that the 2008 School again be held at Sokol Greater Cleveland hosted by the Northeastern District and Sokol Greater Cleveland. Sis. Cushing was again recommended as the director of the School.
– Fees for the School will appear higher at $325 per student, but if you register before May 15, 2008, you get a $50 discount. After June 15, 2008, the fee will be $425.
The Instructors School will be held July 7 to July 21, 2008. There will be a one week break between the School ending and the National Camp beginning.
NATIONAL SCHOOL BOARD MEETING – October 18, 2007
Report and Actions
Br. Bud Benak reported on School Board meeting:
– Meeting began with a review of the 2007 School Board Report.
– The School Board then reviewed agenda items from the last School Board meeting.
– New diplomas were designed, purchased and used.
– Practice teaching lessons were discussed; Br. Peter Lattanzio and Sis. Mary Cushing now have these lessons on disk and will continue adding new skills to these practice teaching lessons.
– Received from Br. Steve Wise recommended changes in curriculum. The Board went over his suggestions and many have been worked on already and will be incorporated. Sis. M. Cushing is putting together a new book.
– Approved a new Instructors School Rules and Policies document.
– Reviewed current Code of Conduct; shortened it by removing table of contents.
– Discussed putting school applications on the web site. Br. Benak will forward information to Br. T. Pajer to install on the web site.
– Discussed changing the time of year Course information is sent out. Decided to send the information out on April 1, which is later than usual, hoping it will be acted on right away. Information will also be put in the American Sokol publication.
– Discussed the reimbursement of the Robert Liptak award. When Units pay for their student to attend the Course, it was felt the Unit should be reimbursed, not the student. Units and parents will be informed of the winner and the remuneration will go to Unit and the Unit will be responsible for reimbursing the parent if that is who paid. Both the Unit and parents will be notified of the winner of this award.
– Discussed transportation of school instructors. The School will reimburse airfare cost up to 21 days before the school session. If someone purchases airfare closer to the School date at a higher cost, they will not get full reimbursement.
At this time, Br. T. Pajer showed the Instructors School promotional video that was put together during the Instructors School staff meeting.
NATIONAL SOKOL YOUTH CAMP
– Sis. L. Laznovsky summarized the attached 2007 National Camp Report.
– In 2008, the National Camp will be held in St. Louis. The dates are July 27 to August 3, 2008. The cost has not yet been established.
– A promotional video will be coming out.
TRAVELING SOKOL SUMMER CAMP
– Br. T. Pajer summarized the attached 2007 Traveling Summer Sokol Camp Annual Report.
– Sis. B. Vondra requested feedback from the Districts as to why they do not take advantage of hosting a traveling camp. Central District held traveling camps three times. Southern District held one over Christmas break in 2006. Northeast District is interested in holding a traveling camp possibly during spring break. Eastern District may be interested if it were a day camp, rather than an overnight camp. The camp does not have to be a District event; it can be for separate units. Sokol Greater Cleveland indicated that Kevin Fitzpatrick is persuading Sokol Greater Cleveland to hold a camp; Sokol Greater Cleveland will possibly hold a Sokol Fun Day with parents and children, but no sleepover.
– Br. T. Pajer would like to step back and have someone else oversee the traveling camp. New staff members are always needed and anyone interested in being a staff member can contact Br. Pajer.
– Staff compensation has been cut back. The reason for the camp program was to give some of the Sokol young adults the opportunity to have this position as a summer job.
At this time, everyone viewed a DVD prepared by Maria Briedenbach of the activities of the Traveling Camp.
– A written report was not available at this time so discussion was postponed. Br. C. Kalat indicated the budget is under by over $10, 000.00.
At 2:40 p.m. a 10-minute break was taken. Meeting resumed at 2:50 p.m.
2009 AMERICAN SOKOL NATIONAL SLET
Plans/Preparations – Status
– The general plan is to have Slet activities at the same time as other USAG events are going on at the same place. There is a commitment from the General Gymnastics group. They will be participating at the same time.
American Sokol will rent the entire Convention Center and then lease space to other groups during that time.
– Br. R. Milan gave a brief update.
– The hotel will be completed by Summer 2008.
– Sokol Ft. Worth has designated some folks to write calisthenics. Br. J. Milan is working on the Senior II cal. It is currently in progress. It will be about 7 minutes in length and is an easy cal. There are blocks of 9 with 6 women, 3 men. A video should be available shortly.
– The Junior/Young Adult aerobic cal author, Coy Garrett, indicated she is finished composing her cal. She is trying to assemble a group of people to learn it.
– According to the author, Leslie Milan and B.J. Cleveland, the children’s cal is composed and is now being prepared for video.
– Br. T. Pajer and Sis. C. Curran-Wurst are working on the Senior cal which is a combination of a traditional and some aerobic cal. Finishing touches are being added. No video is yet available.
– Br. T. Pajer gave Br. Kalat and Sis. B. Vondra one version of the All-Sokol Special Number to review. Suggestions were given by Br. Kalat and some changes will be made.
– Sis. J. Wise suggested the author of the cal be the person to be videoed, which gives everyone the opportunity to see how the author really wants the cal done.
– There are 6 cals total, Tots, Children, Juniors/Young Adult, Senior, Senior II and the All-Sokol Special Number.
– The Tots cal is a new cal and is written by Nicole Marchluk.
– At the Slet committee meetings, it was discussed whether we should open aspects of our competitions to outside groups, i.e. General Gymnastics people may want to compete in our gymnastic competition, or possibly opening up the volleyball tournament to outside groups. If we open these events up to outside groups, do we have separate tournaments outside of the Sokol only tournaments, or is one tournament held for everyone to participate.
– Discussed options and benefits, pros and cons.
– There were concerns about outside groups following our rules for competition, including doing calisthenics.
– There will be a parade in downtown Ft. Worth that will take up one morning.
– What has typically been our opening ceremony, which includes special number exhibitions, may now be combined with the General Gymnastics group who has a gala performance which we may join.
– The General Gymnastics group always has a very successful social evening with their young members and there is a possibility we would hold combined socials with the other organizations performing at the Convention Center.
– The Pan American Gymnastics Union (PAGU) will be participating in an event at the Convention Center.
– Br. Kalat is working on a preliminary schedule to see how everything will fit including the multiple events that will be going on. There are no slots currently available for bowling unless it is put opposite another event.
– If we combine our special numbers with the GG Gala, then as an opening ceremony we need another activity or an optional competition. We could just eliminate scheduling anything for this time slot. The current schedule is planned from Tuesday through Saturday night. Sunday there may be a social gathering.
– We need to think about having an awards event and where to fit that in. There are so many age groups and divisions to give awards to that some may have to be combined.
– General discussion took place about the competition committee and reviewed Slet event offerings.
– Talked about the Grand March. Discussed marching in and marching out or staying on the field.
Items to Consider Based on Participation Figures from 2005 Slet
– Br. C. Kalat polled those present on various items listed on sheet attached.
– Combine the 2 junior age groups into a single “junior” age group for both boys and girls –opposed.
– Combining the 2 adult age groups into a single age group for both men and women – opposed.
– Remove the Adult “individual apparatus” events for men and women – opposed.
– Return to a single masters II age group – opposed.
– Remove rhythmic events, combine age groups, remove individual apparatus events – opposed.
– Include festival rhythmics in place of individual apparatus rhythmics – okay.
– Opening gymnastic competitions to non-Sokol competitors – okay.
– Opening team sports to non-Sokol competitors – okay.
– Including non-Sokol participants in Slet calisthenics and/or all-Sokol special number – okay.
– Including non-Sokol group performances in Slet program – okay.
– Combining our special number exhibition with USAG General Gymnastics – okay.
– Including a special finale at the end of the program which would include all participants, Sokol and non-Sokol – okay.
– Eliminate grand march – keep it.
– Combining children’s social events with other group – okay.
– Combine juniors and young adults social with other group – okay.
– Presenting the awards right after the event – okay.
– Have a social for everyone – okay.
– For fitness challenge, do we prefer a designated time activity or an open all day activity – opposed (leave it open all day).
QUESTIONS/COMMENTS/DISCUSSION ON SUBMITTED REPORTS
– Men’s and Women’s Reports – no questions.
– Attendance Report – no questions.
– Central District Report – Sis. B. Kucera gave an explanation on the instructors training clinic held at Sokol Naperville-Tyrs.
– Eastern District – no questions.
– Southern District – no questions.
– Western District – no questions.
– Merit Awards Report – no questions.
– American Gymnast Report – Br. C. Kalat explained that the editor of the American Sokol publication resigned as of the end of this year. The executive board is in the process of trying to find a replacement.
– Director’s Newsletter Report – Br. B. Benak presented a donation from Sokol South Omaha to the Director’s Newsletter. Sis. J. Wise and Br. H. Wise continue to include “Wise Ideas.” Sis. Wise suggested any ideas someone may have for that column to let her know.
– Educational Director Report – no questions.
– BOI Sales Report – no questions.
ANY UNFINISHED OR POSTPONED AGENDA ITEMS
– Sis. M. Fiordelis distributed flyers inviting everyone to participate in the Northeastern District Slet on June 8, 2008.
NEXT AMERICAN SOKOL DISTRICT DIRECTORS CONFERENCE AND BOI DEVELOPMENT CONFERENCE
– Normally, Development Conferences are held once every other year; however, it was decided that the next Conference will be held in 2008 instead of 2009, since 2009 is an American Sokol Slet year. Sokol South Omaha in the Western District offered to host the Development Conference in 2008.
ANYTHING ELSE FOR THE GOOD OF SOKOL
– Presentation of the Ft. Worth Convention Center was scheduled for 5:00 p.m.
– Meeting adjourned 4:40 p.m.
Beverly R. Domzalski, Recording Secretary