The next meeting of the American Mensa Committee (AMC) will be held on Saturday, March 21 in Las Vegas at Alexis Park. As exciting as that might sound at first, it’s not a casino hotel, and we’ll be spending most of our time gazing at conference room walls and presentation screens as we discuss the 2020-2021 budget, the 2021-2025 Strategy, and various motions. While the agenda is not confirmed at the time I am writing this, you will be able to see the agenda at https://www.us.mensa.org/lead/amc/meeting-reports/and selecting 2020-03-21 – Las Vegas from the dropdown.
One topic under discussion is related to changes regarding continuous membership. The national office regularly receives requests from members who have lapsed or who are renewing after a lapse asking to bridge the gap in their membership for a period of time. Often there are extenuating circumstances for the lapse, such as family emergencies which should of course take precedence over membership dues, and allowing those members to pay dues for the missing period seems to be a reasonable request. Unfortunately, nothing is ever as simple as it seems at first glance, and because there was no official process in place to make these sorts of exceptions, they were almost always declined.
On one hand, it seems that the value of this to the member is that of showing their pride in membership, and the value to the organization is catching up on the dues the member would have paid if they had maintained their membership, providing additional income to delay future dues increases. On the other hand, there is also value in continuous membership beyond the services the national organization provides. For instance, the recent Longtimer events held by Central Florida Mensa at their January RG and the Palm Beach Area and Broward Mensas in mid-February were specifically in celebration and thanks to those members who have supported Mensa for an extended period of time, and groups might have second thoughts about hosting such events for members who had not actually been participating for the full period. And in national elections the candidates are asked when they joined Mensa, and whether they’ve been a member the full time. Such a question might be obscured by allowing members to claim continuous membership by paying for the privilege.
These are just some of the concerns raised, but you may have some of your own, so I would be interested in your opinions if you wish to let me know.
April 19-25 is Mensa Volunteer Week, when local groups are encouraged to participate in projects as part of Mensa Cares!, our internal program for showing our Community Service support. The first of the three purposes outlined in the Constitution of Mensa is “to identify and foster human intelligence for the benefit of humanity”. We regularly receive feedback in our membership surveys that our members are looking for opportunities for service to the community, and I hope your group has something in the pipeline (and if they don’t, perhaps you have a project of your own in mind). Examples of projects by other local groups can be found at https://www.us.mensa.org/volunteer/community-service/. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Until next month (or until I see you online),
Thomas George Thomas