President's Message

Spring 2011 CSANews Issue 78  |  Posted date : May 06, 2011.Back to list

Welcome back to Canada.

Let me begin by saying that Lois and I had the pleasure of meeting many of you this winter at one of our Extravaganzas or Winter Information Meetings throughout Florida and the southwestern United States. These meetings give me a real opportunity to hear your concerns and update you on what the association is doing on your behalf. I received a tremendous amount of feedback over the winter and I want you to know that those ideas are brought back to the board of directors and to the CSA staff in Toronto for followup. And, for those of you with whom I may not have had a chance to speak directly, if you have any questions or concerns, please give them a call at the office... they are there to provide the information which you need.

Is it just me, or are there more people attending the Snowbird Extravaganza in Lakeland, Florida each year? Hard to imagine enhancing a lineup that already includes Rita MacNeil, Bowser and Blue, Walter Ostanek, the Diamonds and the many other world-class entertainers whom you've come to expect. I mean, what more could possibly be done? How about adding Canadian master impressionist Rich Little? The seats of the Lakeland Center were filled with smiling snowbirds and the halls were packed with even more, who were getting in on some of the great deals offered by the exhibitors. You can always recognize the first-time attendees - they have a look of utter amazement when they see what a truly world-class event this is. If you haven't yet been, please come to Lakeland and take in the show next January; I guarantee that you will not be disappointed. The best part is that the show is absolutely free. We have our friends at Medipac and our sponsors to thank for that.

The next stop for Lois and me on our winter travels was the Winter Texans' Snowbird Extravaganza in beautiful South Padre Island, Texas. We then headed to Mesa, Arizona for the Canadian Snowbird Celebration. These gatherings are great reminders that not all of our members go to Florida for the winter! We have literally tens of thousands who winter in the southwestern United States. Although many of the issues that concern us are similar, different states have different laws that affect our members in different ways. We are a truly national organization and many of our members west of Ontario winter in Arizona, Texas and California. These larger gatherings and our smaller Winter Information Meetings give us an opportunity to focus on the issues that concern our members on a state-by-state basis.

Speaking of Winter Information Meetings! This year, we visited Yuma, Arizona and Indio, California. We then headed back to Florida for meetings in Panama City Beach, Port Charlotte and Largo. These meetings are smaller than the Extravaganzas and the focus is more on information than on entertainment. Again, they have more of a grassroots feel; they provide even more opportunity for discussion and are a great source of new members.

I would like to thank the hundreds of volunteers who come out year after year to help us put on these wonderful events. We could not do any of this without your help and I sincerely thank you... your work does not go unnoticed. I would also like to thank everyone who made a donation to our Special Action Fund for government lobbying.

I should also mention that at our September board meeting, your board of directors approved a plan that would bring some of these great information sessions to many of you in your local communities, clubs and parks over the winter. We thought that if a director were already in the area attending one of our winter shows, this might be a great outreach initiative. Essentially, the idea was that CSA members could invite a board member to make an information presentation to his or her local community or club. The presentation would include information about who we are, what we do and answer any questions which people might have on a wide variety of snowbird-related topics. I'm happy to report that this was very successful. We signed up many new members and I'm optimistic that we'll do this again next winter. We'll let you know in the Fall edition of CSANews how you can book a presentation for your local park or club next winter.

As many of you are aware, one of the most valuable benefits of CSA membership is the access which we have to the current and accurate travel information found in our Travel Information Guide. Although we constantly publish updates online at www.snowbirds.org, the last print edition came out in 2008. I am happy to report that CSA staff are busy putting together a completely updated and revised edition, and that all CSA members will be receiving a copy of our new and improved 2011 Travel Information Guide this summer.

Speaking of summer, Lois and I wish you a great one! Enjoy your time home with family and friends here in Canada.