2019 NAGAAA Winter Meetings : Final Recap
This is a final recap of the 2019 NAGAAA Winter Meetings that were held in Kansas City, Missouri on January 26th and 27th at the Marriott Country Club Plaza Hotel. The first of two NAGAAA meetings in 2019, the NAGAAA Summer Meetings will take place directly prior to the 43rd Annual Gay Softball World Series this September in Kansas City.
A MEETING OF FIRSTS
There were many firsts on Day 1 of the 2019 NAGAAA Winter Meetings stemming from all of the many changes that were made leading up to and within the meetings. NAGAAA welcomed two new committee chairs into the fold, Conard Franz (Phoenix) is the new Marketing & Public Relations Committee Chair along with Tony Wilkerson (Houston) as the new Governance Committee Chair. Steven McCormick (Austin) was named as the new NAGAAA Parliamentarian replacing Eric Peterson who assumed his duties as the new NAGAAA Operations Director after the 2018 NAGAAA Summer Meetings in Tampa, Florida last September.
The major administrative changes to the meetings included the meetings going paperless for the first time ever as delegates were able to use a public google drive to find all pertinent information to the meetings. Electronic voting was also introduced at this meeting marking the first time that a voting app tailored to each association and voter have been used. The voting platform, VoxVote, allowed for real time results to be shown immediately after voting subsided including percentage vote read outs making it easier to show if a vote met certain thresholds to pass or fail.
PARTING IS SWEET SORROW
Several NAGAAA executive board and staff members will be stepping away from their current roles as NAGAAA is ushering in a new era of leadership. NAGAAA Commissioner Chris Balton is stepping down after 6 years as Commissioner. Under Chris’ leadership, the organization’s premiere event, the Gay Softball World Series team participation grew by over 35% in his tenure. NAGAAA Treasurer, Jerry Travis is stepping down after a long run as the organization’s treasurer where he transformed the organization into a secure, solvent and financially robust entity. Mona Garcia, NAGAAA Executive Assistant is also stepping down after a successful tenure where she provided immeasurable support to the organization from a legal perspective while assisting with numerous tasks within the executive board’s purview.
SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS HIGHLIGHT CHANGE
NAGAAA Attorney, Sam Hall of Milwaukee gave a presentation on transgender issues and how we can help to implement policies of support for the transgender community. NAGAAA has a new member database and a specialized training session was held after the meetings went into recess on Saturday. Additional training sessions for member association delegates will be held after the final session of the meetings on Sunday.
NAGAAA VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR
Mona Garcia, outgoing NAGAAA Executive Assistant was awarded the first ever Mona Garcia NAGAAA Volunteer of the Year Award for her years of dedicated service to NAGAAA. Mona entered the NAGAAA Hall of Fame in 2016 as the first heterosexual woman to be inducted. Her legal and contracts expertise has been a special help to the NAGAAA Executive Board and her willingness to tackle any challenge, no matter the work involved earned her this award. Congrats Mona!
TAMPA GSWS 2018
Ron Frank, Tampa GSWS Executive Director gave a presentation alongside his husband and Tampa GSWS committee member, Mark Maxwell. The Tampa committee was pleased to give $25,000 to its charity, Empath Partners In Care (EPIC). EPIC has provided services to people impacted by HIV/AIDS in the Tampa Bay area for over 30 years. Additionally, the Tampa GSWS Committee awarded a $10,000 donation to the Kansas City GSWS Committee to pay it forward for the upcoming GSWS in 2019. Tampa GSWS 2018 was the largest Gay Softball World Series of all time with 194 teams competing.
KANSAS CITY GSWS 2019
Scott Switzer, Kansas City GSWS Executive Director gave a presentation along with his committee. The committee previewed their planning for the upcoming GSWS and gave some updates from their last presentation in Tampa at the 2018 Summer Meetings. The week looks to be jam packed with events with the event schedule tentatively starting on the Sunday prior to the GSWS. Opening Ceremonies is scheduled for Labor Day evening in the heart of downtown Kansas City. The committee is taking a turn away from a festival/fair type of environment at Opening Ceremonies in favor of an outdoor club type of atmosphere. NAGAAA is working with the local group in Kansas City to nail down the Hall of Fame Dinner event space and Closing Ceremonies will be as convenient as its ever been with it being held in the Crown Center complex right outside the host hotels.
COLUMBUS GSWS 2020
The 44th Annual Gay Softball World Series was awarded to Columbus, Ohio for the 3rd time in 10 years at the 2018 NAGAAA Summer Meeting this past September in Tampa, Florida. Dallas Aldridge, Columbus GSWS Executive Director gave a presentation to update the NAGAAA Council on the planning and progress made as the group is about 18 months out from hosting. The Columbus Commons will return as the site of Opening Ceremonies with the hotels well positioned close to the Short North area with lots of gay owned businesses including several LGBT clubs. All of NAGAAA is excited to see how Columbus will top its previous years of hosting.
2021 GSWS BIDDING CITIES
The deadline to bid to host the 2021 GSWS ended as the 2019 NAGAAA Winter Meetings began and two bids were officially submitted. The California Bay Area committee is returning to bid again after it fell short against Columbus in a bid to host the 2020 GSWS. The bid is a joint venture between San Francisco and San Jose. A returning host city, Dallas, Texas has thrown its cowboy hat into the ring to host the 45th Annual Gay Softball World Series. NAGAAA will vet each of the bids over the next several months to certify that the committees can deliver on their plans. Both Dallas and the Bay Area will present their bids at the 2019 NAGAAA Summer Meetings in Kansas City later this year.
CHARLOTTE IS THE NEWEST NAGAAA MEMBER ASSOCIATION
The Queen City of Charlotte, North Carolina is now a NAGAAA member association after a unanimous vote of the NAGAAA Council to accept the Carolina Piedmont Softball League into the fold. The CPSL expects over ten teams for the upcoming 2019 season and its teams are eligible to participate at the 2019 GSWS in Kansas City. Charlotte joining NAGAAA fills a void in the lower Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern portion of the United States. The league expects to pull members from Greensboro and the Research Triangle areas North of Charlotte and and as far South as Columbia, South Carolina. Welcome to NAGAAA!
NEW BOARD MEMBERS ELECTED
The change continued as the meeting wrapped up with NAGAAA Executive Board officer elections. John Deffee of Phoenix, Arizona was elected as the first ever Athletic Director on the NAGAAA Executive Board. Tim Clancy of Atlanta, Georgia was elected as the new Treasurer after several years as the Finance Committee Chair and Jeff Card of Seattle, Washington is the new NAGAAA Commissioner. Jeff Card was the Assistant Commissioner of NAGAAA over the last year and previously Secretary. A new person will need to be appointed into the Director of Competition role, formerly Assistant Commissioner.
COMMISSIONER RECOGNIZES TWO WITH AWARDS
Outgoing NAGAAA Commissioner, Chris Balton recognized Eric Peterson, NAGAAA Operations Director and former Governance Chair for his years of service and expertise to the organization and specifically to the executive board. Past Commissioner Balton also recognized Roy Melani with the Commissioner’s Award. Melani is a former NAGAAA Commissioner and most recently was the Executive Director of Portland GSWS 2017. Roy currently serves as the NAGAAA Hall of Fame Chair.