WGPO Member Meeting Summary – July 22, 2019

Player Room Hyatt Regency Hotel, Coral Gables FL

Laurie Cohen called the meeting to order at 8:00 p.m. She welcomed players and introduced members of the Executive Committee (EC): Deborah Baggett, Mike Johnson, Steve Pellinen and the Board of Player Representatives (BPR): Laurie, Helen Flores, Bennett Jacobstein, Maurice Ross and Suzi Tiekert.

In addition to officers listed above, approximately 40 players attended.  In response to Laurie’s question, 10 – 12 indicated that they were attending a WGPO tournament for the first time. The purposes of the meeting were: to introduce the organization and describe what WGPO members have been doing; outline upcoming work and projects; and ask for input and suggestions from those attending.

Recent Accomplishments

  • WGPO Tournament Expectations: In March 2019 this short document explaining conduct and standards of conduct was approved after several drafts and extensive review and comment from members. It can be downloaded from the WGPO website.
  • WGPO Rules: The committee has drafted our own version of player rules. WGPO rules will not differ drastically from those of other organizations including NASPA and WESPA. The committee goal is to provide simplified, easily-digestible playing rules.  Rules are currently in draft form and have had limited review and comment.  A future version will be made available to the full membership for feedback.

Projects and Plans

  • Update Technology: Mike Johnson, currently Chair of the Ratings Committee, is leading the effort to address several technological concerns. Explore ways to increase player interaction capabilities with the website
  • Player/Membership Directories: Old technology used for this data is no longer supported.  Currently adding members and updating data is time-consuming and complicated, and they are two separate databases that don’t share data efficiently. Having members and non-members significantly increases workload in our volunteer organization.
  • Membership Requirement:  Players should expect that proposals to streamline processes and be more efficient will include a proposal requiring that all who play in WGPO tournaments need to become WGPO members.  Current bylaws say directors of WGPO tournaments may or may not require WGPO membership.  WGPO membership currently requires providing contact data but no dues or other requirements.

Extensive discussion followed at the member meeting. Many attending had assumed that all who registered to play automatically became members. Current members asked that when required membership is implemented, existing memberships be recognized and that the process be streamlined. There was strong support to requiring membership for participation in all tournaments, and no objections were voiced.

  • Elections: WGPO officers serve staggered 2-year terms of office, and elections are held in December with nominations due in the fall. At the end of this year the following terms of office will expire. Executive Board position: Steve Pellinen; Board of Player Representative positions: Laurie Cohen, Helen Flores, Maurice Ross.  Discussion followed.  Officers do not represent regions. Current officers cover a broad area including Minnesota, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Arizona, Iowa, Florida and California. Laurie encouraged those attending to consider running for office, and other officers suggested that WGPO also needs volunteers to work on committees or to help out on an ad hoc basis. We run on tremendous support from our volunteers. The voting process is basically done by email, and only members are eligible to vote.
  • Word Cup 10 – Chicago Area: Mike Johnson provided information about the July 4, 2020 weekend WGPO Word Cup to be held in Naperville Illinois. Why that weekend?  We selected a date that provided the best hotel rates and worked hard to avoid scheduling when other annual tournaments are regularly held. Because of the Democratic Convention we ruled out Milwaukee and dates near then. The Chicago area was a very attractive option, so plan to attend!

Member Input/Suggestions

  • WGPO Directors: Zana Anderson and others at the meeting asked about becoming a WGPO Director. The process is outlined on the WGPO website. Directors who are certified by other organizations may become WGPO Directors. Janice Kaye administers the test and certifies others. Mike Johnson noted that WGPO Directors are provided with lots of training.  Mike and others will help directors learn to navigate the Rating system. Several attendees were interested in pursuing this further.
  • Director! Computer Application: A player expressed concern about the long-term viability of this important application working as operating systems change or the application is no longer supported. Discussion followed. This issue applies to computer applications generally.
  • WGPO Comments: Several of those attending provided positive comments about the Word Cup and the WGPO organization including Word Cup 9 costs, facilities, directors, organizers, fun events, friendliness and more. John Aiken noted that he had looked back at the history and determined that since its inception, WGPO tournaments have included 71,000 games.

Submitted by Helen Flores