Annual Meeting Minutes 2022

From Helen Flores, Secretary

WGPO Annual Member Meeting Minutes
Saturday, December 10 – Wednesday December 14, 2022


  • Board members Jan Cardia, Treasurer; Laurie Cohen, Helen Flores, Secretary; Keith Hagel, Vice-President; Bennett Jacobstein; Steve Pellinen, President.  Absent: Will Anderson was on the road and unable to attend.
  • Lynda Finn and Winter, Elections Committee
  • Mike Johnson, Ratings & Tournament Committee
  • Charles Reinke, Twitch Moderator

Call to Order and Welcome: Vice-President Keith Hagel called the meeting to order at 2:00 pm CST, December 10, 2022. He introduced current Board members and explained the Annual Meeting Schedule.

  • Part I will be a Board business meeting with an opportunity for members’ comments, questions and answers. Charles Reinke will monitor the Twitch channel for member questions. The Twitch meeting will be made available to WGPO members and observers, via a link to a YouTube video on the WGPO website.
  • Part II will provide opportunity for members to vote to elect Directors for 2023. Five very capable candidates are running for four open positions on the Board. Keith noted that additional information on the election process will be provided later in the meeting. He encouraged all members to participate in the election process. Vote!

Word Cup 2023: Jan Cardia announced that Word Cup 2023 will be held in Albany, New York, at the Marriott Albany, beginning on June 30, 2023, through July 4, 2023.  Total prize funds to be awarded include $50,000 of the CCSFF grant funds, and we expect to provide $10,000 each for first place NWL and CSL winners. Jan noted that the hotel offers excellent room rates, and we are excited to bring the WGPO Word Cup to the Northeast. More information is currently available on the WGPO Facebook page. Be sure to complete the survey for a chance to win a set of Protiles. And plan to attend!

Elections Committee Report: Lynda Finn, Elections Committee Chair, reported that the official ballot from went out today (December 10, 2022) at 11 AM Central Time via All members with valid email addresses were sent a ballot. 957 ballots were delivered. Linda noted that there are 4 open seats and 5 highly qualified candidates. Even if members
already know who they are going to vote for, she asked them to please take the time to read the candidate statements and their Q & A’s from the WGPO website.  The candidates have some great ideas and suggestions.
Voting will be open until Wednesday, December 14 at 11:55 PM, Eastern time. Lynda asked members who did not receive a ballot to either email or facebook message her at or  Lynda thanked Winter for his work setting up the ballot this year and Mike Johnson for his work maintaining the current member email list.

Financial Report – Steve Pellinen: A written Report – covering assets and expenses year-to-date — is currently available on the WGPO website. It includes a report of expenditures using 2022 CCSFF funds as submitted to Jon Shreve.
Steve added that WGPO has received the 2023 Grant Funds of $100,000.
Lexicon Committee Update – Steve Pellinen: The new OSPD words make it necessary for WGPO to take action on our word list. Steve has contacted the NASPA Dictionary Committee to ask if WGPO’s Lexicon Committee can help coordinate additions to lexicons. He is looking forward to cooperative efforts in this area.
Ratings and Tournament Committee Report – Mike Johnson: As Co-Chair, Mike provided a detailed report on 2022 events and plans for 2023.
With tournaments opening up more broadly again, 2022 has been an eventful year forWGPO. We held 28 events in 14 different states and provinces (AB, AZ, CA, FL, IA, IL, MA, ME, MN, NM, NV, OR, WA, WI). We had 5 directors lead their first WGPO event(s) this year, and even more new WGPO directors have been trained to lead new events in 2023. Word Cup 2022 was our largest event-to-date with over 200 participants, and we were able to co-sponsor it with the Collins Coalition and WESPA. We are excited about the upcoming year!
Much of the Tournament and Ratings Committee each year involves behind the scenes work. This includes supporting our directors, organizers, and players through:

  •  managing the member database;
  • approving and rating tournaments;
  • certifying, training and assisting new and ongoing directors;
  •  coordinating the tournament schedule and promoting events especially in new regions.

In addition to this ongoing work, we have some new developments to share. Due to the generosity of the Carter Chapman Shreve Family Foundation, WGPO was able to sponsor multiple tournaments last year, including the Word Cup, School Scrabble Championship, and major tournaments in Phoenix and Madison. In 2023, we’ll be extending that sponsorship to a wider range of events. This distribution will include sponsorship of large events such as Word Cup and additional major events in NewOrleans (Crescent City Cup), Phoenix, and Columbia SC. We also developed a framework to sponsor other regional and local tournaments with the goal of supporting

  •  larger on-going regional events,
  • newer events to grow WGPO presence in under-represented US/Canada areas, and
  • newer directors in developing local events.

This framework has been submitted to the WGPO Board for approval, and we expect that early next year, tournament directors will be able to apply for this funding. Look for more details in the coming months!
Lastly, Mike, Bennett, and Winter want to welcome our newest member of the Tournament and Ratings Committee, Lynda Finn. Lynda is an experienced director from Madison, WI, and has already been a vibrant addition to our committee!
Educational Mission — Steve Pellinen: Steve reminded members that WGPO’s Articles of Incorporation and the terms of the CCSFF grant require ongoing educational efforts.
Our mission is to grow Scrabble™. In 2022, WGPO provided significant support for the School Scrabble Championship at Planet Word. Going forward we will need to incorporate educational efforts into all that we do.
First, Steve noted that the Scrabble™community and WGPO must grow opportunities for youth and schools to play the game. Selected areas of the country have strong School Scrabble™ and community level programs. Stefan Fatsis has long been active in this area. During 2023 the organization must promote more local and regional efforts for youth. Older persons and seniors will also benefit from additional educational efforts.
Scrabble™ provides mental and social stimulation for all ages. WGPO needs to serve broader community needs as we meet our educational purpose.
WGPO Annual Summary Report for 2022 – Helen Flores, Secretary: Helen listed WGPO accomplishments during its first year of incorporation.
1. Survival: WGPO appeared as an upstart organization with a tenuous future to some in the Scrabble™ community. Despite detractors, limited resources, lexicon wars and controversy, WGPO is not only alive, but also thriving.
2. Democratic integrity: WGPO continues to practice the principles on which it was founded. Although democracy is messy, the members run the organization. Winston Churchill once said that: “democracy is the worst form of government – except for all the others that have been tried.” WGPO counts every vote and operates transparently as we thrash out our differences.
3. Play Fair: WGPO developed standards for player conduct. Our policy Tournament Expectations outlines standards of conduct for making WGPO events welcoming and congenial. Leaders carefully and consistently follow a process to investigate complaints, hear both sides of disputes, resolve conflicts and, if necessary, take disciplinary action.  The Board promptly addresses those rare instances involving threats, harassment, charges of cheating. Prior to our new structure, the Board of Player Representatives (BPR) addressed complaints and recommended disciplinary action. Lacking that in 2022, Directors realized that a separate Conduct Committee needs to assume these duties for the current organization. The new Board will appoint members.
4. Sponsorship and Support: Even before WGPO received its annual Carter Chapman Shreve Foundation (CCSFF) prize fund grant, committed Volunteer WGPO supporters – officers, directors, clubs, committees, individual members – provided remarkable levels of grassroots funding and participation. Tournaments – and Word Cup events, in particular – were consistently successful fundraising events. In our first year, WGPO was able to attract additional players to Scrabble and raise a significant amount of the funds needed to cover WGPO’s administrative expenses.
5. School Scrabble™: In 2022 WGPO offered significant financial and on-site support to a major School  Scrabble™ championship event – held at Planet Word, Washington D.C. encouraging young players and growing the game. As Steve noted, more educational efforts are planned going forward, including outreach for older players.
6. Organization and Administration: From inception, a dedicated volunteer band of WGPO officers, committees, and directors have operated on a shoestring. More members offered legal and technical support. Key accomplishments include recent Articles of Incorporation, revised Bylaws, a soon-to-be unveiled updated website (with statistics, interactive features, and more) and an active Facebook page.
7. Collaboration and Coordination: We also sought to establish effective working relationships with corporations, other organizations, and individuals to strengthen WGPO and the Scrabble™ community at large. Word Cup was a joint effort with CoCo.  We worked for WESPA accreditation of Collins tournaments, and WGPO members collaborated effectively with NASPA. We have improved communications with all
Scrabble organizations. Peace has broken out.
Helen noted that all of us “just want to play Scrabble™.” Opportunities to do so depend on the work of many. Numerous WGPO members working behind the scenes keep the organization running. Helen expressed the Board’s thanks to the following contributors:  tournament directors, club directors, committee chairs and members, Deborah Baggett, Facebook Administrator; Susi Tiekert, who welcomes new members; Ruth Hamilton, WGPO Website Administrator; Charles and Thomas Reinke, Website Developers; this year’s terrific Nominating Committee – Sue Hoehn, Ruth Hamilton, and Mary Becker; the Elections Committee; candidates for office and the current hard-working board.
Question & Answer Session: Questions from members on Twitch, commenting on the
Word Cup announcement, or sending email comments were few:

  • Will the Word Cup be a joint WGPO – CoCo effort as it was in 2022. No, it will not.
  • The late announcement for Word Cup 2023 received criticism. It was too late for some to schedule vacation time and plan travel. Bennett apologized on behalf of the Tournament and Ratings Committee. He noted that plans for this year included requirements that caused unfortunate delays. This will NOT occur in the future. The goal will be to announce the 2024 Word Cup location and dates at the 2023 event.
  • The requirement to be vaccinated for WGPO tournaments has recurred. Board members noted that the majority of players continue to support the vaccination requirement. Player safety and democracy determine such policies.

Departing Board Members: Bennett offered the Board’s thanks to retiring Board members: Keith Hagel, VP; and Helen Flores, Secretary. Both members plan to serve on committees and offered to assist during the transition to the new Board if needed.
Part I Meeting Adjournment: The Board reminded members to VOTE! The business meeting adjourned at 2:39 pm CST, Saturday, December 10, 2022 (Bennett/Helen).
Part II Election: Members had the opportunity to cast ballots until the Annual WGPO member meeting officially ended – when voting closed – at 11:59 PM EST, Wednesday, December 14, 2022. 251 members participated in the voting process.
Election Results: Steve Pellinen and Laurie Cohen were re-elected to the 2023 Board.
New Board members selected were Kathleen Murphy and Conrad Bassett-Bouchard.

We’ve chosen our Directors for 2022

Four of the seven WGPO Board of Directors’ positions were on the ballot.  We had five good candidates.  Current board members Steve Pellinen and Laurie Cohen were re-elected.  They’ll be joined by Conrad Bassett-Bouchard and Kathleen Murphy.

Congratulations to the four winners.  A big thank you to founding member Susi Tiekert for her willingness to continue to serve.

Here are the election results:  2022 Election


Candidates Q & A

From the Elections Committee (Lynda and Winter):

We asked the candidates their thoughts on the following questions which we believe are of major interest to the members. Their responses are below. There are some interesting areas of agreement and some great ideas for moving forward.  Click on the links for their answers:

  1. What do you currently do to support WGPO?  Question 1 Responses
  2. What are your thoughts on unifying the various North American Scrabble Organizations? What should be the next steps?  Question 2 Responses
  3. What are your thoughts on dictionary expurgation? Question 3 Responses
  4. What are your suggestions on growing the game? Question 4 Responses
  5. Are there any changes in how WGPO runs that you’d like to see implemented? Question 5 Responses
  6. What are your thoughts on the best way to cover WGPO’s administrative expenses? Question 6 Responses


WGPO Board of Directors’ Meeting December 4, 2022

From Helen Flores:

WGPO Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

Sunday December 4, 2022

  1. Call to Order: President Steve Pellinen called the meeting to order at 6:35 pm CST, December 4, 2022.  Board Members Attending: Will Anderson, Jan Cardia, Laurie Cohen, Helen Flores, Bennett Jacobstein, Keith Hagel, and Steve Pellinen.
  2. Surveymonkey Software: Laurie Cohen has prepared and analyzed member surveys following Word Cups in the past. She recommended that the Board approve $25 per year for continued use of the software. Members noted that surveys provide a useful method to collect suggestions and information directly from the membership. The cost for this communication tool is well worth it. Approved unanimously.
  3. Word Cup 2023: The Board resolved details for next year’s Word Cup.

** Word Cup Branding: From inception WGPO branded each Word Cup with a consecutive number, through #10 in Naperville this year. The numbering system is traditional. However, using the year as the title provides an easier method to track and research the events. Following discussion, the Board adopted Word Cup + YEAR as the title, i.e., Word Cup 2023.

** Prize Fund Amounts & Publicity: As decided earlier, a total amount of $50,000 of CCSFF grant funds will be allocated to Word Cup. The top prize for TWL/NWL will be $10,000. If the total number of Collins player is 50 or more, the top Collins prize will also be $10,000. This worked in 2022, with two Collins divisions. Board members discussed preferences for publicizing prizes. Consensus was to lead the initial announcement by specifying that “at least $50,000 in total prize funds will be awarded.” Additional information in that announcement – and in subsequent publicity — should highlight that “first place prize winners in each lexicon will be awarded $10,000 prizes,” in order to attract top-notch international players. Members plan for strong promotion and wide-spread publicity, including local venue media coverage.

** Word Cup Logo: WGPO funded two-thirds of the cup logo design that was used for CoCo and WGPO in 2022. Board members look forward to other design options. Will has received a proposed design and will forward it to the Board following the meeting. Depending on the Board’s reaction it will be included in the upcoming announcement.
** Word Cup Announcement: The 2023 announcement is much later than Word Cup announcements in previous years, and members are eager for information. Will said the announcement is expected within the week and before the Annual Meeting.

  1. Annual Meeting Procedures

Board Members reviewed a draft Annual Meeting agenda, based on the first Annual Meeting in December 2022. The process will be consistent with last year’s.

** Meeting Schedule: PART I – Business Meeting begins on Saturday December 10, 3:00 pm Eastern/ 2:00 Central/ 1:00 pm Mountain/ Noon Pacific. PART II extends the voting period until close of the meeting Midnight, EST Wednesday December 14.

** Meeting Structure: PART I will be an interactive TWITCH video conference – approximately two hours long and accessible to all members. Members must sign into TWITCH to submit questions to the TWITCH Moderator Charles Reinke during the Board business agenda or afterwards during the Question & Answer session. A YouTube video of the meeting will be made available after the fact on the website.

** EMail Questions/Comments: WGPO members who are not on TWITCH may send questions to before or during the meeting. Directors will address comments during the business meeting or include them in the Q&A session.

  1. Annual Meeting PART I Agenda 

** Call to Order and Welcome – Keith Hagel, Vice-President

** Word Cup 2023 – Bennett Jacobstein

** Elections Committee – Lynda Finn/ Winter on the candidates for office and electoral process details. See Candidates’ Statements and their Q & A responses on the WGPO website.

** Financial Report – Steve Pellinen, President. The written report will also be available on the WGPO website.

** Lexicon Committee Update: Steve Pellinen

** Ratings & Tournament Committee – Bennett Jacobstein: 2022 Tournament statistics, recommended CCSFF prize fund allocations for 2023, and application procedures.

** Educational Mission – Steve Pellinen: WGPO’s Articles of Incorporation educational requirements and how to incorporate those efforts into all we do.

** WGPO 2022 Accomplishments – Helen Flores, Secretary.

** Question & Answer Session – Member comments, suggestions, questions

** PART I Adjournment – Saturday December 10.

  1. Adjournment: The Board adjourned the meeting at 7:44 p.m., CST (Keith/Jan).

WGPO Board Nominations are in: Here are the Candidates

Updated December 3:

The terms of four board members; Steve Pellinen, Keith Hegel, Laurie Cohen, and Helen Flores, expire at the end of the year.  Steve and Laurie are running for re-election, Helen and Keith are not.  We have three additional candidates for a total of five (Carl Voss has withdrawn).  Members will receive voting instructions next month via email.  Here are the candidates.  Click on the names to read their candidate statements.

WGPO Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

From Helen Flores:

WGPO Board of Directors Meeting Minutes Sunday November 6, 2022

Call to Order: President Steve Pellinen called the meeting to order at 6:31 pm CST, October 2, 2022.

Board Members Attending: Will Anderson, Laurie Cohen, Helen Flores, Bennett Jacobstein, Keith Hagel, and Steve Pellinen.

Absent: Jan Cardia.

Old Business

  1. Tournaments
  • Word Cup 2023: Will Anderson reported that the event is scheduled to begin on Friday, June 30th and culminate on July 4th. The final meeting with the hotel has been scheduled and the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) terms are agreed upon. Expect an announcement with full venue details in the near future.
    Publicity for the event is expected to include strong local media coverage.
  • The Board agreed that the level of CCSFF prize funds for Word Cup 2023 will be consistent with Word Cup 2022 – $50,000.
  • Regional Major Tournaments: Registration for the Madison Midwest Major, November 11-13, was strong – 50 players for TWL and 12 playing Collins.
  • The Phoenix West Regional Tournament is scheduled for Presidents Day weekend, February 18-20, 2023. Laurie Cohen noted that registration has begun.
    Finally, the South Regional Tournament in Columbia. South Carolina is scheduled for Memorial weekend May 27-29, 2023. Registration will be announced within the month.
  • Other Tournament issues: Bennett reported on the success of a WGPO Las Vegas tournament. The Tournament and Ratings Committee plans to develop a process for directors to request CCSFF prize fund support to (1) continue supporting venues such as Phoenix, Las Vegas, Portland that have scheduled regular WGPO tournaments in the past and (2) encourage all regions to host additional tournaments. Keith noted the success of Word Cup in Springfield. The Coral Gables Word Cup also drew many players. He noted that WGPO needs to develop a regular presence in the Northeast and the South, all regions.
    Bennett has a list of about 75 directors. The Board suggested increasing communication with them. Ask if they are still interested in directing and/or if they have suggestions to encourage additional player opportunities and tournaments. Board members also noted that using small amounts of CCSFF funds for prize money seems a worthwhile incentive. This is an effective use of the funds to grow Scrabble.
  1. Updated Website/Technology:Charles and Thomas Reinke provided the Board with a thorough status report prior to the meeting.

Work on the look-and-feel of the website is mostly completed. Need to make sure the website is as usable on mobile devices (phones, tablets) as on computers. Also determining locations for meeting minutes, committee reports, other content.

Statistical functionality is fully implemented. Includes full game-by-game, tournament-by-tournament stats for all players. Plan to work with Seth Lipkin to see if WGPO stats and upcoming tournaments can be shared with Cross-Tables.

Features for tournament directors  – 90% complete. Includes adding/removing players from upcoming tournaments, modifying tournament divisions for rating ranges, etc., and submitting new tournaments to be listed. Need to test existing rating system code (Marc Levesque originally developed for WGPO) against the new functionality added.

Member login system is functional. All current WGPO members will have an account allowing them to login for tournament registration, update their information. New members will simply have to create an account. Tournament directors may register players, but the preferred method will be for players to do this themselves.

Major work still needed:

* Provide functionality for viewing/maintaining the membership list.

* Add functionality for managing a list of WGPO-affiliated clubs. Allow club directors to log in to the website and update data for club without a WGPO administrator. Ideally the result would be a more accurate club listing.

* Determine how to handle roll-out of the account system. Clear messaging needed to avoid current members creating a duplicate of themselves in the membership system.

Future improvements needed after completing main work and the new site goes live:

* Possible integration with Director! tournament software for live tournament results.

* Handling tournament entry fee payments as part of the sign-up process.

Charles and Thomas aim to be ready to roll out the new website sometime soon after the beginning of the year, January/February 2023.
Board members noted that the Reinkes have done an excellent job. They anticipate that the redesign will serve WGPO and the Scrabble community well.

 3.  Committee Reports

  • Conduct Committee:  Keith recommended changing the name of the “Disciplinary” Committee. Members agreed. Steve has identified some possible members. Helen Flores volunteered to serve on the committee for one year. She was a member of the Board of Player Representatives for 3 terms, and she has addressed several conduct complaints. This committee needs to follow established consistent and fair processes.
  • Lexicon Committee: Bennett resigned from this committee. Steve noted that Jim Sherrill is the Chair, and the Committee will need to reconvene.
    • Will noted that the contact at Hasbro has changed, and he thinks neither Hasbro nor Merriam Webster is particularly interested in partnerships with Scrabble organizations. Any plan to stream games would need a streaming friendly lexicon, i.e., without slurs. School Scrabble excludes scatological words. Thus far, streaming sponsors have no issues streaming Collins lexicon, but that could also come under scrutiny.
    • New OSPD words have been added. NASPA has the list, and Scopely will receive them as well. Lexicon Committee attention will be needed. Helen noted that NASPA and WGPO would benefit all players and both organizations with consistent and cooperative attention to lexicon changes.
  • School Scrabble: Will reported that the 2023 School Scrabble Championship Event will be held at Planet Word, Washington DC in the Spring. The 2022 event was successful, and corporate sponsors have chosen to stay with the location and venue. The Board noted that WGPO will plan to again provide support including CCSFF prize funds. Steve asked about the dates for this event. We need to check for conflicts with WGPO tournament schedules.
  • Communications Committee – David Weiss and Dave Postal are unable to serve on this committee at this time. Board members agreed that WGPO communications strategy is a weakness. Steve asked Keith to work on this committee and noted other individuals with strong qualifications in this area. He will contact them.
  • Elections Committee: Lynda Finn and Winter completed work on member email  addresses, with much help from Mike Johnson. The electionrunner application is contracted to conduct the voting process. They identified Board actions needed to prepare for the December election. See Board actions under New Business.
  • Nominations Committee – Report from Mary Becker, Sue Hoehn, Ruth Hamilton.
    • The Nominations Committee solicited candidates, provided information and received statements of interest. Prior to the Board meeting, five members in good standing – listed below – qualify as candidates. The Elections Committee forwarded information and photos to the Board. Board members expressed appreciation for the Nomination Committee members’ efforts.
  • Finance Committee Report: Steve is completing the Finance Report for the year.
  • Funding Committee Report: Helen reported that the Committee goal was to raise $10,000 throughout the year through fund-raising efforts at tournaments (auction, silent auction, direct sales of donated items) as well as monetary donations to the organization. The Committee raised $3,390 at Word Cup Chicago. Steve noted that perhaps $1,000 total funds were donated by individuals through the website donation button, entry fees, etc. during the year. Helen’s group hopes to raise additional funds at the Madison Midwest tournament. Note: The Madison total raised was $700 . The total raised in 2022 = $5090 and is not enough. Helen and the Committee do NOT recommend implementing membership dues before exploring additional fundraising alternatives. One option: Whenever WGPO provides CCSFF prize funds, allocate a small portion of that tournament’s member entry fees to WGPO administrative costs.

4.  New Business

 Board of Directors Nominees: Prior to the November meeting, the Elections Committee received statements of interest from the following players: Kathleen Murphy, Carl Voss, Susi Tiekert, Steve Pellinen, and Conrad Bassett-Bouchard. Keith Hagel nominated Laurie Cohen at the meeting, and she agreed to run for reelection. All nominees are members in good standing. Board members commented on the strong slate of candidates for the Board.

The Board decided to use the 2021 election and annual meeting announcement as a template for the upcoming meeting and election. There will be no referenda this year. WGPO’s annual Membership Meeting will begin on Saturday December 10 at 3:00 pm Eastern/ 2:00 pm Central/ 1:00 pm Mountain/Noon Pacific Time. Part I of the meeting will be an interactive Twitch video conference – approximately two hours – accessible to members. The agenda will include candidate announcements, committee reports, and a Question and Answer session. Part II will be an extended open voting period until the meeting closes on Wednesday December 14 shortly before midnight Central Time.

5.  Adjournment: The Board adjourned the meeting at 7:32 p.m., CST (Will/Laurie).