Two years ago, when I was approached by the UAFCS Nominating Committee about running for the position of President Elect, I was at first flattered, and then confused. I was being asked to potentially lead an organization that I respected, but knew very little about. What did AAFCS do for FACS professionals in general? What did they do for me? I was a member because it is important to me to be part of a professional community, and I was surrounded by professional people who were mentors and great examples. What I couldn’t see was a tangible return for my investment. After being elected, I made the comment that I would serve to the best of my ability. However, if I wasn’t converted by the time my two years were up, I would no longer choose to be a member.
Since that time I have searched the national web site, asked questions of national personnel, talked to mentors and past leaders, and gained wisdom from current board members. What I have discovered is this: the return is massive, but we just can’t readily “see” it. Strong families are imperative if we want to teach skills that build strong relationships, strong communities, a strong nation and beyond. Sadly, the world we live in has, to a large extent, lost the vision that family is the basic building block in our society. Schools and communities are losing programs, homes and families are not valued as they once were.
The American Association of Family and Community Sciences is a voice on our behalf. They “represent Family and Consumer Sciences professionals across practice areas and content specializations.” In 2006 they established the FCS Alliance, which is a group of eleven related national organizations, two honor societies, FCCLA, and the USDA Institute of Food and Agriculture, Family and Consumer Sciences. They do research, they track legislation and lobby in our behalf. They provide support and professional development to professionals in all areas of FACS. They produce 10 to 12 professional development webinars each year.