2015 VDD/GNA Annual Meeting

The 2015 VDD/GNA Annual Meeting was hosted by the Southeast Hunter Chapter in Fayetteville NC, from June 11-13, 2015. SEHC Chapter Chairman David Chatellier and Richard Shell did a wonderful job organizing the meeting and events. It was a great time and members were present from all chapters.

Here is the membership breakdown by chapter; as of 5/31/15, GNA has 1238 members, of which 300 are new to the club:
Atlantic 195
Big Rivers 190
Great Lakes 104
Great Plains 144
Heartland 98
Midwest North 195
Southeast Hunter 130
Wild West 182

The first day of the AGM is always taken up by a full-day Board of Directors meeting, and seminars for the general membership. The Board of Directors consists of the GNA Executive Committee and the Chapter Chairmen. Motions and club business are discussed and voted upon during this meeting, which usually runs about 8 hours. During the General Meeting the next day, the GNA Chairman reports on the outcome of the discussions and the votes of the Board of Directors. Everyone present at the meeting is given the opportunity to register to vote as an individual. Each motion is presented to the membership, and if no discussion ensues, a voice vote is taken. Generally this vote serves to affirm the Board of Directors voting blocs, but there have been times in the past when lively discussions took place and many members chose to vote as individuals. This year, all of the BoD bloc votes were affirmed with no discussion or dissension.

The votes on the motions were either unanimous or had only one or two chapters dissenting:
1. GNA will pursue a motion to the VDD membership to change the breed regulations by requiring that a kennel applicant have trained and successfully handled a dog through VJP, HZP and VGP.
2. It will continue to be SOP that no other GNA tests will be scheduled during the Armbruster.
3. Blood tracking specialty tests will be exempt from GNA's DD priority rule.
4. Since the GNA Vice-Chairman position has been previously designated as the Head Performance Judge for the Group, prerequisites were put in place for candidates wishing to hold this office: minimum 10 years as VR, active and experienced senior judge and test director. (This was a privileged motion presented by the EC.)

The Accredited Breeders Coalition seminar was officially rolled out with an explanation and round table discussion led by GNA Breedwarden Lynn Whitely and SEHC Breedwarden Ron Nichols. The educational materials and online test will be posted on the GNA website around the first of August. Although seminars are encouraged, attendance is not necessary. The accreditation process may be undertaken entirely online, if that is one's preference or need. All members, especially judges, are invited to take part in becoming ABC affiliates. The goal is to broaden everyone's knowledge base, not just breeders. Familiarity with things such as heritable disorders is a valuable tool for our judges, as they can often be the first to pick up on a problem.

The 2016 Annual Meeting hosting proposal from the Atlantic Chapter was accepted unanimously, in no small part because of the efforts of our Chapter's Finger Lakes regional team members: Jim Abraham, Kathi Griffin-Bell, Joe Bielowicz, Flint Brann, Mark Fedrizzi, Ron Figler, and George Scheuermann. Next year is an election year for GNA, and it is a very important task that this team is embracing; please offer them as much help as you can.

The 2016 Armbruster will be hosted by the Heartland Chapter in Des Plaines, Illinois, during the first week of October. The 2017 Armbruster will probably be back in Demopolis as a joint effort between Big Rivers and Southeast Hunter. The 2018 Armbruster is still open, and there will be support for jointly hosting that year as well, if two chapters wish to collaborate.

This year's Hegewald is going to be held from 30 September to 2 October in Wesel, and will be hosted by Gruppe Essen-Ruhr. Our friend Uli Augstein is the Test Director. He has invited GNA to send over as many judges as possible. This is a great opportunity for our judges this year. Normally, each of our Chapters nominates one or two experienced, respected judges to be considered by the GNA Executive Committee. This year we are encouraging all of our judges, regardless of experience, to contact their Chapter Board if they have an interest in judging at the Hegewald. This goes for judge candidates as well! All are welcome to apply.

Detailed reports and meeting minutes will be published in the summer edition of the GNA Newsletter.

Nancy Bohs
Atlantic Chapter Chairman
21 June 2015