Where Are We Going?
Happy holidays, humanists! A 2019 tabula rasa is at our doorstep and brings us to an exciting yet critical juncture with regard to our future as an organization. In many ways, we find ourselves looking at a distinct and challenging terrain from that of even just a few years ago, and ahead of us there lie many questions to answer. How do we attract new members while strengthening the current ones? How do we balance humanist education with activity and promotion? How do we grow from a group into a viable community? What is next for the Humanists of Utah?
As president, my vision for next year will focus on transformation and taking HoU to the next level as an organization. Seeking to instill change systematically and incrementally through meaningful and strategic actions that make a difference is the most realistic and effective process for future growth as an organization—think heightened evolution, not revolution. We must become nimble, creative and progressive in our approaches, continuing with proven recipes but questioning everything else against the standard of producing a better HoU and community. Together, we can thrive as an active organization that fulfills the aspirations of its members while acting as a magnet for others who share humanist principles of reason, compassion, ethics and naturalism. This can be accomplished in three main ways:
1) Dynamic Leadership (purpose and process). I will be joined by an energetic and talented mix of board members dedicated to taking HoU to new heights by injecting fresh vim and ideas into its bloodstream. I see the board transitioning in 2019 from a general consultative body to one more proactively anticipating and meeting the needs of our membership in multiple areas through strategic, goal-oriented approaches and where every board seat become a unique role with specific responsibilities such as community relations, event management, and so forth. We will partner with national and state humanist leadership to seek best practices and share ideas. Further, we will implement regular two-way communication with the membership for viewpoints and feedback as standard procedure. We want to hear from you! In the spirit of untapped potential, the question is not “Why?” but “Why not?”—all ideas are on the table as we look to re-energize and extend our reach.
2) Become a Community (togetherness and growth). To reach the next level, it is imperative that we morph from a group into a community, attracting new members as well as maintaining current ones. Oftentimes the only exposure a potential member will have to a humanist will be at a HoU meeting or activity and so there must be a sense of purpose and inclusion in all gatherings. In 2019, we will emphasize a default growth mentality (“+1 plan”) wherein we formally define and articulate our community value often and push to attract awareness and increase membership. Of utmost importance is strengthening relationships with existing partners and allies as well as seeking new ones, from area freethinkers to science/education enthusiasts to the non-religious/affiliated to other humanist chapters. I would like to see social bonding increase at meetings and activities and have some ideas for that. An idea to add a meetup group for curious potential humanists outside of our regular meetings is one that deserves consideration. We should also look at renovating the website to add new features and a dynamic look as well as increase our participation and draw on social media—all critical to exposure. Lastly, we could benefit from increased membership participation, whether volunteering on a committee or at an event or even just voicing thoughts and ideas, for in the end, we are all members seeking an impactful shared experience through Humanism.
3) Be the Change (activism and exposure). It is here that perhaps we can make the biggest splash as an organization in 2019: we must take humanism outside our group and make a visible difference through community action. From service projects to political, ethical, environmental or other situations that can benefit from humanistic principles via activism, there is no shortage of opportunities for humanism to share its enlightened philosophy with the community. These opportunities can be collective or individual, but there will be times for HoU to move beyond discussion to activism. For example, I would love to see us deliver a dedication at a government meeting in representation of the nonreligious and to show up at activist gatherings in defense of humanistic ideals. This is not only exerting influence with time-honored values, it is another opportunity to reach more potential members. Let us plant our flag and, when appropriate, convert our words into action!
I hope this gives you some insight into the potential for 2019 and that you are as excited as I am. But this venture into the future stands on the backs of many individuals have worked diligently to get us to where we are now. On behalf of HoU, I would like to extend a hearty thank you to retiring board members John Barnes, Sally Jo Fuller and Steve Hanka for their helpful service and efforts during their tenure and hope to still benefit from their presence. Additional thanks to Bob Lane, who has been president of the organization longer than anyone can remember and has put many hours into service for HoU. Bob will still be active as a board member and helping with various activities, so we are lucky to still have his influence and experience working for us.