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Our Chapters – the Soul of AAAA

President’s Cockpit / MG Tim Crosby, U.S. Army Retired:

Can you believe we are two months into 2022 already?  The AAAA Annual Summit is just weeks away now and everyone is leaning forward as we get into the execution phase. I hope you are making plans to join us in Nashville.

While the staff is laser focused on preparing for the Summit, I am still on my mission to visit all 79 chapters. Just after the new year, I hit five in one week: Iron Mike, Jimmy Doolittle, Savannah, Greater Atlanta, and Follow Me! My next swing will be through Louisiana and Mississippi. Each time I go to a chapter, I get invigorated by the enthusiasm of the chapters’ leadership teams. While the AAAA staff prepares a pre-briefing packet for me that has several key statistics on the chapter’s activities, when I meet with the chapter leadership I get great feedback and learn how each chapter is truly unique. To remind us of that “uniqueness” I have asked the staff to coordinate and include an article in each magazine that highlights a different chapter. This is to be an article authored by the chapter and the topic will be at their discretion, ranging from their chapter history, to membership, to activities, etc. Again, focusing our attention on the reason we exist, our chapters.

As part of our chapter recognition, this time of year, we begin to gather individual chapter stats and rack and stack them all by category (Super – over 500 members; Master – 175-499; Senior –75-174; and AAAA – 74 or fewer members). We then use a metric-based system to evaluate each chapter as Red, Amber, or Green depending on their relative health and then pick the Top Chapters in each category. The metrics are all about your local experience and are designed to recognize and reward the chapter most successful in attaining the goal of motivating all to strive for the annual recognition.

We look at a plethora of activities: How many orders of Saint Michael and Knight awards as well as Lady of Loreto awards did your chapter nominate? How many nominations came from each chapter for our national awards like Soldier of the Year? How many Scholarships did they sponsor to provide higher education dollars to you and your families in this merit-based system? Has your chapter been holding its minimum of four membership meetings each year? You get the idea. It is all about your Networking, Recognition, Voice, and Support opportunities that are happening locally for you all. I know I sound like a broken record, but if you are not getting what you are looking for in your local AAAA chapter then you simply won’t remain AAAA members. It is as simple as that. This is why I am pushing so hard to make sure we empower and energize the chapters to meet your expectations especially as we seem to finally, really, truly, hopefully, emerge from the last two years of restricted gatherings and interactions due to the coronavirus.

What more can we do at the national level? Success and membership stability/growth only happen at the chapter level. Let me know directly what you think we can do better to facilitate your success. Based on your continued feedback, I will work closely with our National VP Chapters, Jan Drabczuk, as well as our great AAAA National staff to make you successful in your chapter.

Attention Chapter Officers: a key part of the AAAA Annual Summit are the Chapter Workshops that we hold each year during the event. This year they are on Sunday morning, April 3, 2022, from 1000 to 1400. We will be discussing some of my findings resulting from my visits, but most importantly we will be seeking your direct feedback and welcome some spirited discussion in that four-hour session.

Your members are depending on all of us to deliver. Together we can make our mission statement to “Support the U.S. Army Aviation Soldier and Family” even more real and dynamic for all our members. We can do no less. See you there!

BC

AAAA National President, MG (Ret.) Tim Crosby (second from right) poses with Iron Mike chapter officers during a January 3, 2022 visit. Pictured are (left to right): VP Awards, Julia Frassetto; VP Scholarships, Shaun Collins; Chapter President, EJ Irvin; VP Marketing & Development, Kerry Irvin; Crosby; and Chapter Secretary, Ann Nollett.

Looking Back

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