The date for the 2015 holiday potluck dinner and member meeting of the Arizona Mushroom Club has been set for Thursday, December 10. As usual, it will take place at the Maricopa County Cooperative Extension building at 4341 E. Broadway Road in Phoenix. A Google map can be found at the link on our event calendar.
The 2015 winter meeting is especially important this year. Dr. Chet Leathers plans to step down as President after many years of faithful service to the Arizona mushrooming community, and the informal structure of the club is being updated to a registered non-profit corporation with an elected board of directors. By doing so, we hope to be able to take tax-deductible 501(c)(3) contributions; to insulate the club members, officers, and directors from liability concerns; and to give each and every member a sense that they have a voice and a stake in the operations of the organization.
All dues-paying members in good standing of the current AMC will be eligible to vote for directors and for ratification of the proposed bylaws of the new corporation, either in person or by written proxy. Note also that if you join now, your membership will be valid until the end of 2016.
An ad hoc organizing committee has already met. We will be providing more details of our plans here and on the Facebook page before the meeting. We have high hopes of bringing in members and former members who are interested in serving as directors, officers, and committee chairs and members in the new organization. If you have ever said to yourself, “I wish the Mushroom Club did X!” (or didn’t do Y), then now is your chance to take a role in shaping it into the kind of organization you’d like it to be. If you know you’re interested in being part of this effort, please get in touch before the meeting so the organizing committee can explain to you what’s needed and put your name in nomination.
We’re going to be tailoring some of our program especially to appeal to intermediate and advanced collectors who thought they had outgrown the Mushroom Club, as well as expanding our outreach to welcome even more novices to the hobby and teach them what they need to know to take part safely. We hope to see a few more “themed” forays during the year, e.g. for neophytes, photographers, fit long-distance hikers, herbalists/alternative medicine enthusiasts, or 4×4 owners, with dates set farther in advance. And beyond forays, there are other programs many of us would like to see developed: Fungus fairs. Chef’s tasting meals. Joint events with other clubs and organizations like the Arizona Herb Association meeting that many of us attended last year. Microscopy, culinary, or fabric-dyeing workshops. Distinguished guest speakers at our meetings. Long-distance forays to Colorado, California, or Mexico… The possibilities are limited only by our members’ enthusiasm and interests.
Big successful clubs like the Mycological Society of San Francisco or the Puget Sound Mycological Society have quite a number of committees organizing many such events and programs. We will necessarily start more modestly, with fewer committees that each have a rather broader mandate, so as not to dissipate the effort of our somewhat smaller membership. However, given the level of interest we have in this state– as demonstrated by the heavy turnout we’ve seen for our past few forays, and the nearly 1000 people who follow our Facebook page– there is no reason that we cannot eventually become as vigorous a club as some of the much better-known organizations. Novices and new members are warmly invited to serve in the organization, although some positions such as the Scientific Committee and Foray Committee will need to have relevant experience.
Looking forward to seeing many old friends and many eager new faces at this important meeting. Please try to make time for it if you can, and to help us expand upon the solid foundation that Dr. Leathers has bequeathed to us, making it bigger and better than ever!