There are many ways of going forward, but only one way of standing still.
–Franklin D. Roosevelt

Six years ago a small group of family history enthusiasts came together with their common interest and formed the Castle Rock Colorado Genealogical Society. Today that organization has grown to more than one hundred members and offers to its participants multiple opportunities each month to develop and expand genealogical research skills.

Throughout those six years, the key ingredient in the growth and success of the society has always been volunteer leadership. Whether serving on the Board of Directors, leading a fund raising effort, teaching a class or greeting visitors with a smiling face and cup of coffee, the members of CRCGS have carried the group forward from its origins as a small gathering of like-minded family historians to one of the most dynamic and accomplished local genealogical societies in the nation.

Today the society is built on the foundation constructed by those volunteers who refused to stand still but instead worked to develop from scratch an entity that never loses sight of its mission to promote genealogy through education and research, and to do so with the highest standards and expectations.

It has been volunteer leadership that has integrated the society with modern communication technologies, launched creative and innovative programs, and brought to the region opportunities to hear distinguished national lecturers at the Rocky Mountain Genealogical Seminar. Volunteer leaders have continually pushed the organization forward to serve the interests of the membership and the local genealogical community.

In the past year, the society Board of Directors has worked diligently to position the organization most favorably as a non-profit corporation, structured to effectuate the society’s character as a charitable organization. The society continues its forward movement with newly approved bylaws, revised articles of incorporation and recently acquired federal and state tax exempt status, along with the corresponding ability to receive tax-deductible contributions in support of its mission.

And the efforts to move forward have not stopped. An annual tradition among society leaders has been to assess the programs and activities undertaken in the recent past and to plan for the future, building not only on what has worked but bringing forward new opportunities for continued progress.

Plans for the coming year include the introduction of a new multi-level genealogical education curriculum that responds to the needs of participants, whether they are beginning, intermediate or advanced genealogists. Other new programs in 2015 will include a multi-session course that focuses on the relationship between DNA and genealogical research, along with a new program that relates to research in the records of other countries.

The success of these new programs, along with those current offerings such as field trips, Genealogy Tech Talk, SHARE and the monthly programs with speakers, necessitate active participation of society members as attendees as well as volunteer leaders. It takes many helping hands not only to deliver these programs, but also to communicate about them in ways that inform the membership. Likewise, it takes volunteers to maintain membership lists, record attendance, set up chairs, preserve the society’s history and extend hospitality.

In its effort to continue the progress of the society, and to implement the new bylaws adopted by the membership this past April, the Board of Directors recently approved a new leadership structure. Much of the society’s work will be accomplished within four standing committees: education, program, membership and communications. These committees each have various multiple responsibilities which will be met by volunteer leaders. Coordinating each of the four committees will be a Director elected to the Board of Directors at the annual membership meeting in November. Joining them on the Board of Directors will be the elected President, Secretary and Treasurer, as well as any other Directors elected to serve. The new structure departs somewhat from past experience by decentralizing much of society leadership away from the Board of Directors instead to volunteer leaders working within the new standing committee structure, with support and oversight provided by the Board of Directors. A hoped for outcome is not only to expand opportunities for member involvement in leadership, but also to focus the efforts of the Board of Directors on society management, along with review and implementation of policies and procedures.

The success of this new structure, and the continued progress of the society, is dependent on its members’ willingness to offer themselves as volunteer leaders. Whether serving on the Board of Directors or leading a committee effort, every contribution is important and valuable to the society and its mission. Please give thoughtful consideration to how you may offer your time and talent to keep Castle Rock Colorado Genealogical Society moving forward. If you have served in the recent past and need to recharge for your next service, then please accept my gratitude on behalf of the society. For those considering service for the first time, I encourage you to come along for the journey.

Kirk Woosley Patton, President
Castle Rock Colorado Genealogical Society