Our annual dinner and Board meeting was held in Colorado Springs over the November 4th weekend. The Board and I came away from this event more excited and energized than ever. I wanted to give you guys the highlights and let you know where we are headed for next year.
We held our Board meeting on Friday night at the Marriott. The entire Board was present along with other guests. The Executive VP of the AOG, Mr Gary Howe was there to talk with us about our newly minted affinity status and how the AOG could be supportive of our organization. One of our long term allies, Mr. Steve Samuels from the Behavioral Sciences Dept also came to talk with us about the upcoming NCLS (National Character and Leadership Symposium) conference in February. He has been working to get a LGBT panel added to the Symposium and asked if we could participate. More to follow as this great opportunity develops. Steve Hall, the executive director from USNA Out also attended and offered his experience to help us with our future direction. You can see his writeup about the weekend on the website. Finally, Kevin Highfield '87 came to be interviewed and was elected as our newest Board member!
Overall the Board meeting lasted an astonishing 5 and a half hours. But so much was accomplished as we look to the work to be done in the New Year. We are establishing several new committees to address a host of new issues. I will detail those at the end of this message. We are looking for members who are willing to help out with the new committees. This is important and exciting work and we are looking forward to our best year ever in 2012.
The next morning we all met again at the first ever Blue Alliance Tail Gate for the Army Game! You can see some of the pictures on the website and the Facebook page. We had the rainbow flags flying and enough food and drink to make it a great time for all. This was the first time we had a real chance to interact with the newly emboldened LGBT cadets. We had cadets from both USAFA and USMA come to the tailgate. Off to the game where things started out a little rough but the Falcons pulled it together in the second half to bring home the Commander and Chief's Trophy for the second year in a row. That made dinner a little more festive!
Our second annual dinner was held immediately following the game in Doolittle Hall. We had about 63 guest for the reception and dinner. One of the first guest to arrive was the Dean of Faculty, Gen Dana Born. I think she gets preferred parking at the game so it was an easy out of the Stadium! Once again we had almost 30 cadets in attendance .... thanks to all of you who sponsored cadets to the dinner. We could not have done it without your help! The dinner was a "Celebration of Equality" that was meant to be fun and inspirational. I think we nailed it. As I was preparing to open the dinner... I had to take a step back from the podium ... I truly felt humbled... I was looking at something that I never thought I would see in my lifetime.... this dinner had cadets, alumni, USAFA Staff, AOG Staff, friends and family... and all were having a great time.
We asked Steve Hall from USNA Out and Sue Fulton from Knights Out to take a few minutes to fill us in on happenings at their schools. Dr Adis Maria Vila, the Academy Chief Diversity Officer was the keynote speaker. Her remarks made it clear that she is an ally and someone we can count on for support. She opened the floor for questions and was gracious in her responses.
We closed the dinner with my remarks on the future of Blue Alliance and where we are headed in 2012. We also opened the floor to questions.
My takeaway... we have a lot of work to do... including working with the cadets. These guys/girls are stepping out in a big way and are showing no fear in their organization efforts. More about that soon!!
So.... we have organized a few new committees and we are looking for help! Here they are:
1. Cadet Relations
2. Media Relations
3. Membership Growth and Involvement
4. Family Support
5. Outreach to Fellow Organizations (We are working on this title)
6. Executive Relations
Each of these committees has several sub categories that they will be working on. If you have interest in helping in these areas, please let us know.
Thank you all for a very successful 2011! Have a great Holiday Season and we look forward to working with so many of you in the New Year!
Greg Mooneyham '87