Support for ARS

By Bill Blok
Wanted, more rose gardeners!
In the past, new empty-nesters, and newly retired seniors have been prime candidates for rose society membership. Having less responsibility at home and at work, quite a few found more time to spend in their gardens and at rose events. Those who were rose lovers would often become more active in rose societies.
In the last 20 years or so, this older generation of adults have tended to become interested in other things, such as playing golf, condo living, and travel. The result has been a marked decrease in rose society membership, both at the local and national levels. The economic crash we experienced in 2008 only exasperated our membership and financial problems.
At the local society level, some smaller rose societies have closed up shop, while others merged their rose shows and other activities, but have continued to function with their fewer remaining members shouldering more and more responsibilities.
While the local and District societies continued to function with tighter budgets, the National ARS society , with the need to maintain a National Staff and Headquarters, has worked itself into a state of insolvency, as it allowed revenues to drop faster than it’s expenditures. Now ARS is “passing the hat” to their friends (local and District societies), requesting a “bail out”.
At our March Board meeting, our Grand Valley Rose Society Board received a letter from the ARS requesting a donation of $300 . That request was “tabled” for later consideration. It also is requesting donations of $1000 from all District Rose Societies. These sums are needed by ARS to pay the debts they have accumulated recently when expenditures exceeded income. Our individual ARS members have always been fair game for solicitations from ARS, but our local societies have enough problems of their own, without being asked to make up for bad management at the National level. Perhaps we do not need a full time National ARS Director. W. B.

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