From The President: January Board Meeting Highlights (Jan. 22-24, 2016)

Greetings APA Members!  I hope you are as excited for this year as your current and new incoming Board Members are.  We all recently met for a strategic planning session in a snowy Nashville in January to discuss ideas, changes and plans for the Association in 2016. We thought it would be helpful to highlight some of the top developments that have come as a result of our January Board Meeting. Expect more updates to come from your Committee Chairs soon, as our next Board Meeting is scheduled for February 15th.  
  • The Overhand Throw: for those of you that are enjoying using (or for those of you who are not enjoying defending it), the overhand throw was accepted by the Board. In 2016, members of the Board, along with their committee members, are planning on providing educational opportunities this year on how to defend it via articles and clinics that we will make available later this year.
  • Updated Rulebook:  We know that many of our APA members are anxious to hear what progress was made regarding the rulebook update and revision. Thankfully, with the progress made by the outgoing Chief Umpire and his Umpire Panel, we anticipate being able to make the final approval of revisions to the rulebook during our February 15th meeting. Expect the new rulebook to be made available to members shortly thereafter.
  • Chief Umpire Position:  After much discussion by the Board, Daniel Johnson was voted in as the Chief Umpire for 2016. Because this position is such an important part of the value our Association brings to its membership, the Board made a renewed commitment to support the Chief Umpire in his role – and hold him accountable to the responsibilities set before him.  One of Daniel’s first priorities is to complete the rulebook revisions. We also ask that Daniel present us with a detailed plan of action for his role this year by February 15th.  As a result, Daniel agreed to have the final rulebook revisions to the board by February 10th for review, with the Board voting on those final revisions during our February 15th meeting.  He also agreed to have his umpire plan in place by February 15th and to present us with a list of currently certified umpires, having his Certified Umpire Program clearly defined, and to have an outline of what his Certified Umpire Training Program will look like this year (including specific dates for umpire training events).  We anxiously look forward to Daniel’s progress on these initiatives!
  • Player Development Program (PDP):  We are excited to have Susan Hatch as the new PDP Chair who is already actively working with her newly formed PDP Committee to select a U-16 Coach for Outbound Tours this year.  Some initial changes that have already been made are that the Board decided to adhere to a new guideline of requiring a minimum age of 25 years old for the Head Coach position for Outbound Tours for the Youth Development Team (YDT).  This was a tough decision for the Board as we know there are many extremely enthusiastic and talented APA members under the age of 25 but we all felt that it was in the best interest for all involved if our Association adheres to this age limit guideline. Look for a further update from Susan soon as she is making a lot of progress with her committee already!
  • United State Pony Club (USPC):  As many of you already know, Pony Club is an extremely important strategic partner for our sport and our organization. Many of our top riders are A-Level Pony Club graduates and so we believe that the USPC is an extremely important program to maintain a strong relationship with going forward.  To that end, our current APA / USPC Liaison, Cile Savoy, has been busy working on this for us!  Cile is making great strides with the USPC in encouraging and strengthening the relationship between our two organizations and with their USPC members. USPC members and Non-USPC Members will NOW be allowed to participate in USPC Regionals and National Championships in Polocrosse.  USPC also wants to do an International Polocrosse Exchange during Championships. We are looking into having the APA website link USPC membership by adding a place to identify Horse Masters (adults) and USPC members (Youth).
  • APA Communications: We know that it’s extremely important to keep our members updated regarding what is going on with the APA leadership, as well as keep our membership connected with each other. Our new Communications Committee Chair, Kristy Gusick has expressed her resolve to building on the excellent work that has been done in the past by increasing the frequency and variety of communications coming the APA. Kristy is still in the planning stage but early indications from her and her committee are that she has plans for a blog on the APA website, increased updates from Committee Chair positions and last but not least – the resurrection of the American Polocrosse Magazine!  Look for more information from Kristy and her committee soon!
  • Nationals Tournament:  The Nationals site is being finalized with some information we’ve been waiting to hear about so the Board can approve it. This committee will work to make 2016 Nationals the best yet! The date will be October 7th, 8th and 9th. The Nationals Committee is made up of the Chair (Laura Humphreys), The President, the Zone Rep and a local club member or two if a club is nearby.
  • New Membership Type: A new membership type, the Non-Player, will be offered for parents or supporters who do not play. The membership will be $30 per year and includes all the benefits of the APA (including voting rights) but not playing. It is now available online.
  • Volunteering:  We would love to have additional APA members be part of our committees! Please know that you do not have to be a Board Member to participate on one of the many Board-level Committees.  This year’s Board is more resolved than ever to improve the value we are bringing to our members – but we can’t do it without your help.  If you are looking to connect with more players from around the country or if you have ideas you think will help us do a better job, we encourage you to contact Laura Humphreys at who is the APA Executive Director or myself at and we will be happy to get you connected with the right committee chairperson.
Again, these are just a few of the many updates from our recent January board meeting. For a full list of the Committee Chairs, please feel free to visit our website link here. We also anticipate many exciting Committee Chair updates to follow soon. Lastly, the Board has agreed to meet monthly this year to keep the communication flowing and also to help us all stay more accountable to one another regarding the goals we have for improving the APA for all members.   Thank you for your support – and look for more information from us soon!   Sincerely,   Rob Caldwell APA President