In a sense, ANTA has become a victim of its own success. In the roughly 18 years that we have been in existence, our membership has grown considerably, the number of activities our dogs participate in has increased, and the events we put on have expanded in both number and geographical spread.
Unfortunately, despite this growth or perhaps because of it, we hear more and more criticism from those who are disappointed because a particular venue does not offer the "right" mix of activities; that the event planners haven't made concessions to their ideas of what constitutes proper trophies, food, or accommodations, or that they have been personally victimized by some other shortcoming on the part of the current day's host or hostess.
While input from members is vital to the success of any organization, and we do want those who attend our events to be happy with the experience, it is important to realize that ANTA events are put on by volunteers who ... just like you ... have families and jobs and countless other commitments to attend to and that, on top of everything else, they then undertake to plan and run events for your pleasure. Rather than taking event organizers to task for what you perceive as their shortcomings, why not thank them for their efforts and then volunteer to host an event or run an activity in the future ... putting your time, energy, commitment and dedication to work on behalf of the club.
In our rush to achieve, let's not lose sight of what ANTA is all about. We are an educational organization, not a competitive one. While certain activities, such as the conformation match at Bedford, have traditionally afforded us the opportunity to have licensed judges or top breeders go over our exhibits, even those occasions are designed to bring out rambunctious puppies and seasoned housedogs and rather grizzled retired veterans, as well as current show stoppers.
The next time you attend an ANTA event, look around. Are you meeting old friends and making new ones? Have you forgotten the stress of your job for a couple of hours? Have you had a chance to practice in the show ring or the earth or on agility equipment for the occasion when you go to licensed competitive events? Are your dogs having fun?
As with most things in life, you get out of an ANTA event just what you put into it. So the next time, come and have fun. Better yet, volunteer your expertise for the good of the organization.
ANTIC, June, 1998
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