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24.07.2017 (2330 Days Ago)

Topics of interest from BCMC member Chris Ludwig about Conservation and BC Parks.

3 votes
BCMC Dissatisfaction with FMC Membership
BCMC Dissatisfaction with FMC Membership
2330 days ago 13 comments Category: Park Huts

The BCMC has been a long standing/founding member of the Federation of Mountain Clubs and BCMC members form a large portion of FMC committees.  However, many of us now have concerns regarding our continued membership in the FMC.  A great deal has transpired in the background, and I believe it is time to involve and inform the broader membership.

This journey began with casually asking members of the club the simple question "Do you know what the Federation of Mountain Clubs is and does?".  The vast majority had no idea, which is in fact the fundamental problem and one that remains unimproved since the initial questioning.


Members of the Executive (myself being one of them)  then starting asking the questions "are we getting good value for our money", "Does the FMC represent BCMC interests" and "Is the FMC Transparent"; fair and reasonable questions.  $17 dollars of every $40 membership goes towards the FMC after all.  


The FMC brands itself as an advocacy group that represents the interests of its membership clubs.  However, with no "wins" and no "success stories" in over a decade (and even if there were any, the membership wouldn't have a clue given current FMC communications), it is hard to argue that the FMC is doing its job in this area and delivering good value to the BCMC.  The FMC BOD itself admitted at the last AGM that they have completely failed in the area of advocacy; it is not disputed.  Furthermore, FMC communication is outdated, closed, and centrally controlled through the employees and BOD.  Censorship of speech has even occurred where one BCMC Exec (not myself) was wrongly "banned" and censored from the Listserve for expressing opinions the staff and BOD didn't like.  


Some of us BCMC Execs would go so far as to assert that the FMC of today on many issues, is actively working against BCMC interests.  I could site specific examples, but this would take too long to outline.


As an Executive, we subsequently prepared a list of five changes that we insist the FMC implement which we would then later assess after a given time period.  This list was unanimously approved of by the Executive.  I subsequently made a presentation at the past AGM in Penticton as to how the FMC can meet our list of mandatory changes, and how the FMC can fix its communication problems and modernize its grossly inadequate, antiquated, closed, and ineffective website infrastructure.  Members of the BCMC Website Development Team (myself included) even offered to help for free, but this was ignored/rejected in the place of paid staff centralized control.  To date, many months later, the FMC has made no progress whatsoever on these issues and on our required changes.  


My personal recommendation to the FMC was that their closed and non-transparent Listserve model be replaced with an open website forum and blogging platform where all members can present the advocacy issues that mattered to them.  This would also allow members in one part of the province to know and understand the issues happening in all other parts of the province.  I demonstrated how this could be done at the AGM on a screen, showcased working examples, and offered to help, but the FMC has gone silent.  In essence, the BCMC website has this exact setup where every member can speak their mind on any topic.  With such an open system of communication, it would be easy for me as a FMC director to point the membership towards a place where they can get involved in the FMC, learn about what they do, and present their own issues and voice.  But it was not to be.  As it stands, I have nowhere adequate to point the membership towards to demonstrate what value they are getting for their $17 dollars and what the FMC does.


In the fall the BCMC Executive will consider the progress and changes made (or the lack of them), and consider whether or not continued membership in the FMC is desirable for our club and our membership.  


I take no pleasure in writing this, as I myself was a strong believer of the FMC in the 1990s.  However, the worst reason and justification for any decision or action is the statement "because we have always done it that way".   

BCMC Organizational Recommendations:


1.  No censorship of advocacy work by the exec team.


2. Allow committee members to update their committee specific section of the FMCBC website


3. Allow non-members to send email message to the various committee lists, i.e. fmc-dir@lists.ubc.ca, dmc-dir@lists.ubc.ca.  Disclose the membership of the lists to the member clubs.


4. Enable public posting to Facebook group mountain clubs.


5. Committee heads should manage access to list servers for their groups.


Role of FMCBC.pdf • 900.9K 

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