There is the story of the football team that comes into the locker room at half-time trailing 42-0. The Coach is fuming -- he sees the quarterback, John Schmidt, snacking on a bench, looking half asleep. "You, Schmidt, what the hell is going on?" "Huh?" Schmidt responds. The Coach, apoplectic now, shouts: "Is this ignorance or apathy?" Schmidt looks up, "Coach, I don't know and I don't care."
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you...JFNA 2012.
When it comes to a JFNA that reflects federations needs and wants, instead we have a very expensive umbrella organization that attends to only its own perceived needs and wants. This turns the entire construct of a federation-owned organization operating in almost all ways on its own agenda while spending the federations hard-earned funds in pursuit of their version of fools gold. Oh, of course, the lay and professional leaders of JFNA believe in their own agenda but I wonder what the CEO/President actually hears on his federation visits that now exceed 110. Jerry is a salesman, a marketer but if he hears anything on these communal visits, that's certainly not reflected in JFNA's direction or, rather, JFNA's lack of any direction. They "don't know and don't care."
I don't believe that most of us care about "JFNA the brand." Not one whit. But those who lead JFNA do...as they should...but not to the extent that JFNA's core purposes -- to serve the needs of the federations and Network -- are marginalized. And marginalized they have been and are. There's a modicum of apathy but, in the main, I fear that what we have is true "ignorance." We have observed on these pages the almost total elimination of FRD as we once knew it from the national agenda. This is not to dismiss Jerry Silverman's efforts to identify potential donors to the federation cause -- probably out of his Camp experience -- or Jerry's success in placing Dockers colleagues in FRD positions in federation (Question: if these former colleagues have excellent FRD credentials, why not hire them for JFNA?) But Missions, when they do go, are sent out today with no fund raising requirements; JFNA no longer solicits fund raising opportunities in communities -- no fly-ins, no suite solicitations in partnership with federations, the per capita fund raising among members of the Young Leadership Cabinets is but a shadow of what it once was (while its leaders are directed to encourage/demand participation in things like TribeFestivus).
And we have watched as JFNA itself has become nothing more than that same shadow of what it once was; nothing like what it might have been. To conclude, let's return to football. It was the great future Hall of Fame Coach Bill Parcells who said: "You are what your record says you are." Do we agree?