A Message from the President          ACBL Bridge Bulletin          July Issue

By Al Levy

The Board of Directors and management govern the business of bridge in North America.  This might be characterized as the brains of the organization.

Here I would like to describe the heart of our organizationÖthe many volunteers who contribute their efforts to bridge.  This includes the Unit and District Board members who run the local affairs of the ACBL and the many well established players who contribute to the general success of bridge.

Our members generally take for granted the well-run local bridge activities that they participate in.  The success of these activities are greatly due to the efforts of the many volunteers from the over 300 Unit and the 25 District organizations that conduct the business of bridge in their jurisdictional areas.  As I visit tournaments I see an amazing thingÖthe enthusiasm, dedication and expertise of these local organizers.  The results of their dedicated efforts are many, including: well run Sectional and Regional tournaments; great entertainment, giveaways, lectures, etc. at NABCs; excellent local publications; informative Unit and District websites; cooperation between neighboring organizations in scheduling their many activities; raising money for charities; teaching in schools through the ACBLís School Bridge program; healthy interactions with bridge clubs; and the many enjoyable special events.

I was particularly impressed with the mentor programs run in the Houston and Cincinnati areas.  Both areas have well-organized programs where experienced players mentor newcomers over a long period of time.  Contact Elena Hickman, at Elena8827@aol.com, in the Cincinnati area, and Betty Starzec, at Betty.Starzec@acbl.org, in the Houston area, for more details.  These programs are very well received and greatly help in converting newcomers into lifetime members.

One of my priorities this year is to promote the ACBLís School Bridge Program.  Everywhere I go I see local bridge teachers getting involved in this program.  Carol Mathews is an excellent example of an ambitious teacher who has been using this material to teach hundreds of students on Long Island, NY, and is now working on a teaching program in summer camps.

In addition, there are many other ACBL members who lend their talents to our game.  Chip Martel, Nick Nickell, Aileen Osofsky and Kitty Cooper are prime examples.  Chip, the 2000 ACBL Honorary member is the co-chair of the ACBL and WBF Laws Commission and serves on many other expert committees.  I particularly appreciate Chipís advise on the World Computer-Bridge Championships that I coordinate and the Internet Advisory committee that I chaired.  Nick, the 2003 ACBL Honorary member is a goodwill ambassador for bridge and has supported so many bridge activities.  Truly a man who gives back to the game he loves.  Aileen Osofsky, national Goodwill committee chair, has served unselfishly for many years.  Kitty Cooper, through her bridge teaching efforts in the Albuquerque school system, has done an outstanding job of developing promotional material and lesson plans which are now used in the ACBLís School Bridge Program.

Others serve on various bridge committees, including Appeals, Hall-of-Fame and the Laws Commission to name a few.  Many experts give Intermediate/Newcomer lectures at Regionals and NABCs.  Volunteers serve as trustees of our Educational and Charity Foundations.  The list goes on and on.  The number of enthusiastic ACBL members who give back to our game is high and their enthusiasm is even higher.  Our game must be very special for so many busy people to devote so much time and effort to its affairs.