Last updated June 2013.
Some of you are aware and many of you will not be surprised by the fact that our Life Member Group (LM; Owls) was the brain-child of the AACAP's Development Committee. What was very surprising to me when I was asked to chair the LMG was that no one told me the LMG must or should raise money. This was like a surgeon saying that your heart blockage, bunion, or skin growth didn't require surgery, or like a psychoanalyst saying you are neurosis-free. To a hammer, everything usually looks like a nail.
What I was told was that the number of Life Members had grown large and that clearer planning was needed to find ways to better get them in touch with the Academy and with each other. I thought this was a great idea. I have many friends who are Life Members and I knew I wanted to keep in better touch with them. To do this, it made sense to start with a committee to help me to think how we could improve communication amongst everybody. Many good ideas arose from the committee. Most centered on our natural gathering at the Annual Meetings, while others focused on use of the internet for communication. You are currently reading one of the latter --- this LM e-Newsletter.
Our excitement about keeping in touch with each other gave rise to discussions and debates about "what older people can still do well." Most Owls are retired, have more and more doctors' appointments, but still have the most free time since they entered kindergarten. At least for those Owls who became active in the LMG, there was a strong sense that our profession and our lives have been very worthwhile. This realization led to the belief that we should act to encourage young physicians to do what we did, only better. The Group has responded to this charge by being exceedingly generous in donating money to provide Annual Meeting travel grants to enable medical students and residents to learn the field's newest scientific knowledge. In addition, many Owls donate some of their Annual Meeting time to mentor young professionals with the wisdom they acquired through their decades of clinical experience. From grantee and mentee feedback, it is very clear that these Owl gifts of time, money and knowledge will never be forgotten. In fact, it was while I was reading through a small pile of thank-you notes that my opening quote by William Butler Yeats came to mind.
Every person who is reading this has experienced many, many teachers. We all know that while pail fillers are soon forgotten, fire starters are remembered forever. For all of you who have donated in any way to the teaching of our emerging colleagues, thank you for keeping child and adolescent psychiatry's generational fires burning brightly! If you have not yet joined the Owl Fire Stoking Brigade by donating service, money or both, please join us in 2013. You don't have to give much to do good and to feel good, but if you donate at least the equivalent of your forgiven AACAP dues ($400), you will do even more good and will feel even better. Obviously, all donations are tax deductable. For $400 or more donated since the previous Annual Meeting, you will receive a complementary enameled Owl pin that commemorates the city of our next year's Annual Meeting. If you have ever seen one, you know that these pins are stunningly handsome.
P.S. Please read the thank-you notes from the 10 medical students and 12 residents for whom our generosity helped pay their way to our Annual Meeting last October in San Francisco. These are remarkable and can be viewed here.
You will see their photos and the short version of the letters, or you can tap the red site-links to see the full letters. Some brought tears to my eyes. Because of your open hearts, we collected enough to now help bring 14 medical students and 15 residents to Orlando. In fact, we have expanded our number of grantees every year of our existence. Who could ever have predicted this? Not the Development Committee! Not me!