AAFCS membership: Only 14 cents per day

AAFCS membership: Only 14 cents per day

One of the most surprising things about being a family and consumer sciences education major is the blank stares and dumbfounded looks received once I tell someone what my major is. I’ve learned to quickly tack on the phrase “home ec teacher.”

Adding this phrase elicits the response, “cooking and sewing.” I try to explain how the profession is so much more than the basics and go into my spiel about improving the well-being of individuals, families, and communities. I receive glazed-over eyes along with the question: “So you can cook? Do you want to practice your cooking skills on me?”

I normally just smile and change the subject, failing to advocate for the vitality of our profession. Reflecting on this all too common occurrence, I wondered about the sustainability of my profession. Don’t get me wrong-I believe we will always be needed, but will there be enough people who want to have a career in our field?

After contacting the FCS state administrators for Ohio and Illinois, I found that Illinois will need approximately 300 new family and consumer sciences educators over the next three years and Ohio will need approximately 150 new family and consumer sciences educators each year over the next three years.

On one hand, this is really exciting because it means that there is a need for FCS teachers in many states. On the other hand, it means there could be a lot of middle- and high-school students who are without an FCS educator. Considering the budget deficits states are facing, could this lead to cuts in FCS classes?

As a national officer, I think this decline in the education sector correlates with the decline in the AAFCS membership base. The Association’s overall membership has been declining since 1994. Just recently membership has begun to stabilize but still needs to grow.

This is a call to action for all of us P/GS students. Join us in recruiting and retaining members in the Association. Here’s how:

* Participate in the “Member-Get-a-Member” campaign

* Encourage students to contact their state affiliate leaders and find out if they participate in the HUGS program to sponsor student memberships.

* Be an active and visible group on campus.

* Get publicity by utilizing the media. See http://www.aafcs.org/resources/mediatoolkit.html for information.

* Establish a sense of community. Create an environment where younger members feel they can ask questions or advice from upperclassmen.

* Recognize members’ accomplishments.

* Visit middle- and high-school family and consumer sciences programs to encourage them to consider a career in the field.

* Be a member for life. Currently it costs about 14 cents per day to be a P/GS member. As a new professional member, it costs 22 cents per day. As an active or associate member, it is 30 cents per day.

The possibilities for recruiting and retaining members are endless.

Come to the AAFCS Convention June 28 to July 1 and share your success stories with colleagues. E-mail me with your ideas, and we’ll include them in the “In the Know” e-newsletter. Jenny Stone, former P/GS chair, agreed to work with recruitment and retention. Contact her for more ideas. As for me, maybe I’ll start cooking more meals for my friends who don’t understand FCS-that is if they promise to listen without glazed-over eyes!

Copyright American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences Apr 2003

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