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July Message from the President...

Welcome to a powerful new year for counselors! Counselors are truly super heroes in our daily work, so grab your cape because it is up… up… up… and away from here on out!!!

SDCA held its annual board retreat and leadership training on July 17-18th. During that time leaders learned about getting involved in leadership, and we began to put together a strategic plan for 2015-2016. I am very excited about the goals SDCA has put together for the coming year. The board will finalize and vote on the strategic plan soon. After it has formally been approved it will appear on the SDCA web-site. I would like to give you a sneak-peak as to what the board has planned to help our organization and profession grow over the next year.

As many of you know we have been in a transition period for some time, after losing our Executive Director (ED) after only 6 months of employment with us in 2014. Last year, our President Rebecca Christiansen help take on and delegated some of the ED tasks. Our bookkeeping and finances have been managed by Dakota Plains Consulting Services (owned and operated by Kelly Duncan) this past year (with a contract that ended on June 30, 2015).

At our April board meeting the SDCA board had some discussion about changing the ED job description, in order to allow us to fill the position appropriately. The discussion involved possibly to continue to have a separate firm do our bookkeeping. A committee was formed to discuss what the job would look like and propose a hiring timeline. Members can find the report from this committee on the SDCA web-site. The committee completed its tasks near the end of June.

The executive committee met to discuss the committee’s report and recommendations. The executive committee is charged per our bylaws to act on behalf of the board between board meetings. The executive committee felt that it wasn’t fiscally responsible to take our organization into the upcoming year without a contract to manage our books. A decision was made to offer a contract to Dakota Plains Consulting Services for the upcoming year, so that we had someone in place to manage our finances.

At our board meeting in July, it was decided that SDCA should look at other bookkeeping services and revise the contract for Dakota Plains Consulting Services to be a month to month contract, which would allow for SDCA to look for another firm, and for Kelly to train whomever was hired.

In order to help SDCA run more smoothly while we search for a new ED, the board also voted to hire Rebecca Christiansen to complete the ED duties. The board felt that Rebecca would make a good interim ED as she has worked to make sure the ED duties where done over the last year. Rebecca resigned as SDCA Past President, and will serve in the interim until we hire an ED. I worked with Rebecca and a group of leaders to develop a hiring timeline. SDCA hopes to have a new ED hired in February/March to begin working with Rebecca on conference planning, and training for the position.

I would be happy to answer any questions that members have about the events that have taken place the last several months in relation to our ED and bookkeeper search. I will end by sharing just briefly with you some exciting ideas that will be part of the 2015 strategic plan.

Another new change, which you may already be aware of, is our new membership management services. They are now up and running. They will provide us with the ability to do a lot more communication with our members, and provide on-line payment for memberships and conferences registrations. We are very excited to be able to do this for members. The new membership services was one reason the SDCA board felt it necessary to have an interim ED. Rebecca has been instrumental in getting the new system going.

One of the main goals that SDCA has this year is to provide more professional development opportunities to our members. The board has chosen to purchase a webinar program and hope to be able to utilize it to offer some professional development. I am hoping that this technology will help SDCA reach more of our members. If you have input on professional develop you would like to see SDCA do, feel free to e-mail me at the SDCA e-mail sdca.counseling@gmail.com.

Another big goal of SDCA is to increase advocacy efforts. Advocacy consists of both government relations efforts and promoting our profession in general. The SDCA board discussed ways to positively promote counselors in South Dakota, so keep a lookout for what is to come!!

Lastly, our biggest event of the year is always the SDCA Conference. Another goal of 2015-2016 is to provide an amazing conference once again. We will have two nationally known speakers this year. We will have Julia Cook returning, as well as Dr. Brad Erford, former ACA President. There will be more to come regarding the conference soon. Call for programs isn’t far away, be thinking about what you have to share with others!

A lot has happened already, and I will keep my messages shorter in the future. I felt it was important to keep our membership informed as to the many happenings and decisions of the board so far this year. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have ideas, concerns, or want to get involved sdca.counseling@gmail.com. What is your super power?? Grab your cape, your lasso, or your listening skills because here we go… Up… Up… Up… and Away!

Stacy Solsaa
SDCA President 2015-2016