ACNA - THE COUNCIL
What do we need the Council for? Is it something feasible? What does it mean for you and me? These were a few questions we had to answer and resolve before we could even move on any farther!
In the early part of 1988, the East Coast, Northern California, and the Southern California Alumni Associations, with their respective Presidents Joey Makayan, Danny Nagrampa, and Edgar Ninofranco, initiated an informal discussion about the possibility of holding an inter-state conference.
Maybe 1988 was a bit premature as a couple more years had to pass before it all got started. Indeed, in due time, (to coincide with then an Annual Sportsfest between the Northern and Southern California Alumni Associations) an Inter-State Conference was held on September 1, 1990. Hosted by our Northern California counterparts, we witnessed a vigorous display of leadership, enthusiasm, and excitement from all concerned.
Just like any other undertaking, everybody was excited at the opening tip or during the ‘grand opening’. The conference was a formal gathering of five official delegates and other participating members from each of the three Associations. [Whether this ‘magic number’ of official delegates had to be kept and for how long remained to be seen.] The event was graced and honored by no other than our late Philippine Organizer and President Emeritus Dr. Librado (Bado) I. Ureta, Ph.D.
In this conference, tough questions had to be answered. Some have had to be resolved, while others had to be left hanging in the air. To get through the order of business, a Conference Chairman was elected. Subsequently, three basic topics were highlighted for discussion, as follows:
- ACNA’s would-be relationship with the Alpha Phi Omega Philippines;
- Biennial Conventions on the Labor Day week-end holiday every even-numbered years made effective on September, 1992 was set; and
- ACNA’s organizational foundation and guidelines were laid and established.
Two supposed separate bodies, namely: the Constitutional Commission and the Ad Hoc set of officers were created.
A couple other names were suggested. But, gaining the most number of votes, the name ALPHA PHI OMEGA ALUMNI COUNCIL OF NORTH AMERICA came into being.
On Sept. 2, 1990, at the Awards night of the Sportsfest, the day after the conference was held, what proved to be his last Alpha Phi Omega function attended, our beloved Bado inducted the Ad Hoc set of officers to a two-year term of office effective through the year 1992. A Council that was once Bado's ‘expressed dreams’, was then meant to be...
Subsequent meetings of the Ad Hoc and the Constitutional Commission were conducted. The first of which was held at the infamous Beverly Hills Hotel in Beverly Hills on December 8, 1990, which was attended by a delegation from only two Associations, namely: the Northern and the Southern California Alumni Associations. Easier said than done, however, it would have been ideal to have availed of tele-conference communication systems for the benefit of our East Coast Counterparts who could not be physically present. Nevertheless, it was a productive one as benchmarks for the future of ‘The Council’ were established.
With various on-going activities, the third plenary session was held on August 31, 1991, at the Hampton Inn in Buena Park, California, on its first year anniversary.
It is interesting to note that The Council did not create much enthusiasm from many during its early stages. The Council, just like many other organizations, has experienced a lack of commitment and enthused participation, apathy, indifference, skepticism and doubt from many.
Further, it should be noted, that even at the height of its third plenary session, the proceedings had to be interrupted with some valid and down-to-earth questions, i.e., “What do we need a Council for?”, “Is A Council something feasible?”, “What does it mean for you and me... for the Alpha Phi Omega, and the community as a whole?”. These were a few questions that stopped us for a while and which had to be resolved. Soon enough, however, after many deliberations, The Council was reassured by its member-associations represented then, namely: The East Coast, Midwest-Chicago, Northern California, Southern California, Houston and Toronto, Canada, that The Council must move on.
YES, WE WANT A COUNCIL. WE MUST MOVE ON!
In 1992, The Council was in the process of preparing for its first Biennial Convention to be hosted by The East Coast in Newark, New Jersey on September 5-7, 1992. While the supposed Chairman of the Constitutional Commission could not attend to the needed tasks and responsibilities due to other personal priorities, the Ad Hoc leadership took upon itself to work with the rest of the Commission toward its eventual ratification. This document was formally ratified by these six member-Associations at this Convention.
Let us recognize the efforts of those responsible, especially our Northern California counterparts for its extra efforts in the completion of the final draft of our By-laws.
The East Coast Alumni Association received high marks for hosting our First Biennial Convention while at the same time establishing more guidelines for future conventions. Gerard Schroeder, then National President of A-Phi-O USA, honored us with his presence and participation.
To serve for a period of two years, 1993-1994, our first set of National Officers were elected, and subsequently inducted into office in a dinner-dance reception that followed that evening.
Thereafter, semi-annual Council Board Meetings were scheduled and conducted, as follows:
Apr 03, 1993 - Houston, Texas
Sep 04, 1993 - San Francisco, California
Apr 09, 1994 - Toronto, Canada
Sep 03, 1994 - Chicago, Illinois
Holding these meetings ‘on location’ has certainly brought The Council to the hearts and minds of our members and our families. These meetings have certainly provided many different kinds of excitement and fanfare. It provided a common ground for us to work together and learn more about each other -- often a difficult and many times frustrating experience that requires much tolerance and maturity -- a very basic and necessary element required for organizational and inter-personal growth.
Our second Biennial Convention was held in Chicago on September 2-5, 1994. It was a Convention that will be long remembered and will require a chapter of its own in the annals of our past. Not so much for the superb hosting that the Midwest-Chicago Alumni Association had to offer and delivered but more so because of the melodramatic moments that had come to pass... the apparently underlying ‘politicking’, and its subsequent aftermath. Perhaps, it was something that had to be. Perhaps, upon reflection, could it be just a part of a culture of a people and a deeply divided nation that we came from?
In the long run, however, when all is said and done, it will have been noted that the Alpha Phi Omega will have prevailed.... By then, together with our families and friends, we will have developed our values - founded on Integrity, Teamwork, Mutual Respect, and Personal Accountability! By then, we will have created our personality and defined our culture. Collectively, we will have fostered our growth - not so much for what we are but for what we stand for!
[With fond memories, please join me in remembering our 1994 Chicago Convention Chairman Brother Joel E. Gannaban, Jr., MD, who passed away on April 4, 1995 of a heart attack at the age of 52. He is survived by his beloved wife Cristela, and four children, namely: Joseph, Jennifer, Melissa, and James, then 21, 20, 18, and 10 years of age, respectively.]
During this same Convention, upon completion of the necessary requirements for ACNA membership, records will show that three more Associations sought and were granted recognition and acceptance into the fold, namely: the Alpha Phi Omega Alumni Associations of Montreal, Canada; San Diego, California and Seattle, Washington.
To serve for a period of two years, 1995-1996, a new set of officers were elected and inducted into office.
In its infancy, The Council needed much caring and nurturing. Having generated enthusiasm and commitment from our member-associations, it goes without saying that THE COUNCIL - The Alpha Phi Omega Alumni Council of North America - is here to stay.
Obviously, difficulties will arise; problems will surface every now and then; and personalities will clash. Holding on tight and staying focused will, however, take us far beyond . . .
As has always been in every endeavor, there are the unsung heroes. Let us take this and every opportunity possible to make mention of our spouses and our families -- not only have they always been there for us and with us, but seldom do they get the credit and the recognition they deserve!
Although it has conducted Council-sponsored activities, Brother Gil Magno's Presidency, 1995-1996, could be characterized as a period of reflection and soul-searching. Faced with a handful of persistent dissenters which certainly was a distraction, the leadership did hold on tight and maintained its focus.
ACNA’s relationship with APO-Philippines was yet unclear and had no easy answers. Differences in opinion from the time of its inception, was always forthcoming. As years gone by, we have seen these ideas and opinions evolve and transform.
It is fair to say, however, that this leadership paved the way for the National Executive Board of the Alpha Phi Omega Philippines, to recognize ACNA as the sole governing body for APO Phil Alumni Associations in this part of the world.
ACNA meetings were conducted semi-annually ‘on location’, as follows:
Mar 25, 1995 - Los Angeles, CA
Aug 15, 1995 - Montreal, Canada
Feb 17, 1996 - New York, NY
Aug 31, 1996 - Los Angeles, CA
On a more personal note, we can be sure that being an Alpha Phi Omega is an on-going process and a never-ending one. We are adaptive to change and responsive to the signs of the times.
As it should, We, The Council, will continue to unfold - responsive to our needs - in an unending evolution of time.
The same vision and foundation laid down to us by our Founding Fathers on December 16, 1925, we shall continue to build from and will ever be our guiding light. It will give us warmth in the winter years of our lives. It will keep us together and take us far beyond! In a display of unity, understanding and tolerance - with our heads held high - we shall continue to form and be a part of that endless circle of fellowship . . . We shall continue to sing the same old song – unashamed, ever-striving to be true to self and to each other - our song of loyalty, respect, dedication, love and brotherhood - our toast song.
Yes, indeed! The Council, The Alumni Council of North America unfolds and will continue to unfold . . . and will continue its endless effort to seek its own perfection.
[As time goes by, some of us - members, family and friends - will have come and gone, quietly and unnoticed at times. Notably, many personalities and characters from our respective Associations deserve our grateful thanks and sincere appreciation. They have made a difference and re-directed the lives of others. They worked hard and sacrificed much - without counting the cost.]
Briefly, the 3rd Biennial ACNA Convention was held in Los Angeles, California on Aug. 30 to Sept. 2, 1996. Brother Cesar Andal, MD, from Northern California was elected President for 1997 to 1998. But on April 1997, tragic as it was, Brother Cesar’s term of office was cut short with his early demise. He left behind his bereaved wife Lucy, his three children, and friends; not to mention the unfinished business of his ACNA Presidency. Brother Dony Rondilla of APOGLA, then 1st Vice-President, ably succeeded and completed his term of office.
Semi-annual Council Board meetings for 1997-1998 were held, as follow:
Mar 01, 1997 - San Diego, California
Aug 30, 1997 - San Francisco, California
Apr 04, 1998 - West Palm Beach, Florida
Sep 04, 1998 - Seattle, Washington
ACNA held its 4th Biennial Convention in Seattle, Washington on Sept 4-7, 1998, where a new President comes to light. Brother Eugene Licauco, coming from, then, the most recently recognized member-association of ACNA, the Silicon Valley and the Bay Area Alumni Association, was elected President for the next two years 1999-2000. His 1st Council Board Meeting was held on March 26, 1999 in Chicago, IL.
On a subsequent Board Meeting on Sept. 4, 1999 in Glendale, California, we celebrated and welcomed another new member-association under the ACNA umbrella, the Alumni Association of Vancouver, Canada.
In wisdom, may we all realize that we bear a greater share of responsibility in enhancing a positive image of ourselves as an ‘institution’ of Alpha Phi Omega. A responsibility we fall short at times. In our efforts, may we continue to create channels and be an inspiration to quality college men and women in all colleges and universities throughout the Philippines and throughout the world. They are our future - our link to the future. With our actions, let us show them what the Alpha Phi Omega is, and what it is not!
Leaders that we all are, it is imperative that we always exert every effort to create and maintain a proper atmosphere for leadership.
Together with our Spouses and our families, let us continue to support our respective Alumni Associations while developing and strengthening the core of our values.
Once again, may these always be our foundation of ethics: Integrity, Teamwork, Mutual Respect and Personal Accountability!
With our elected officers and the support of every member-association, ACNA will take care of itself.
Finally, let us gather all our resources and be a positive force in a Council we can call our own. Let us all take an active part in a movement that is worldwide, indeed!