This will serve as a shortened summary of today's meeting. I know many people who could not attend have been asking for a wrap up. I'll post a more detailed accounting of the day with much greater specificity sometime tomorrow or the next day.
First off thanks to everybody that was able to make it today. It was really something special to see that many people interested in helping to make LARS bigger and better. In all there were a little more than 50 people who turned up. So to all of you, a big thanks. So for the wrap up, cliff-notes version.
If you don't know already there is a great deal of time and energy spent keeping LARS running. Everything from meeting with the Galaxy, to making banners, to making and selling merchandise to name just a few. Most of that work falls onto the shoulders of a couple of individuals over the course of a season. It can be very tiring, stressful and taxing to one's personal and professional life. We set out today to create a greater diversification of the workload. The idea being that we need a lot of people doing a little bit of work. Not the opposite, a few people doing a lot of work.
An initial idea behind LARS has always been that being a supporter should be free from memberships and dues. LARS has always been that way and will continue to be that way. If your level of participating in LARS is showing up and enjoying the party and game without chipping in that is great. Continue to do that, nothing we are doing will prevent your opportunity to come out and enjoy the atmosphere, event and camaraderie. However if you want to get more involved and want to help LARS on to bigger and better things we now have a number of new mechanisms in place.
Beginning today we have established the framework for a non-profit 501.c3 organization that will be the engine that runs the Squad. Membership in the non-profit "Trust" carries an annual membership/donation of $25. The membership will entitle you to voting rights in elections to select 9 chairpersons (descriptions below) who will oversee a variety of LARS specific duties and jobs. In addition to voting rights you will be granted candidacy eligibility for the 9 chairmanships, assuming that you are also a season ticket holder. Finally we will include a number of perks throughout the year for free to paid members, the specific details of each to be laid out in the coming weeks. I'm happy to say that with just over 50 people at today's meeting we had 54 people commit to LARS and purchase a membership in the newly formed "Trust."
I want to stress that everything about LARS is still free and in fact nothing is required or expected of anyone unless they so choose to volunteer. What we have now is a structure in place to spread the workload out among a much larger pool of people which will allow each and everything to be done more quickly and with a greater level of commitment and detail.
The 9 positions created, brief descriptions of each and the individuals elected to those positions at today's meeting are below. In addition to their specific duties each of the 9 chairpersons will be responsible for identifying and recruiting more LARS to assist them. This will work best when have 3,4-10 people helping out in each department. Larger matters of LARS business will be discussed and decided on by the 9 person panel at meetings or conferences as they require.
LARS Liaison - Chris Tucker - 1
He will be charged with communications between LARS and the Galaxy FO, HDC staff, MLS staff etc.
Treasurer - James Demastus - 1
Rather self explanatory, but he will also assist in the filings required to establish our charitable contribution status with the state of California.
Merchandise Chair - Jaime Cornejo - 1
Oversees all things merch. From design and creation to vendor contracts and sales at LARS events.
Community Outreach/Charity - Kevin Fitzsimmons - 3
Will look to expand the reach of LARS by creating charitable events for the Squad to participate in.
Viewing Parties/Events - Jay Baum - 2
Organizes and schedules viewing parties for the Squad with an emphasis on geographic variety and harnessing the buying power the group wields by setting up special pricing at those events.
Travel & Picnic Chair - Joaquin Gaitan - 3
Oversees the set up and break down of the picnic area. Works to establish relationships with hotels, airlines and other MLS teams in an effort to simplify away travel.
Tifo - Ed Rodriguez - 2
Plans, creates and executes tifo and banners throughout the year.
Capo/Game Day Chairperson - Andrew Alesana - 2
Works with the Galaxy and HDC to further improve the game day atmosphere while striving to increase the scale and complexity of allowable displays and/or activities.
Recruiting Chair - Victor Montes - 3
Puts asses in seats! Victor is probably the single most friendly person in the Squad. He'll be looking to attract new members both at the HDC and any of our other events.
Each of these chairs need your help. If you have a skill that we can use, please contact the appropriate chairperson. Anyone and everyone is free to volunteer their time and services to any and all of the positions above, paid members or not.
Reading the descriptions you can see where there are a number of overlaps built in and the chairpersons will be working hand in hand on a number of projects. In addition, a primary task of the chairpersons' will be to establish the non-profit status of the "Trust."
Elections will be held every year (likely December), with only 3 of the 9 positions turning over at a time so that we may maintain some consistency and strive to our goals as a group. Each of the chairpersons' current term length follows their names above. We will also have parameters in place to remove a chairperson should the need arise. The initial goals that we have set forth are;
Year 1 Goals
Establish and complete the filings for the new non-profit.
Donate a minimum of $5,000 to charities
Year 3 Goals
Double the paid membership in the "Trust"
Double LARS season ticket holders (based on opening day 2013 total)
Donate a minimum of $10,000 to charities.
Year 5 Goals
LARS season tickets extend to the players' tunnel (section 140)
Have charitable donations exceed those of years 1-4 combined.
It's a lot to take in and that is why I'm calling this a brief summary. I will take the time in the coming days to provide more exact details. We also recorded audio of the meeting and will provide that to those who ask.
The bottom line is that somebody who wants to be in LARS is in LARS. Nothing more is asked or expected of them, but if they want to help make things bigger, better or different we now have the mechanisms in place.
If you want to get more involved with any of the specific chairpersons' jobs please contact them directly.
Finally, super big thanks to the Stay Gallery in Downey for providing us a great spot to hold the meeting and to everyone who took time out of their days to come down and get involved.
Personally speaking, I am really excited about our new plans and goals moving forward.