Greetings from the President:
Let me start by stating what an honor it is to serve as the President of INAF for 2017. The past six years on the Board have flown by. I have been inspired by all the previous Presidents I have had the pleasure to serve under. Each of you have shown me a different perspective for the position I have now accepted. My hope is to fulfill the position with the utmost respect and complete all the responsibilities entrusted to me this year.
Having served over the past thirty years either as a 4-H Leader or Fair Board member at the local level, I feel as if my experiences will help me when leading this organization. If you missed Steve Zellers presentation at the Sunday breakfast, you definitely missed out on an awesome presentation. He spoke on the theme of “change” and how we must be ready to embrace it. This is true as we move forward in this organization. Our focus must be looking toward the future generations that will be leading us one day. We must have open ears and be willing to adapt to whatever is coming our way. Because of this, I have appointed a committee to look over the by-laws and PPM’s to make sure they are ready for the future. I assure you that this committee will look at each one to make sure they are worded appropriately and are easily interpreted.
One noticeable change this past year was including the Indiana State Festivals Association at our convention for the second year. We are excited to include them as partners and participants at our convention.
Another change from the past two conventions was the Carnival-Showcase night. The majority seems to really like the idea, but, they wanted it to be on Friday instead of Saturday. We listened to your concerns and plan on moving it for the 2018 convention to Friday night.
One of the major changes for 2017 will be having Kim Roberts as our treasurer. We are so fortunate to have someone like her to assume this vital position. Of course, how would you ever replace Margaret Boilanger? The answer is you do not! We will not let Margaret get away! She has so much knowledge about this organization that we will continue to utilize her expertise in the future. She cannot get away from us that easily! It was Margaret who pushed me to get involved with this organization in the beginning. Her confidence in me meant more than she will ever know. This organization owes her such a debt of gratitude for her service to us. She has only missed ONE meeting in all the years she has served. That is dedication at its finest.
Besides Margaret, I have had the pleasure of working with so many great individuals on this Board. I must recognize Steve Patterson for all the work he does for this organization. He is the grease that keeps the gears moving smoothly! He is constantly working behind the scenes to make sure everything is completed. I personally want to thank Steve for all he does. He does not get credit as much as he should.
My actual involvement with the fairs began when my children participated in the 4-H program. I became the 4-H Beef Leader which I held for ten years. During that time, I also became a member of the Fair Board. Altogether, I have been involved for over thirty years. It is a pleasure to represent Monroe County on this Board. Over the years, I served as secretary and as First Vice President. Chairing and serving on many committees gave me a wide range of knowledge when it came to running the county fair. Being on a Board of seventy-five members was a challenge in itself!
I have been a public school teacher for the past 43 years. Having taught in all the grades 4-8, has been a real challenge. To be a successful teacher, one must demonstrate a true love for children and a desire to work with the public. This is also true when working with the 4-H programs and the county fairs. Needless to say, the rewards outnumber the many frustrations one encounters. I have said as long as I love working with the kids, I will continue to work! However, I do plan on retiring in three years!
My wife Kathy and I live in Bloomington. We have been married 46 years and have four children. Two of them are married, and we have seven grandchildren. Two of them, the twins, are completing their tenth year in 4-H.
In my spare time, I continue to farm. At one time, we crop farmed over 500 acres, raised cattle and I taught full time. Now, I just work for a good friend in the summers when I am not in school. I still get to do what I love and now I do it without the headaches! I am so thankful I had the privilege to raise all my children on the farm! It is my belief that part of their successes today came from being taught that responsibility and hard work is a must in order to succeed. I also have the pleasure of working for Indiana University athletic events. My job is to supervise ushers for men’s basketball and football. How sweet is it to get paid to watch the sports you love? The biggest reward though, is all the people you meet at the events and the long term relationships which evolve.
Because each of the fairs and festivals are so different in size, finances, and needs; we need each of you to let us know how we can be of service to you. Our Association and the Board is only as good as its individual members. No concern is either too large or too small for us to help. We do not want to be just a convention for you. Our role is to be there if you need us. I urge each of you to contact anyone on the Board if you have a concern or need. We have just gotten a company to help us with our webpage. We are aware that in the past it has not been as good as it should be. When this is completed in the next few months, please let us know how you like it and if it is user friendly. The nice part is it will get our information out to everyone, not just the President and Secretary of your fairs.
Being from District IV, I am proud of the District meetings we have every year in the fall. I know it is really hard to get these organized and attended. In 2017, it is my desire to see every District have at least one meeting. It is a great time to discuss successes and failures of each county fair. This is also a prime time to hold an education session.
As a final thought, I think about the slogan at our county fair which states “Where Friends Meet Friends”. This is actually what our fairs and festivals are about. We are there to create a positive creative atmosphere because we are there to serve the general public. We are not there for a specific group or agenda. Being able to turn the other cheek when someone reads you the riot act or having a smile when everything seems to be against you is a must. As in teaching, you must enjoy what you are doing, or you would not be there. I hope this is the same for every Fair Board member.
My goal is to visit as many fairs and festivals as possible in 2017. I hope each of you have a very successful 2017 fair or festival. The 98th INAF Convention will be held on January 3-5, 2018.
David L. Smith