From the Crow's Nest
by Capt. Charlie Phillips
The crow's nest is the highest point on a vessel and used as a lookout point. As the president of Florida Guides Association (FGA) I plan to be on the lookout for hazards as well as opportunities that affect our organization. This column will be used to communicate my observations to you. Please feel free to share our newsletter with any of your friends that may also believe in our mission to protect Florida's fishery resource to the benefit of recreational angling.
I first want to say, THANK YOU!!!!!
I have been honored to hold the helm of the FGA ship over the past year, and am honored to again carry the title of President of the Florida Guides Association for the next 12 months. I thank you for your vote of confidence, for your trust and support. We have come a long ways in a short amount of time, but we still have a lot of room to grow and improve.
This is your association, it’s something I never forget, and never overlook. The FGA is your collective voice and for many of you (myself included), that’s why we are here. As an individual guide, I have a voice of one person, my membership with the Florida Guides Association, multiplies that voice by every other member involved. That’s a very powerful tool in today’s complicated and political world we often find ourselves in. As we continue to grow the FGA in membership size, it increases our voice many times over. The FGA is made up professional working captains and guides and your reputations carry weight in and of themselves, put it all together in an association such as the FGA, and you have a very powerful presence for the future of our profession.
In 2016 we doubled our membership rolls, we went from around 85 guide members to 200. That’s a powerful accomplishment. It’s motivating to me, as it tells me that we are on the right track, we are doing the things that you, the guide members see as beneficial to your business and to our industry. As we move into the coming year, one of the the big challenge we face is keeping that momentum of growth going. Membership growth provides the opportunity for many different parts of this puzzle. Of course the increased voice and presence in the industry is one key point, but it also provides more opportunity for the FGA to bring on new and better corporate members that can offer our members discounts or programs on the items they are already using. This is the key to the circle, attracting new guide members equals attracting more business partners, which brings more guides and it goes on and on and on.
And all that said, while I personally believe in recruiting new members to the FGA and letting more out there know who we are and what we do. It’s the current membership that has been here for the long haul and there is a responsibility to make sure that you, the current guide membership is satisfied with the direction the FGA ship is heading and sees the value of continued membership. If you have an issue, if you have a suggestion I invite and encourage you to contact myself or any of the officers or board member’s to let us know. That’s our job, and that’s what we are here for. We may not have the answer you need, but we will sure have a conversation about it.
We have a few items on the burner this year that I hope will be of interest and benefit to you. The first is the revamping of our Associate Membership program to better serve our recreational anglers that wish to be a part of the FGA. The details are still in the works, but our hope is that by increasing our roles we can add some funding to better serve our members by promoting to the public why it’s important to use a Florida Guides Association Guide for their next trip as we set up the booth at more shows in Florida as well as some outside the Sunshine State.
Another thing we have added recently is a new website where you can go to purchase all your FGA Gear instead of having to wait for the next show or try to track me down when you need a new shirt. Check it out at FGAGEAR.com for all the info.
As we move thru the next 12 months, I want to challenge each guide members to bring one new guide member to the FGA. If we can accomplish that task, imagine where we can be next year. This is our association, and we need your help to continue the upward trend we have seen over the past 12 months.
Again, I sincerely thank you for your trust as I do my best to man the helm of the FGA ship for the next 12 months. Should I be able to assist with anything, please let me know. Stay safe out there.
Capt. Charlie Phillips