The IN Program Rocks!

Are you offering your new players the best service possible?

In 1984 Edith McMullin, the creator of the Easybridge! Program, introduced her Intermediate-Newcomer Program (IN Program) at the Summer NABCs. It was an instant success with our newer players and has continued to play to large crowds three times a year at the NABCs ever since.

The IN Program is a ten-point program designed to welcome new players into the tournament environment and to make them comfortable and eager for more. There is an element of fun and family that helps to add to the excitement.

Here are the ten essential ingredients of any IN Program:

  • Games for 0-5, 0-20, 0-49er, 0-99er, 0-199er, & 0-299er players each session.
  • Trophies for each overall win in a newcomer event.
  • A special area or room for the Intermediate-Newcomer games.
  • Directors who are experienced in working with newcomers.
  • A Celebrity Speaker Program.
  • Social Events.
  • Pictures of the Winners.
  • Flyers to invite the players and guarantee partners.
  • Newcomer hand records with analysis sheets (0-5 and 0-20).
  • New Player Services Committee – to greet players and answer questions.

Every time your unit or district runs a sectional or regional tournament, you increase your success factor by adding an IN Program and promoting it vigorously through your local teachers.

You can obtain a planning guide to show you the steps in organizing an IN tournament (or IN program) here.

You can also get valuable information on working with new players in the IN Coordinator Handbook here.

Build your unit, club and district by helping new players become a part of your bridge family. The rewards are endless.

Youth Stipend Program for Units and Districts

The Foundation for the Preservation and Advancement of Bridge (FPAB), a non-profit organization established in part to inspire young bridge players and support their participation in bridge through scholarships and grants, has been asked to establish restricted funds for units and districts that are looking for a mechanism to raise charitable donations to support their youth efforts.

Read here about the steps necessary for a unit/district to request the FPAB create a restricted fund on their behalf to hold and disburse the funds they generate and how the fund must be administered by the unit/district to meet federal non-profit regulations. Also included in the document is a suggested method for raising such funds to support your youth efforts.

No unit/district is required to ask that a restricted fund be created. No unit/district is required to start a youth program or support youth efforts. This is simply a vehicle that may be used by units/districts where there is interest in supporting youth bridge through charitable donations.

In several districts, duplicate clubs are running many special games, for the most part charity games, every month. For every charity game run with the proceeds going to the ACBL Charity Foundation or CBF Charitable Fund, a club is allowed to run a second charity game with the proceeds going to a charity of their choosing. If a unit/district chooses to establish a restricted fund with the FPAB, they could suggest their area clubs donate some of the money raised to this fund, with the proceeds supporting local youth programs. In addition, donations from individuals enjoy the tax benefit for charitable donations. For inquiries email: tracey.yarbro@acbl.org.

Help Your Unit Run Smoothly

Houston Unit 174 has generously agreed to share their Unit Procedures manual to assist others in their pursuit to get their units better organized.

The manual was developed over the past four years. Bert Onstott, a unit official, says that it really helps new board members understand how things need to be done. It also helps experienced hands remember all the myriad details that have to get done.

The unit is very proud of this document, as well they should be. The dedication and efficiency of the unit members certainly played a major part in the very successful Houston NABC this spring.

The manual is reviewed regularly and updated as needed. Click here to see how your unit could profit from the experiences of Unit 174. Enjoy!

Time to Nominate Your Youth and Junior Ambassadors

In an effort to make Youth Bridge and Junior Bridge as good as it can be, a program to reward outstanding youth members and outstanding junior members for their efforts on behalf of youth and junior bridge has been established. The Youth Ambassadors and the Junior Ambassadors are part of the newly created Youth Division and the updated Junior Division.

Information has been sent on April 1 to teachers with school programs, unit and district presidents and education liaisons asking them to help publicize the Youth Ambassadors and Junior Ambassadors program. Specific criteria for nominating someone follows.

Please note that the number of appointments per district each calendar year will not exceed 10% of the total youth or junior membership for that district. Nominations can come from any ACBL member in good standing over the age of 25 between April 1 and June 1.

All nominations for the Youth Ambassadors and the Junior Ambassadors must be approved by the respective District Director and then forwarded to the Education Department (education@acbl.org) for confirmation. Appointments will be made each year at the summer NABC (either at the Junior Reception or during the Youth NABC).

Profile of an ACBL Youth Ambassador:

  • Must be under 20 years of age
  • Must be an ACBL member in good standing for over one year
  • Must be willing to support promotional efforts to advertise and promote the ACBL Junior Division and the ACBL Youth Division
  • Must be approved by their District Director

Criteria to be considered for nomination:

  • Encouraging and supportive of youth activities
  • Inspires younger players
  • Mentors other youth players
  • Participates in ACBL sanctioned events
  • Works within their community to expand awareness of bridge
  • Creates learning opportunities in their school or community
  • Assists adult teachers in bridge classes and camps
  • Displays ethical behavior and good sportsmanship

Profile of an ACBL Junior Ambassador:

  • Must be 20 to 25 years of age
  • Must be an ACBL member in good standing for over one year
  • Must be willing to support promotional efforts to advertise and promote the ACBL Junior Division and the ACBL Youth Division
  • Must be approved by their District Director

Criteria to be considered for nomination; junior player should exhibit many of these traits:

  • Encouraging and supportive of youth activities
  • Inspires younger players
  • Mentors other youth players
  • Participates in ACBL sanctioned events
  • Works within their community to expand awareness of bridge
  • Creates learning opportunities in their school or community
  • Assists adult teachers in bridge classes and camps
  • Displays ethical behavior and good sportsmanship

Fantastic Newcomer Promotional Program

At the 2008 Spring NABC in Detroit, the IN Committee created and implemented a program to recruit new duplicate players that was amazingly successful. Perhaps your unit or district would be interested in giving it a try. Read More…

Building Better Boards

Today’s world is one that requires adherence with laws pertaining to non-profit boards of directors. Are your board policies up to date? Take advantage of our Board of Directors Documents, including sample bylaws and minutes and the Board Meeting Rescue Kit. Thank you to the efforts Board of Governors Chair Linda Mamula and ACBL administrator Jim Miller in preparing these materials. Questions? Contact Jim Miller.

IRS Filing Requirements

Starting with the tax year 2007, all tax exempt organizations will have to report to the IRS. Please read the Pension Protection Act document to review how it applies to you.

Privacy Issues

Privacy issues are becoming an increasingly complex issue. One member recently asked us to use his member number as his name so his name would not appear on recap sheets! Federal law is clear that you may not publish private information about a person (name, phone, address, e-mail address) without that person’s permission. Unit 144 in Memphis, for example, provides members with an update form for the annual unit directory.

Wonder What You Should Be Doing?

If you are a new volunteer, the ACBL has a series of handbooks available for free download to help you perform the duties of your job. Click here and look at the right under Handbooks to see what’s available. The Handbook for Unit Presidents offers mini-job descriptions for all of the “requested” unit positions. Handbooks can be used as a guide for district positions as well.

Tournament Publicity

All Colors, One Price!

An ad in the Bridge Bulletin magazine remains your best way to advertise tournament information to all members. The ads then are posted automatically to your tournament listing on the ACBL web site. All tournament advertising is the same rate regardless of how many colors you use. For example, a half-page ad is only $910 whether it is one, two or four colors. Click here for all publicity guidelines.