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Chapter Outreach Support Services

This will probably be the last time that the letters “DSS” or “District Support Services” will be in use. The name was changed in April of this year to “COSS” or “Chapter Outreach Support Services” to highlight the fact that it is the chapter who will be the focus of the sup-port, not a ‘district’. The new COSS manual is a revision of the old manual that will take this fact into account. It is still a work in progress because the final version will contain information that chapters consider important to them. In other words, the move to change and innovation will be a two-way street with chapters participating in the changes. The ultimate goal is to have chapters prosper with the help of experienced and skilled people who have the ability to solve most common problems at the chapter level.

The only way to resolve issues is to talk about them. Finding solutions to problems is a must, or they will get worse. But, in reality, some chapters are in distress because they have been unable to resolve problems that have been in the making for a long time - for example: declining membership, lack-lustre monthly meetings, ‘tired executive’, few volunteers, no long-term plans.

The answer? Our “COSS” Co-ordinators (formerly the ‘DSS Reps’) must be available to come to the rescue. As you know, in 2012, two Representatives died, one Representative resigned after many years of service, and the ‘Chair” retired. It has been most difficult to find qualified people to volunteer for the vacated positions. We are fortunate that three new people have come forward to take on the challenge.

On November 9, there will be an intensive one-day training seminar in Hamilton to prepare all our COSS volunteers to tackle the challenges of dealing with chapters in need. I am pleased to announce the following new candidates for the position of COSS Co-Ordinator: Angela McGinn, from St. John’s, NL (for the Maritimes); Gerald Dakiniewich, from Saskatoon, SK, (for Western Canada); and Richard Olley, from Oakville, ON. They will be joining John Molnar, from St. Catharines, ON, (South-Eastern Ontario); Jean-Pierre Lapointe, from Montreal, (all of Quebec); and Roger Ivol, from Hamilton, ON (South-Western Ontario) for the one day training and orientation session. These Co-ordinators will be expected to provide resources and services to any chapter in his/her area.

It must be difficult for chapters who ask for help when there is no one there. UOAC is working to re-build the bridges. But we need more volunteers. We’re still looking for two or three new people to serve British Columbia, Northern Ontario and part of the Mari-times.

The Co-ordinators will be contacting you, in due course. But we ask that chapters needing assistance not to wait until a Co-ordinator contacts you. Instead, notify the UOAC office as soon as possible and leave a message for your area Co-ordinator to call you. The sooner you do so, the faster will be the response time.

We are entering new and exciting times. With fresh new ideas, frank and open dialogue, most problems can be solved. We hope that every ‘successful’ chapter will share the secrets of their success with the Co-ordinators, who, in turn, will pass on those ‘secrets’ to other chapters. By working together, we can make lasting change happen.

Submitted by,

Roger Ivol,
COSS Administrator