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WGPO Board of Directors Meeting Minutes – January 2, 2022

Call to Order: President Steve Pellinen called the meeting to order at 6:30 pm CST.

AttendingSteve Pellinen, Keith Hagel, Jan Cardia, Helen Flores, Will Anderson, Laurie Cohen, Bennett Jacobstein, Mike Johnson, Lynda Finn

1. Word Cup Report and Discussion: Mike Johnson and Lynda Finn, Word Cup 22 Directors

Lynda and Mike recommended that the Board allocate substantial “eye-popping” prize fund amounts from the Shreve donation for the 2022 Word Cup. Directors discussed amounts for top prizes in Division 1 and Collins. Members considered various funding approaches, including a possible Youth prize to be awarded for the best performance by a player under a certain age. Directors agreed to establish generous Shreve prize funding amounts in all divisions. Final funding decisions will depend on number of players in each division.

NOTE: The Word Cup flyer will reveal specific funding amount figures approved (anticipated announcement by January 31, 2022).

Action: The Board unanimously agreed to allocate at least $ ___ of the Shreve donation to the 2022 Word Cup and to provide a minimum award of $ _____ to each first place winner in Division 1 TWL and in the Collins division. (Motion: Helen Flores/Bennett Jacobstein).

Mike and Lynda summarized discussions with leaders of the Collins Coalition (CoCo) to brand and advertise the event in cooperation with WGPO.

Action: The Board unanimously agreed to WGPO/CoCo collaboration for Word Cup 2022. (Motion: Bennett Jacobstein, Steve Pellinen).

Action: The Board voted to apply the WESPA rating system and rules to Collins play at the Word Cup (Motion: Helen Flores/Steve Pellinen).

2. Shreve donation allocations for 2022: tournaments, schools, clubs and other.

Tournaments: Bennett and Will plan to meet to discuss tournaments and tour ideas, including future regional WGPO events. Bennett submitted a map identifying four North American regions to be considered for significant WGPO future tournaments. Board members noted current concerns about COVID infection rates which may discourage tournament organization and participation.

School Scrabble: Members discussed School Scrabble status nationwide. Will offered background information. NASPA is no longer associated with the project, and Hasbro previously delegated the project to a contractor, MSI. Board members – Jan, Keith, and Bennett – will contact key individuals with School Scrabble interest for background, suggestions, and ideas to promote and revitalize interest in School Scrabble.

Clubs and SuperScrabble: During the Annual meeting, the Board was asked if any of the Shreve donation might be allocated to SuperScrabble. The request came from a SuperScrabble Club member. During discussion, Board members noted that WGPO has not previously allocated WGPO funds to local clubs or club events.

Board members discussed the importance of Scrabble clubs to encourage players at all levels, to increase membership and promote the game. Attention to clubs may be an area for the Communication/Outreach/Public Relations Committee.

The Board determined that our organization is not currently in a position to consider adding SuperScrabble activities to its responsibilities at this time.

3. COVID update – Bennett Jacobstein, as Tournament Committee Chair, will be taking the lead on COVID issues. Word Cup Directors, Lynda Finn and Mike Johnson stayed for this agenda item. Members discussed requests for exceptions to the most current WGPO tournament recommendations regarding COVID precautions. Key policies are:

  • Players must be fully vaccinated including boosters. Note that individuals are ineligible to receive boosters depending on the date of last vaccination – and in some cases depending on the vaccine brand received. Bennett will draft language explaining the booster exception. 
    The Board did not approve a request to waive the booster requirement from an individual claiming that having been infected by COVID provided antibodies against the virus.
  • Players must wear masks indoors. Exceptions in private homes and outdoors are noted in the policy.

Bennett asked the Board if the policy should require COVID testing if/when individuals are ineligible for boosters. No, the Board declined to require testing.

Mike Johnson noted, and the Board concurred, that Directors may establish more stringent tournament requirements than those in WGPO’s policy.

4. Committees and delegation of committee duties:

  • Finance Committee: Jan as Treasurer chairs this committee. Laurie Cohen also serves on this committee.
  • Fundraising Committee: Helen Flores will continue to chair this committee.
  • Communications/Outreach/Public Relations:  Chair needed. Helen Flores volunteered to be a member of this committee.
  • Legal/Governance: Steve Pellinen and Keith Hagel
  • Tournament/Ratings Committee: Bennett Jacobstein and Mike Johnson
  • Rules: Jan Cardia agreed to chair this committee. She brings a wealth of experience to this position. Laurie Cohen and Susi Tiekert are also members.
  • Membership: Steve noted that Susi Tiekert expressed an interest in this area. Mike Johnson and Henry are involved in member listings and ratings.
  • Collins: Winter and Mike Johnson
  • Lexicon Committee: Jim Sherrill
  • Elections Committee: Lynda Finn and Winter
  • Youth Scrabble – ?? Bennett, Keith, and Jan collecting initial information.

5. Insurance – Steve Pellinen reported that he is getting quotes next week for General Liability Insurance and Directors & Officers Insurance. He noted that Insurance companies don’t care how we do our finances, and that eliminates one reason we thought we had to run finances through WGPO Central. He will discuss further with our attorney, Jenn Urban, this week.

6. Finance update – Steve Pellinen submitted a written report and the General Ledger for 2021.

7. Website update – Charles and Thomas Reinke submitted a detailed status report on the Website update, noting progress including:

  • Improved membership system,
  • Visual revamp of the website, and
  • Expanded statistical features.

8. Future Board meeting schedule: Board members agreed on the need to meet monthly. Meetings were scheduled for the first Sunday of the month, at 6:30 pm, CST.

  • Sunday, February 6
  • Sunday, March 6

9. Other: None.

10. Adjourn: The meeting adjourned at 8:53 pm CST (Motion: Helen Flores/Laurie Cohen).

Helen Flores, Secretary