“Wow! An Upgrade!”

Jacque Sell
Jacque Sell

“Wow! An upgrade!”

That was the exclamation of amazement and excitement when my 8-year-old nephew saw my wall unit set up in a new apartment. I love the joy in his perception of the change—I wouldn’t describe it as an upgrade. I downsized by about 200 square feet and one bedroom, so the wall unit that was in separate pieces in my previous apartment (TV unit in the living room, two bookshelves in the office and a corner unit in the bedroom) are now next to each other covering almost an entire wall in the living room of my new apartment. I keep his excitement and perspective in mind often as I’m finding a place to store things, discovering there are things I don’t really need or want anymore, saying good-bye to long-time “friends” that bring comfort because I know them well, but I don’t really use any more, and generally adapting to the CHANGE of my move.

As I reflect on the past year for CAAEYC, my thoughts are often, “WOW! An upgrade!” A year ago, September 15, 2017, we made the final step into a new structure transition with NAEYC. In some ways it seems like we downsized, in others we see opportunities for growth, however, we are still adapting the changes of our transition, discovering items, beliefs and processes that we don’t need or don’t work for their intended purpose anymore. We are creating new processes, beliefs, items and relationships as we move forward in our new structure.

Hopefully for most of our members you have seen the upgrades of our transition, without a blaring disruption to services you receive or unanswered questions about membership and benefits. I am proud and excited to say that in the year since our transition, our membership has increased by 40%. Welcome to our new members! Thank you to members who shared the excitement and benefit of CAAEYC membership, encouraging others to join. In the past year, CAAEYC has seen a level of membership growth we haven’t experienced in the past 10 years or longer. I hope we keep growing and sharing the value of our professional association with even more individuals involved in the learning and care of young children.

There have been many upgrades with our transition:

  • Our acronym has changed to CAAEYC—an opportunity to distinguish ourselves as California AEYC, not to be confused Colorado AEYC or Connecticut AEYC or many other local affiliates
  • We have a new logo—and it is beautiful and really helps our recognition as a statewide organization—representing California
  • Many of the local affiliates in California have restructured to become a Chapter of CAAEYC rather than a direct affiliate of NAEYC—I think the governing boards for the chapters will definitely agree that this is an upgrade! As a chapter, the CAAEYC governing board and staff are able to support their administrative tasks, so their volunteer time can focus on the fun stuff—member services! I’d like to think this shift that allows greater local focus and attention for our members is a strong reason for membership growth
  • Chapters are designed and identified to provide the best member services to all CAAEYC members with a specific focus on local needs and interests. You may have noticed the name of your local group has changed, or the service area for your membership is slightly different, perhaps you have experienced greater outreach to your community. This process was completed carefully with discussions among local leaders to make sure that the service area made sense based on local trends and resource availability, commute patterns and local culture—again another focus that has hopefully contributed to our growth
  • Among the many other changes, by now you should be aware that the membership fees have changed as well. With the new structure process, NAEYC took into consideration a reasonable price point for those working in early care and education environments and made the membership fees more reasonable and your membership level can better match your needs and use of benefits. An exciting component of the membership changes that CAAEYC will start promoting and developing more is FAMILY membership!

These are a few of the major changes you may have noticed in the past year as we are upgrading our organization and member services. I hope you are enjoying your membership and others are seeing its value through you and joining as well. Please reach out and get involved in your professional organization—contact the leaders of your local chapter, attend a board meeting or volunteer for an event, make yourself visible and contribute to continued upgrades for CAAEYC. You can also reach me and the staff at info@caeyc.org.