Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Future of Kentucky Mental Health Counselors Association (KMHCA) – A New Beginning

Notes from the South Central Kentucky Mental Health Counselors Association Meeting (SCKMHCA) – Lake Cumberland State Park April 18th, 2013

Facilitated by John LaRusch

Members of KMHCA and KCA officials were invited to attend the meeting to discuss the next phase of KMHCA.
John started the meeting by encouraging those attending to identify the positives which the past year had brought about for the profession. Attending counselors reported that regional organizations had been strengthened with most regions developing a complete training conference for the spring of 2013. Also, they indicated that counselors and KMHCA leaders had been networking with each other more.
Next on the agenda, the members were asked to describe the benefits of continuing KMHCA. The following were reported:
1. Professional/Personal Support.
2. Networking
3. Credibility in the community related to state and national affiliation.
4. Connection to national leadership through AMHCA – By-laws and ethics information.
5. Shared experiences – Firsthand experience with other counselors.
6. CEUs available at little or no cost.
The current president, Michael Cornwall will be stepping down April 30th and there are currently no officers serving KMHCA and none have been identified for the coming year.
Karen Cook, Executive Director of Kentucky Counseling Association (KCA) and Susan Patterson, President of KCA, were present representing KCA. John informed the group that all monies for KMHCA were being transferred to KCA as KMHCA is an affiliate of KCA and the organization is currently not functional. The amount of money to be transferred was not indicated. John indicated that the money could be transferred back to KMHCA at a later date should the organization become functional.
John indicated that the KMHCA Blog will be in operation until the current agreement is completed. It may be reinstituted at a later date and currently comments can be posted by calling Michael Cornwall.
John distributed a form to be completed by those attending asking for volunteers to help with reorganizing KMHCA. John stressed that those volunteering should be prepared to offer their time and energy for all projects indicated as it will be important to have everyone enthusiastically involved and ready to work to restart and improve this important organization.
KCA leaders will work with the current KMHCA leaders including regional presidents to determine how KMHCA officers will be chosen for the coming year.
Karen Cook suggested that KMHCA members interested in becoming state level leaders could attend this year’s annual leadership training conducted by KCA in early August.
It was announced that KMHCA has a board which includes the presidents of all regional groups. The board was inactive during the past year.
One member suggested that the KMHCA mission statement should be reworked to describe the purpose of the organization and other members agreed. The current problem is that the by-laws and mission statement for KMHCA cannot be located. WKMHCA used the KMHCA by-laws and mission statement to develop their own documents and this may be a method of retrieving the KMHCA documents.
John LaRusch indicated that he has offered to act as liaison in reorganizing KMHCA, but that he would not seek and would not accept the office of president.
Those with questions or suggestions my reach John LaRusch at jlarusch@gmail.com or Karen Cook at Karen.Cook.KCA@gmail.com. Ms. Cook’s phone number is 606-685-6009.
In relation to WKMHCA and this information, Karen Cook reported that she does not have a current slate of officers for our group. I am sure this has been forwarded to the current leaders because I personally sent a copy myself at one time. Karen and I discussed the confusion about our organizational make-up and I referred her to the current officers of WKMHCA, specifically Amy Washington, our current president. There is some confusion about the counties making up the western region and Ms. Cook mentioned that it might be advisable to consider combining and renaming Regions 1 and 2 since they both include counties currently being served by WKMHCA.
I shared with the group attending this meeting some of the positive approaches we have instituted in W. Ky. including working to include younger counselors in planning and leadership positions. It was suggested that W. Ky. Counselors might be of help to KMHCA by sharing these examples of activities directed at building membership and including counseling students and younger counselors in WKMHCA. I suggested that we might work with Dr. Samir Patel of Murray State University in initiating these activities as he is currently president of Kentucky Association for Counselor Education and Supervision.
Everyone in attendance agreed that this has been a very difficult year for KMHCA and its affiliates, but the group attending the Lake Cumberland meeting gained support for making the efforts needed to reorganize and strengthen this important organization.