2017 has been a stressful year, but the world of associations has plenty to appreciate as the year comes to a close.
As 2017 comes to a close, one thing is certain: America is stressed out. And we’re not just talking about standard-issue holiday stress, or work stress, or financial stress. According to the American Psychological Association’s recent annual report on stress in the U.S., almost two-thirds of Americans are seriously concerned about the future of the nation, and nearly six in 10 say they consider this the lowest point in our history that they can remember. But I’m not here to bum you out. Quite the contrary. You may be ready to put 2017 in your rear-view mirror, but it’s worth remembering that the association community did some pretty amazing things in the past 12 months. And they’re worth celebrating as we head into a new year. Consider just this small sampling:
Disaster assistance. Coordinated by the American Radio Relay League at the request of the Red Cross, dozens of ham radio operators traveled to Puerto Rico to assist with relief efforts after Hurricane Maria. They helped shore up communications that were critical to getting help to places where it was needed most.
Opioid crisis. Amid a ballooning epidemic of opioid abuse, coalitions of healthcare groups worked together to raise awareness and ensure the drugs are prescribed properly. And associations of government officials addressing the problem showed that bipartisanship is still possible and productive, even in today’s divisive political climate.
Cybersecurity. Only 11 percent of cybersecurity jobs are held by women. The Girl Scouts of the USA partnered this year with a tech firm to develop a series of cybersecurity badges, which scouts will begin earning next year. GSUSA may be laying the groundwork for a future surge of diversity in the cybersecurity field. Mission-driven associations are making the world stronger, safer, and better all the time, even when it seems we’re surrounded by intractable problems and insurmountable conflict. So cheers to you, association professionals, and keep the good news coming in 2018. We’ll keep telling your stories.