Above: Participants at the 2019 Joint Service Academy Alumni Executive Conference.
Article and Photos by 25366 Anna-Michelle Shewfelt
Every year, the various service academies in North America send members of their alumni associations’ executives to the Joint Service Academy Alumni Executives Conference (JSAAEC) to discuss common challenges and (hopefully) find common solutions. The host of this conference rotates between the different academies each year and this year was RMC’s turn. Planning commenced in January and the Conference did not disappoint!
Wednesday June 5, 2019, saw representatives from the West Point Association of Graduates, U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association, U.S. Coast Guard Academy Alumni Association, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy Alumni Association & Foundation, U.S. Air Force Academy Association of Graduates, the U.S. Air Force Academy Endowment, and the United States Naval Academy Foundation (and of course the RMC Club and RMC Foundation) gather at the Coggins Club in the Senior Staff Mess for an informal reception. This was followed Thursday by a day of intense discussion on the challenges and opportunities all the organizations face. A sunset dinner cruise out of Kingston Harbor capped off the Conference before breakfast and departure the next morning.
18777 BGen Sébastien Bouchard, Commandant of RMC, set the tone for the Conference at the reception Wednesday evening when he observed that, although we come from two different countries, those present have much in common. “RMC is closer to the American model of service academy than it is to the European,” he explained. “We speak the same language here. Together we can find solutions to the challenges we face, and better solutions at that!”
As 16442 Bill Griffis, Executive Director of the RMC Club, explained, “There’s obviously a difference in scale between these academies and between the alumni organizations. Some of us have a handful of staff. Others have dozens. But we all deal with the same questions. How do we reach our alumni more effectively? How do we reach their families? How do we get them involved? How do we keep them involved? That’s what Thursday’s discussions have been all about.”
For Nancy Marr, Executive Vice President of the RMC Foundation, it’s that collaboration that makes JSAAEC so worthwhile: “The 43rd Annual JSAAEC Conference was another huge success. On behalf of the Royal Military Colleges Foundation Board of Directors and Staff we would like to thank our US Partners for once again sharing their wealth of knowledge and ideas with the RMC Club and RMC Foundation. We look forward to seeing you at the Coast Guard Academy in 2020!”
Photos from the Conference
Wednesday Evening Reception
Thursday Discussion Groups & Lunch
Thursday Team-Building Game
Thursday Sunset Dinner Cruise