Minutes of the Fifth International FrontRunner Forum

San Francisco, California

Day One. Saturday. 7 October 1995

Chris N., President of SFFR welcomed the representatives (see Appendix A for list), made some opening remarks, and then let the representatives introduce themselves. John K. (SFFR), as chair of the Forum, then reviewed the agenda that had been mailed out beforehand.

The first presentation was made by Keith M. (SFFR) who gave a brief history of International FrontRunners, and of the preceding Forums. He emphasized that IFR has historically been only a loose affiliation, and that each club has its individual culture. Highlights of the minutes of the previous Forum, held in Washington, D.C. in 1993, were reviewed by Warren S. He pointed out that no logo has been developed since the last Forum, and that there had been poor follow through on the plans for regionalization in maintaining the directory.

The first general discussion focused on communication; the first item discussed was making and maintaining a directory for International FrontRunners. It was decided that one individual should be responsible for making a current directory, that it should exist by the end of the year, and that it needed to be updated and disseminated at least once a year. There was consensus that currently, the biggest use of the directory is to serve as a travel aid for FrontRunners going to other cities. Thus, it was decided that the list should contain at least a contact person, a mail address and a contact phone number for each city. There was less agreement on whether or not a listing of where and when each club had runs was needed on the directory. Andrew R. (Tampa Bay) volunteered to coordinate the directory.

Doug F. (SFFR) then gave a demonstration about the World Wide Web and the Internet, as a suggested means to increase the efficiency of inter- club communication. Doug F. and Brad M. (Long Beach) fielded questions about the Internet and web pages. In the following discussion it was concluded that International FrontRunners should establish a home page; that the IF home page would list all of the known FR clubs, and either include information on how to contact each club or would serve as a link to the home page set up by each club. Doug F. mentioned the West Hollywood service that any club can use to set up a home page for free, and he provided written instructions on how to do so. Brad M. volunteered to help any clubs that need assistance in setting up their own home page. The topic of confidentiality was also addressed. Clubs and individuals vary in how much information (particularly contact names and numbers) they feel should be available on the world wide web. Brad M. volunteered to set up an IF home page and on it maintain a list of the various clubs. A motion was passed, designating Brad M as the person who will design the home page, and for Brad M. and Andrew R. to work on the directory, and send out a hard copy of its contents by December 31. Brad was also given the authority to decide the location of the home page. A letter will go out to all clubs by October 31, requesting what information they want to have on the IF home page. The clubs need to respond to Brad M. by November 30.

A suggestion was made to advance the discussion of diversity and minorities to earlier in the agenda, because some of the attendees were planning to leave early. A discussion of gender equality and inclusivity comprised most of the hour. Several clubs, notably Tampa Bay, Baylands, and San Diego have many women active in their clubs. All of these clubs have historically fully incorporated men and women into all of their activities. The East Bay Club has seen big increase in women members based mostly on the hard work and - encouragement of one woman. Chicago elected a woman President, and has a woman's brunch once a month. There was a discussion about whether having separate events for women encouraged their participation, or fostered their isolation. There was also discussion about whether having club offices designated specifically for women helped with integration or not.

Linda S. (San Diego) suggested that nurturing walking and encouraging non-competitive activities are good ways to bring more women into FrontRunners. John D. (San Francisco) mentioned that FR clubs could sponsor runs for breast cancer or other concerns of particular importance to women. David R. (Chicago) echoed the importance of non-competitive events, and also brought up having official greeters to welcome new men and new women to the runs. It was also pointed out that having a 50/50 male/female ratio might not be realistic, particularly when that is not representative of the gay and lesbian communities of certain cities, and also not representative of the running population.

Methods to attract other minorities (African-Americans, older runners, younger runners, Republicans) were also brought up, and many of the same concepts about reaching out to communities were endorsed. Andrew N. (San Francisco) mentioned that Tampa Bay FR had made great use of a phone tree, employing it every two or three weeks to help keep members involved and active. Giving members business cards with FR information on them was another technique for fostering members' sense of "ownership" and involvement in their clubs. Ski trips, pot lucks, staffing water stations, rafting trips, beach outings and trips to other clubs were other suggested ways to make FR more interesting and enticing; however, it was also pointed out that these activities can backfire as emphasis shifts away from running.

Day Two. Sunday. 8 October 1995

A luncheon and informal talk by Bud Budlong (San Francisco) was held outdoors under sunny skies at Buena Vista Park. He spoke about the history of the FrontRunners, and specifically its origins in the San Francisco Lavendar U. Joggers. A brief written synopsis of this history, written by Bud Budlong, was distributed at the lunch, and is also available from SFFR (contact John K.).

Sunday's indoor sessions began with a presentation by Bruce E. (Toronto) regarding the October, 1996 International FrontRunner Invitational. A suggestion was made that, in addition to the purely social, and running events that are already being planned, the organizers might host some seminars on running and Front-runner related issues. Sessions on such topics were avidly received at Long Beach in 1993.

The next topic was the Gay Games (Amsterdam 1998). It was resolved that Mike M. (New York) would convey our FR input to the organizing committee, via his contacts. It was agreed that the marathon and other running courses should be "real" courses sanctioned by the appropriate Netherlands body, and that a runner should review the venues and scheduling for all running events. There was consensus that the times and locations of races in NY for the 1994 Gay Games had worked well. Although some people wanted to volunteer to help with course monitoring and water stations for running events, it was agreed that IFR should not volunteer as an organization for these duties at this time. Brad M. also volunteered to convey IFR input to his LA friends that are involved in organizing the Gay Games. A proposal was passed, that Brad M. will compose a letter of what worked and did not work in the NY Gay Games, and give this information to Mike M. by November 30; a summary of what was discussed proposed and passed will be made available to all clubs on the IFR home page.

The topic of fund raising for travel to Gay Games in Amsterdam was brought up at the end of the day, but no united IFR plan of action was - proposed. Huia H. (Sydney) said that the costs of international travel are so high, that when Australian clubs went to Gay Games '94, each member was expected to finance their own way. The Team San Francisco model was brought up, whereby all funds raised over a four year period go into a pot, which is divided according to points earned for volunteer work at the fundraisers. The funds can be used for lodging, transportation, or uniforms. David R. mentioned the importance of reminding people to start saving small amounts early and regularly for the Games.

Our return to the topic of the organization of IFR was facilitated by a proposal by Mike M., who distributed a handout to help clarify our thinking. His proposal (A) was that the host city for the next IFR Forum be responsible for ensuring that all of the tasks of IFR identified at this Forum are carried out. An alternate proposal (B) was to invest a committee of people present at the Forum with this responsibility. This proposal was refined by stating that for each specific task, a lead and an alternate should be identified to execute the task, prior to the next Forum. A final, competing proposal (C) was made to have the host city of the past Forum be the central, organizing entity of IFR between Forums. Although the future Forum host has the greatest investment in seeing that IFR tasks are completed, others voiced that it was too much responsibility to place on one club. Furthermore, it is a responsibility that none of the clubs at the meeting had volunteered for. After a vigorous debate about how much "structure" and "bureaucracy" would be created by the various plans, a vote was taken: the final tally was: A (Next Host) 6; B (Committee) 19 ; C (Past Host) 2.

A list of tasks, leaders, and alternates was then agreed upon, and is as follows:

Task                    Lead                    Alternate
Directory               Andrew R. (Tampa Bay)   Kurt K. (D.C.)
World Wide Web Page     Brad M. (Long Beach)    Warren S. (D.C.)
Gay Games Contact       Mike M. (NY)            John D. (SF)
Forum 96	        Gary F. (Orlando)       John K. (SF)

Intertwined with this issue was a discussion about whether or not IFR should establish a permanent, physical mail box. The initial vote on the issue resulted in a tie, but on re-voting, the motion was soundly defeated.

The final item voted on was the site for the next Forum. Impassioned and articulate bids were made by Gary F. (Orlando) and Mike B. (Boston). Orlando captured 19 votes to Boston's 6. It was pointed out that Boston has offered to host the Forum several times, and has been the runner- up site repeatedly, and that this should be taken into consideration for 1999.

The concluding discussion, about local Pride Runs, was truncated because of time constraints. There was interest in greater coordination between clubs, both to help with attendance of runners at each race, and to see if greater corporate sponsorship could be garnered. Listing all cf the Pride Runs on the IFR home page was suggested. Steve F. (Atlanta) spoke about the success of their run, and representatives from New York, Boston, Chicago, L.A., San Diego and San Francisco added their input. Any future coordination was left to individual clubs or future forums.

Copyright © 1996 International Frontrunners.