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Plenty of Room for NAPS Zoom Training
By Brian J. Wagner
NAPS Immediate Past President
Officially, as your NAPS immediate past president until Sept. 4, 2023, this will be my last official Postal Supervisor column as a member of your current NAPS Executive Board. Unofficially, between eating ice cream, drinking coffee, training for a marathon and chasing grand- and great-grand kids—which is the same as training for a marathon—I plan, on occasion, to continue submitting columns for our excellent NAPS magazine. I also will remain very active as an associate member of our great association.
It never ceases to amaze me how much we can learn by reading The Postal Supervisor or surfing the NAPS website, naps.org. Much, too, can be learned by attending state conventions with training or specific area and regional training seminars. But, what if you can’t attend one of these informative NAPS training events in person due to limited branch funding or the ability to schedule time off from work?
Is there another option to attend NAPS training with less cost and time constraints? Here’s the scoop!
Educating NAPS members through training is an important objective of our association. As an outgoing member of NAPS’ Executive Board Training & Advocacy Committee, I was fortunate and very proud to be part of this committee. As a committee, we developed many NAPS training presentations currently posted on our NAPS website under the “Member” tab.
NAPS standard training material includes topics related to officer duties and responsibilities of a branch president, secretary and treasurer. There are presentations related to leadership essentials, parliamentary procedure, filing non-profit branch taxes (990N), the ELM 650 appeal and grievance process, a debt collection flowchart and an updated NAPS Officer Training Manual (OTM), to name just a few.
Such materials are living documents. They are reviewed regularly and edited and updated by your Training & Advocacy Committee. By having the most updated training materials, NAPS can assure members they are getting the best training possible.
Furthermore, branch officers also can be well trained on how to conduct branch business more efficiently and effectively. When it comes to finances, NAPS’ training provides guidance in protecting and maintaining a strong branch treasury with procedures on transparency.
NAPS’ training material is not just for today’s members and branch officers to enhance their knowledge about EAS employee rights and how to conduct NAPS business. It’s also meant to train, educate and build knowledge in the next generation of NAPS leaders.
As stated earlier, due to the challenging availability of some branch funds and/or getting leave from work, it is understandable that branches can’t send every active and associate member to NAPS events where training is provided. However, what branch officers can consider is bringing training to members at home.
With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, branches moved to the convenience of Zoom to conduct branch meetings and keep members engaged in association business. Although the pandemic has waned, we must continue to be vigilant and aware it still is around.
However, the majority of, if not all, NAPS branches have returned to in-person meetings. Some offer phone-in and Zoom participation, as well. As such, besides having regular monthly or quarterly, in-person branch meetings, a branch may want to revisit using Zoom as a direct way to specifically provide training to its members.
In May 2022, I participated in a one-day, four-hour, area Zoom training seminar hosted by then-Texas Area Vice President Jaime Elizondo Jr. The seminar included a vendor presentation on USPS retirement and federal benefits, a Q&A session with Elizondo and my presentation on ELM 650 Appeals and Grievances. Approximately 35 NAPS members were actively engaged in this Zoom training. In my opinion, it proved very successful.
I encourage members to visit naps.org to see the current list of NAPS training material. NAPS training always can be presented in person at NAPS events. However, by expanding the scope and concept of educating NAPS members on their EAS rights, the benefits of NAPS membership and other various important NAPS topics via Zoom, branches may be able to further increase membership engagement and participation in our association.
Fortunately, with Zoom training, there is plenty of room for everyone to join because attending is done virtually through a computer, usually from the comfort of one’s home. Just think of the cost savings! Except for the branch cost of paying for a Zoom account, what individual member cost could there be?
Travel costs and time would be limited as members most likely will “travel” from their living room to the dining room table to log on to the Zoom meeting. Unless, that is, their computer is upstairs or located in the “dog house” for some unrelated matter, such as failing to take the garbage out or forgetting a birthday or anniversary.
However, there may be a slight personal cost to the member to attend NAPS Zoom training. The member just might make a quick stop in the kitchen to dish up two, okay, make that three, scoops of ice cream and make a K-cup of their favorite coffee or both, just before the start of training. Who could resist ice cream and coffee? Not me.
Again, training is an important benefit of NAPS membership. Consider Zoom training as a cost effective and efficient way for branches to get members not only trained, but further involved in local, state and national NAPS events and activities. Speaking of being involved, I am grateful to have been involved in our great association as your immediate past president, but, more importantly, as a past resident officer and member of the NAPS Executive Board since 2004. It has been a true honor and privilege.
Whether you are an active or associate member, I encourage you to stay involved with NAPS and continue learning and educating yourself through NAPS training. As my late father used to say, “Get an education, because no one can ever take that away from you.” Today’s takeaway: training, training, training.
And, without further delay, I will zoom right to my ice-cream-flavor-of-the-month recommendation: toffee chocolate chip. Be safe and eat more ice cream!