By Jesse Robitaille
The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada (RPSC) is hoping its new initiatives will bring the hobby across the country to collectors from coast to coast to coast.
RPSC president George Pepall said the Royal*2015*Royale weekend was very productive.
“We firmed up our member services in several ways and ran a spirited AGM (annual general meeting) with a contested election, which chose Stuart Keeley to join the board,” said Pepall, who added he was “exhausted” when he finally returned home to Kitchener, Ont. after spending the weekend at the society’s convention in London.
Additionally, Pepall said, there are at least two groups that will be discussing and planning a new national-level show in Canada in the coming year, although no other information was available at the time of printing.
“We now have new formal guidelines for approving national shows,” he said. “We’re now in a position to hold more national-level shows if the people in those cities can meet the guidelines.”
Pepall said the recent changes, which include developing new presentation and education programs as well as promoting the RPSC’s bi-monthly publication, will help attract new people to the hobby.
“First of all, we found volunteers for developing and renewing multimedia philatelic presentations for our chapters,” said Pepall. “This has been a difficult area because we had been using old-fashioned slides, but we’re now scanning and updating them to send out on DVDs to the various chapters, and they don’t have to be returned.”
Secondly, Pepall said, there were some major requests made of The Canadian Philatelist, the RPSC’s publication.
“We asked them to solicit articles from members and other philatelic organizations more actively, and we encouraged the editor to use more articles that are purely philatelic.”
The third member service – and perhaps most exciting, according to Pepall – to be moved forward was an ambassadors program aimed at promoting youth philately.
“We want to have supplies ready in all parts of the country to help young people enter the hobby,” he said. “It’s basically a beginner’s kit to help people to start collecting.”
Developed by Yvan Latulippe of Montreal, the ambassadors program is tentatively scheduled for release by next year’s Royal convention.
“Quite a dialogue developed about youth philately after Yvan came forward and spoke to the AGM about his kit, a contest he’s writing and a website he’s creating,” said Pepall, who added the youth-focused website sounds promising. “The discussion and presentation were great.”
At the society’s AGM, Latulippe said: “You will find everything a youngster and even an adult will need to start collecting stamps: philatelic basics, information, news, events, links, resources, games, activities. A special area will provide teachers and leaders all the help needed to operate a stamp club.”
Another highlight from the society’s AGM was the contested election, which brought Stuart Keeley into the fold as a director.
In total, there are 13 people on the RPSC’s board of directors, and “they all take on a major responsibility,” said Pepall, who will resume his role as president for another term.
“We meet three or four times between the AGMs, so I’ll continue calling those meetings. I’ll also continue as chapter liaison by visiting chapters and doing philatelic talks and – maybe most importantly – planning the next convention in Kitchener-Waterloo.” Rounding out the executive is vice-president Rodney Paige, treasurer David Oberholtzer and secretary Robert Pinet.
The remaining directors, who will be appointed to additional roles in the coming weeks, include John Beddows, dealer liaison; François Brisse, Fédération Québécoise de Philatélie (FQP) liaison; Jean Lafontaine, FQP president; Robert Lunn, nominations chair; Robert McGuinness, exhibits database chair; Marilyn Melanson, multimedia presentations chair; David Piercey, judging co-ordinator; Jim Taylor, international liaison officer; and Ernie Wlock, membership chair.
Pepall said the future of Canadian philately will be determined by one thing:
“In a word, it’s collaboration,” said Pepall, who added one focus of the RPSC is bringing the various associations and societies together for projects that benefit the hobby.
Lastly, he said, in addition to focusing on youth philately, the RPSC will be keeping an eye on the demographic of retirees: those folks in their 50s, 60s and 70s who either join or return to the hobby with the passion and devotion necessary to keep philately alive.
“This group is beginning to retire, and it’s where most of our collectors come from.”