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We are writing to introduce and update you regarding the status of the Koi Society.      PDF version

The incorporators greatly enjoy koi and the greater koi community. The more we have learned regarding Nishikigoi, the greater the experience.  We would like to be able to give something back to the hobby and try to make it possible for others to share in the koi experience.  The founders do not pretend to have all the answers but believe the greater koi community can come together and create a broad based community organization.  This Koi Society should benefit the individual hobbyists as well as provide for the betterment of the hobby and the koi.  Koi keepers include a diverse group of talented individuals, often fiercely independent, sometimes unconventional, but united in their love and appreciation of koi.  We will construct a framework such that a diverse group of koi people from across the world can collaborate and serve as caretakers (rather than owners) of this community resource, the Koi Society. 

The Koi Society is not to be regarded as exclusive of other organizations.  The Koi Society will provide opportunity for many koi enthusiasts to work together for the greater good. 

As part of the planning process, the founders have examined where the hobby is now, where we think it may want to be, and proposed an action plan to start in accomplishing these goals.  Only with the collective help of many talented koi devotees will these dreams become reality.  The role of the founding incorporators is to ratify the initial bylaws and select the initial officers and Trustees.  It then becomes the responsibility of the membership, guided by their Board of Trustees, to cultivate and shepherd the future growth of the organization.  The founders wish to avoid this being a Florida-centric or Judge-centric organization.  Initially the founders do not know who wishes to participate or how widespread membership participation will be.  The goal is for our governing Board of Trustees to be geographically diverse and representative of our membership.


 Current Status of our Koi Hobby / Industry

 Presently the number of individuals currently enjoying koi in their backyards and homes is unknown.  Over the past four years the number of persons subscribing to koi publications has been declining.  Participation in koi shows, seminars, and other organized koi events has generally been dwindling.  There are approximately 30 larger koi shows per year in the USA and that number has been decreasing by 5-10% per year.  The koi “club” community is aging and relatively few young people are involved in koi clubs.  Overall, koi and associated koi product sales are down. The greater koi community is fragmented.  There are deep seated riffs between groups at numerous levels to the detriment of the hobby and industry.  The internet “koi boards” have been educational but the forums have also been divisive forces.  Segments of the koi community do not wish to associate with each other.  Economic times are such that few people have significant disposable income.  We feel it long overdue to leave any political issues in the past and move forward in the appreciation of Nishikigoi.   In the “Spirit of the Internet”, we will craft an organization with the resources to provide value to a diverse membership varying from the most sophisticated koi enthusiast to the casual beginner.  Ultimately we would like to be able to assist and nurture the beginner, of whatever origin, in their journey of koi appreciation and in exhibiting koi.

 Koi Shows and Exhibitions

We support and encourage Koi Shows and exhibitions in which hobbyists can actively participate, interact, learn and socialize.  Koi Shows are a driving force of the hobby. In reality a Koi Show is a guide to koi (and frequently goldfish) appreciation. Hobbyists and the general public may witness large, high quality koi rarely, if ever, seen elsewhere.  Pictures and video clips are inadequate to capture the beauty, majesty and carriage of this exceptional swimming art.  A Koi Show should be an opportunity for the uninformed public to see and acquire information regarding koi.

 Serious students learn while helping with the shows.  Koi Shows are social events in which acquaintances and friendships are formed and rekindled.  Mentoring relationships are forged.


 Koi Shows are educational.  The judging team will usually spend time reviewing their decisions and answering questions after the judging is complete.  Larger shows frequently sponsor educational seminars.  These usually include interactive lectures on aspects of pond care and construction, filtration and water quality, nutrition, and husbandry.  

 In addition to the camaraderie and social interactions, the hobbyist has opportunities to meet and interact with breeders and dealers.  Individuals who do not live in an area with a local koi club often make plans to travel and participate in Koi Shows.

 There is a symbiotic relationship between Koi and Goldfish Shows.  A large percentage of the US public does not know what koi are.  More know of goldfish and may attend a fancy Goldfish Show.  Attendance at Koi Shows may be significantly increased if combined with Goldfish Shows.  Goldfish caretakers may also keep and exhibit koi.  We will move beyond previous difficulties and formulate arrangements in which goldfish exhibitors and koi exhibitors share in the responsibilities for shows including expenses, equipment, setup, breakdown, and awards. 

Many individuals work tirelessly together as a team, sharing of their time, talents, and resources, to put together these exhibitions.  They are to be commended, encouraged, and thanked!  We wish to encourage more shows.

 Putting on a koi show is much much more than filling a few tanks with water and adding fish for public display.  In reality, a club or association of clubs, teams of dedicated experienced individuals, vendors, and a judging team working together are required to put on a successful Koi Show.  An organizational “guarantee” is usually required.  Specialized equipment and a substantial budget are necessary for larger shows.  In short, koi clubs or associations are essential to hosting Koi Shows.  We support koi clubs and encourage membership.


 Recruitment

In order to grow and provide ongoing support for Koi Shows and koi clubs, the hobby requires an ongoing infusion of new recruits.  Where do koi hobbyists come from? Who are the people who have or often develop interest in Koi?  The list of sources or referrals might include:

  • Koi Clubs
  • Koi Show attendees or exhibitors
  • Koi Hobbyists - Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
  • Goldfish enthusiasts
  • Internet forum participants
  • Amateur pond builders
  • Backyard water feature hobbyists (HD, Lowes)
  • Water gardeners
  • Koi food manufacturers / distributors
  • Koi breeders
  • Koi dealers
  • Pond product manufacturers / distributors / dealers
  • Pond builders
  • Judges

We will become an Inclusive Membership Organization!

What would we like to accomplish?  We would like to be able to bring together people with these diverse interests and encourage and grow their koi knowledge and appreciation.  We would like to be able to offer something to these individuals, get them involved and introduce them to koi.  For example, koi and water gardens are not usually compatible but a number of hobbyists enjoy both (in separate ponds).  Garden centers are clearly a source of hobbyist introduction to koi.  In the “Spirit of the Internet”, we should be able to provide information to diverse groups and provide opportunity and access for a portion of them to connect with a koi club and koi people.

There are reported to be about 10 million swimming pools in the US.  We can probably assume most of these are in a climate or situation suitable for koi ponds.  Perhaps there are as many as 3000 individuals in the US who belong to an organized koi club. Only a few of those work to support koi exhibitions and share the joys of koi.  Historically the koi community has probably not reached its recruitment potential.  In short, there is great opportunity for growth. 

  “Spirit of the Internet”

We will use a dynamic web site utilizing an open source web content management program.  Ultimately a significant portion of content and the American Koi Keeper will be available only to members with general content available to the public. To allow for a large amount of quality content, the site will be configured such that multiple qualified authors can submit content.  A mechanism for proof reading the content for grammar, etc., prior to publishing on the site will be instituted.  A core group of authors will be needed to supply content either from articles they have previously written or new material.  In some cases the site will allow for two way communication between the authors and members.  When new material is published in the electronic periodical, it will also be published to the “Members Only” portion of the website.  At a later time it will probably become available for public viewing.

Website content will be extensive, and diverse.  Capacity for high definition video has been arranged.  Ultimately we would like to have quality material covering all aspects of koi health, husbandry, appreciation, judging and clubs on our website.  Our website is very much work in progress.


Costs

We are a not for profit volunteer organization.  We pay no rent.  We are diligently working to keep costs low.  All communications and publications will be electronic.  Printing and mailing is simply cost prohibitive.  Our journal, the American Koi Keeper, will be delivered, readable in electronic format, and printable if desired.  Unfortunately there are still some costs.  There are various government fees, professional fees, hosting and software costs, etc. which are ongoing and recurring.  We will endeavor to keep these fees minimal and work in a cost effective manner.


  Membership

 Affiliated Clubs

Members of affiliated clubs become voting members of the Koi Society for the calendar year upon acceptance of dues and entry of their user login information in the Koi Society website.  The affiliated club is responsible for submitting membership information and Email addresses for its members who wish to be members of the Koi Society.  As content will initially be limited, there will be essentially no charge for membership for the remainder of 2012 with dues being applied to the 2013 membership year.   Those clubs submitting payment received by October 31, 2012, will be recognized as Charter Affiliated Clubs.  Charter Affiliated Clubs will be recognized on our website.

                 Fees:     For Clubs with 100 or less memberships (individual or family)        $100.00

                             For Clubs with 100 or more memberships (individual or family): 

                             Please complete Affiliated Club Membership application and  submit to our Officers and Board of Trustees for review and   dues structure.

 Each membership will have access to the ”Members Only” portion of the Koi Society website and receive the American Koi Keeper electronically.

 In addition to voting membership for its members, each club may have one or two pages in the Affiliated Clubs section of the Koi Society website to include information regarding your club, contact information, upcoming events, articles, photos, etc. as appropriate.  Each club is responsible for designating their club’s web page manager.  We will be happy to help as appropriate.


   Individual / Family Membership

 Individual or Family membership is available for those who wish to join and prefer not to join an affiliated club.  Each membership will have access to the  ”Members Only” portion of the Koi Society website and will receive the American Koi Keeper electronically.  Each membership will have one vote.

 Fees:  Each individual or family membership yearly dues is $25.00.  As our content will initially be limited, there will be essentially no charge for membership for the remainder of 2012 with dues being applied to the 2013 membership year. 

 In many cases it may be less expensive to join a local Affiliated Club than join as an individual or family member. 

 Lifetime Individual / Family Membership

Lifetime Individual / Family Membership is available for our most enthusiastic supporters.  Lifetime Membership received by December 31, 2012, will be recognized as Charter Lifetime Individual / Family Membership.  These memberships will be recognized on our website and will receive one special collectible Koi Society Charter Lifetime Member pin.  Charter Lifetime Member pins will be sponsored by Founding Trustee John Sprinkle.

Fees:  Lifetime Individual or Family Membership dues is $250.00.

Other categories of membership may become available at the discretion of the future Board of Trustees.

If a member belongs to more than one Affiliated Club, the member still has only one membership and one vote.


 Liability Insurance

We would like to be able to arrange liability insurance for our Affiliated Clubs and their events.  This is very feasible and doable.  To move forward with this we need a rough idea of how many clubs will become Affiliated Clubs and would like liability insurance coverage.

 Koi Show Judges

We fully support the American Koi Judges Association, an independent, not for profit association of qualified amateur koi judges. 

Koi Society Bylaws

Proposed Koi Society Bylaws are posted on the Koi Society website for your review.  They call for broad based and regional representation on the Board of Trustees, amateur officers, individual voting rights, term limits, and a mechanism for voting out the Board of Trustees and officers in the event your representatives and officers are not representing your needs.  Please review these bylaws carefully.

Publication

Our electronic publication is the American Koi Keeper.  Joe White is our editor assisted by John Rae.

 In this initial start-up period, we encourage you to sign up for Email updates and polls on our website at http://www.koisociety.org/about-us/sign-up-form.  You can unsubscribe at any time. 


 Summary

In conclusion the founders are not owners but rather are serving as caretakers while we grow.  We have endeavored to provide a community structure upon which we can build a cohesive organization with value for our members and the hobby.  Now we need your time, talents, energy, and support.  Together we can innovate for the betterment of the hobby and serve the collective “greater good”.

Please join us.

Respectfully,

Cheryl Childers – Interim President

Trustees:

 Richard Porter                                   Luanne Porter

 Joe White                                           Sherri White

 Henry Culpepper                              John Sprinkle