FTA February Transition Update

FTA February Transition Update

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The Family Travel Association board and leadership team have been diligently working on the transition of the organization to a non-profit, and we wanted to provide you with a few updates. Firstly, I am delighted to officially announce that Colleen Hodson has agreed to join the FTA as the Interim Executive Director, taking charge during our transition period to a non-profit, which we expect to run into the summer. A search for a new and permanent Executive Director will commence once a new Board of Directors is elected in early March. As a longtime friend and member of the FTA, Colleen joined our board of advisors last year and has helped us set up the framework for our transition to a 501(c)6.


Colleen lives in Cody, Wyoming and joins us with extensive experience in association management and niche marketing. She served as the Executive Director of the National Dude Ranchers Association (DRA) for the past 18 years and is currently the authorized agent of the Dude Ranch Foundation — a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit foundation. She sits on the Board of Advisors for Yonder Global, a nature based on-line booking site, and operates her own marketing consulting business. Colleen has served as Treasurer on her local Chamber of Commerce Board, and has served on the board of numerous local tourism committees. 


As for me, I will remain on board as the Founder, working with the team to ensure the future growth and prosperity of this great organization.  Additionally, the team that has worked so hard to develop this community, Sally Black, Peter Bopp, Richard D’Ambrosio and Aaron Schlein, have continued to keep the FTA humming, while also contributing significantly to our transition to a non-profit. We all owe them a debt of thanks for their efforts.


If you would like to “meet” Colleen, you can view a recording of a Facebook Live event we hosted Tuesday, February 18, at 5 p.m. Eastern at the members-only FTA Links private Facebook group. We’ll be using this channel more frequently to provide you with updates, so if you haven’t already requested approval to join the private group, please do so in the next week or so. Additionally, we asked Colleen to provide a more detailed update below so you can understand how the transition is proceeding. Please stay in touch. We are eager to hear from you.


An Update from Colleen:

I would first like to thank everyone for being so welcoming and supportive. A big shout needs to go to the FTA team Sally, Richard, Aaron and Peter.  Without these guys, the FTA would not be moving in the forward direction that it is. The FTA advisory board also has really stepped up, serving on committees and doing much of the hard work to keep the FTA transition progressing. I would encourage you all to reach out and say thank you if you get the chance. Of course, Rainer and his vision to create a place where families could come and explore all the possibilities of family travel, with a coalition of the travel Industry’s leading suppliers, media, travel advisors and experts, is nothing short of amazing. As you can see with all the fantastic support of the above folks Rainer’s vision to inspire and empower families to travel and help them discover what’s possible is alive and well.

As for the transition, we are working with the accounting team of SBW and Associates along with McCarty, Reed and Earhart, Attorneys at Law L.C.  to draft the papers to create and file the required C-Corp paperwork and are waiting approval and a new EIN number. We have set this new C-Corporation up as if it were already a non-profit, with a Board of Directors as the owner/operators.  This was done so that when the time comes to make the transition to a tax-exempt 501(c)6, we can apply through a simple filing process.  The entire process should be complete by late spring/early summer.

We also have created a working set of by-laws the new FTA will operate under.  Because we have to have a Board of Directors in place before we apply for the non-profit status, we have contacted the existing board to generate a list of potential members.  The Executive Board will consist of a President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary.  The rest of the board will consist of three suppliers, two travel advisors, two media members and four at-large seats.  During the first board of directors meeting after the transition, they can keep the existing by-laws and/or make changes, but again we needed this in place to keep the transition moving forward.  Thank you all who have stepped up to serve.

I am so excited and honored to be a part of the FTA during this transitional time and am very excited to work with and for all of you. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to reach out to me at any time. My door is open for conversations to expand the FTA’s future.

Happy Trails,

Colleen Hodson: colleen@familytravel.org

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