Why Join GRCA?
Recently, leaders of several breed clubs were discussing the value their national club provided.  I have been pondering a similar question and would like to share my perspective on why the Golden Retriever Club of America (GRCA) is important and why all local golden retriever club members should join.
First, unabashedly, I believe the Golden Retriever Club of America is the best breed club by far.  We are the biggest, the best organized, have the most talented members and the best dogs.  We have about 5,000 members, many in different countries, one of the best Foundations and our affiliated 100 rescue clubs provide ten to twelve thousand “for-ever homes” each year.  If we were a football team, we would be the super bowl champion.  People want to be with a winner; you would be joining a winning team.
GRCA is the primary guardian of the Golden Retriever breed.  GRCA members determine the breed standard, code of ethics and performance awards.  No other organization cares more for the Golden Retriever or tries harder to protect the breed and performance standard across the country.    GRCA provides educational information to pet owners to help them obtain healthy dogs from reputable breeders.
GRCA is the link to the American Kennel Club (AKC).  We are the largest parent club in AKC and with a committed membership base we can be more influential in policies affecting our interests.   For example, GRCA was instrumental in lowering obedience jump heights.   GRCA has an excellent reputation within the AKC and with other breed clubs.
GRCA believes education is important and never ending.   GRCA members receive the bi-monthly Golden Retriever News, a highly informative magazine filled with articles about our history, training tips from experienced experts, news from different clubs, pictures of recent member and dog accomplishments, etc.    And, of course, my highly anticipated President ‘s column.
GRCA members can compete for Club recognition, awards and trophies in many different areas.   GRCA, through local host clubs, sponsors a rotating National Specialty each year which brings together top competitors from across the country and beyond our borders.  This prestigious event typically includes competition in conformation, obedience, agility, tracking and field events.  In addition, educational seminars, welcoming dinners and banquets and the Golden Retriever Foundation’s (GRF) Gala make this a fun filled event.
In 1997 GRCA created the GRF, our tax exempt operation to fund and support veterinary health research, support for Golden Retriever rescue operations and to provide education on responsible dog ownership.  To date, more than two million dollars have been dedicated to these goals.  The GRF is recognized as one of the largest supporters of the AKC Canine Health Foundation and the Morris Animal Foundation health research programs.   And the GRF is actively involved with the Morris Animal Foundation in the ground breaking Golden Retriever Lifetime Health Study.
GRCA has many volunteer opportunities for members to make the organization and our breed better and stronger.  The standing committees and task forces are important contributors to GRCA success.  For example, the Legal Legislative Committee follows and provides advice on the many anti-dog legislative proposals across the country.  The Health and Genetics committee provides guidance on research projects. Our Archives task force is working to identify and preserve our early history.  But equally important are the many education committees, technical committees and writers who work to make the organization the best it can be.
We are continually thinking of ways to make membership more valuable.  For example, members receive priority entry in the popular CCA at the National Specialty and Regionals.  The website, GRCA.org, has a “members only” section which provides additional educational information and also permits on-line renewal.  And other ideas are being considered.
And one of the best advantages of being a GRCA member is the opportunity to meet other Golden people from different parts of the country and to develop lasting friendships.
The wonderful world of Golden Retrievers would not be what it is today without the establishment and continued evolution of the Golden Retriever Club of America.  GRCA is the linchpin that connects the past, manages the present and plans for the future.  Whether members actively compete in dog trials or just want a quality dog, GRCA helps provide those opportunities.  If you are not currently a member, I invite you to join GRCA.  How to join?  Simply go to the bottom of GRCA.org and click on JOIN GRCA and follow the process.   You, and I, will be glad you did!
And remember to kiss your dog today.
John Cotter
President
Golden Retriever Club of America

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