Did you hear?... OIA votes to create Climbing Industry Advisory Council

The Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) Board of Directors voted to create a Climbing Industry Advisory Council at the last board meeting on May 21.
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The Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) Board of Directors voted to create a Climbing Industry Advisory Council at the last board meeting on May 21. The council was formed to better represent and support the climbing industry within OIA as a whole. The new council will first meet in Salt Lake City this August during Outdoor Retailer Summer Market. The OIA Board also dissolved its climbing specialty groups including the Climbing Gym Association (CGA), Climbing Wall Industry Group (CWIG) and Climbing Sports Group (CSG). Frank Hugelmeyer, president of OIA, told SNEWS® that with the new advisory structure, member volunteers would be able to supply input through a single OIA advisory council instead of three. Going forward, the Climbing Industry Advisory Council will provide climbing specific feedback for the OIA Board who prioritizes annual projects for the membership. OIA members interested in serving on the Climbing Industry Advisory Council should send an e-mail to info@outdoorindustry.org to express their interest. This council will be comprised of manufacturers, distributors, climbing gyms, retailers and sales representatives. SNEWS® View: Though controversial, this move makes sense for the OIA structure. Running an association with an executive board that also includes member sub-groups, each with their own boards makes no sense. You end up getting groups voting on and acting on their own independent agenda specific to the group they represent that may or, as was often the case, may not be in line with the overall objectives or immediate goals of the OIA board. That kind of organization can only lead to increasing frustrations. SNEWS® understands the passions of the various smaller niche groups or associations that have been dissolved as a result, but would humbly point out that under the new scenario, the representation is still there, only this time with a seat on the OIA board. The retailer and rep councils have already been operating this way very successfully, so it is a formula that does work if given a chance. We have heard rumblings from some groups that they wish to break off and form their own, independent association, and that's fine. However, doing so will only serve to further isolate what are essentially already very niche associations and remove opportunities for broader coalition support for their goals and agendas.

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