Richard YepOn behalf of the entire staff of the American Counseling Association, let me wish you a Happy New Year and offer best wishes for a productive, peaceful and prosperous 2012. We hope to be your professional partner and resource provider in the coming months. We know other organizations can provide important information as well. However, our promise is to do what we can to earn your loyalty and demonstrate the value of ACA services, products and resources.

We also hope to be more than just an organization to which you pay membership dues each year. Through the years, I have heard members say they belong to ACA because it is their professional home. Many who attend the ACA Annual Conference & Expo do so because it is the one time each year when they can reconnect with old friends and often meet new ones as well. It is this sense of camaraderie and confidence that you can find others who share similar professional experiences that makes ACA so unique to counseling professionals. Of course, I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible this March in San Francisco at our Annual Conference & Expo, where we will be celebrating ACA’s 60th anniversary.

With all the changes we are experiencing as a society, it is critical that professional counselors stay abreast of issues that may affect their clients, students and colleagues. For example, 2012 is a major election year in the United States at the national level, as well as in many states and local jurisdictions. We encourage you to understand the issues, be aware of who supports what you do and then exercise your right to vote. This also applies to the ACA and division elections that are currently in process. Now in our second full year of the online voting platform, we are witnessing even more cost savings while simultaneously “going green,” reducing our carbon footprint and increasing voter participation.

Throughout the world, many changes are occurring that will have an impact on the lives of millions. I applaud those of our members who are working outside of the United States and making a difference for so many individuals, families, couples and children. Please let me know if there is something ACA can provide for you.

This month, we launch our online version of the Journal of Counseling & Development (along with the nine division journals that we produce). We hope this latest technological development will make the information and research in JCD even more useful to you as a professional counselor, counselor educator or counseling graduate student. Another feature of our new online platform for professional journals is that members can conduct an online search through back issues of each journal — beginning with Volume 1, Issue 1! All of this is available at no additional cost to members.

One more way we are increasing the value of ACA membership is through our acknowledgment of current economic circumstances. For new professionals just entering the world of work, this can be particularly challenging. In addition to establishing themselves as professionals, there is also the need to begin repaying college loans, find supervision and pay for liability insurance. The ACA Governing Council recognizes these fiscal challenges, and I am pleased to note that our New Professional membership category has been expanded so that individuals can remain in that category for as long as two years beginning this July.

I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge another group of unique individuals. I am referring to the staff I get to work with every day. For many of us, working for ACA is much more than a job. When you spend 40, 50, 60 or more hours with people each week, you hope that it will be a good experience for all involved. At ACA, our team has laughed together, we have mourned together and we have celebrated one another’s professional and personal successes. The environment in which we work is made even more special upon realizing that some of what we do might help you in the good work that you do for your clients and students.

So, as we peer into 2012, the staff and I dedicate our efforts to seeing you succeed. I look forward to what we will continue to do throughout the next 12 months on your behalf.

As always, I hope you will contact me with any comments, questions or suggestions that you might have. Please contact me via email at or by phone at 800.347.6647 ext. 231.

Thanks and be well.

Letters to the editor: