Richard YepEach July, the American Counseling Association goes through a metamorphosis of sorts as we begin a new fiscal year (the one we have just begun is referred to as Fiscal Year 2013) after having completed 12 previous months of providing programs, services and other information that you and your 50,000-plus ACA colleagues need and deserve. We also welcome a new group of volunteer leaders into the ACA governance, committee and task force structure in July. In addition, thousands of other counselors, counselor educators and graduate students will take on important volunteer roles in the divisions and branches.

On behalf of the staff, let me welcome all of you to your new roles and wish you the best of success. We are here to help and to support the projects on which you are embarking.

Leading our association at the national level will be Brad Erford, whom I have had the honor of knowing for many years. In Brad, I see someone who has persevered, who has demonstrated vision in terms of moving the profession forward and whose organizational skills and knowledge of the profession will serve him well as ACA’s 61st president.

Many in this “Class of Fiscal Year 2013” are similar to Brad in that they are veterans on the ACA leadership stage. Some are returning to their positions to complete their terms of office, while others have held different positions at all levels of the organization for many, many years. I sincerely thank all of you who have been bitten by the “volunteer leadership bug” for your time and effort.

Those of you taking on your very first volunteer leadership role in ACA, the divisions or the branches are beginning what I hope will be a long and fruitful journey. Given how busy today’s professional counselors, counselor educators and graduate students are, your willingness to take on another role is quite remarkable. My hope is that the next 12 months will be so enlightening and fulfilling for you that you will recruit another colleague or two to actively engage with ACA the following year.

Our organization is dependent on the thinking, efforts, ideas and decisions of our volunteers who take on roles in governance, committees, task forces, divisions and branches. These volunteers are what make the difference each year in the advancement of the counseling profession.

Later this month, to be even more responsive in providing resources to our volunteer leadership, ACA will convene the Institute for Leadership Training. Our regional leadership team coordinates this annual event, which brings together volunteer leaders serving at the national, division, regional and branch levels. During their time together, participants network with colleagues, learn about organizational and professional issues, and visit with their elected officials on Capitol Hill.

For those unable to attend the institute, I encourage you to visit to review the ever-growing resource library we are building for those in leadership positions. If you have an idea, suggestion or question about a volunteer leadership topic, let us know and we will look at how best to meet your needs. Send an email with your thoughts to ACA Director of Leadership Services Holly Clubb at

In addition to thanking all of you for taking on volunteer roles in the organization this year, I would be remiss if I didn’t also encourage you to have some fun. Since the “pay” for volunteers won’t cover a mortgage (or even a cup of coffee), I hope you will enjoy getting to know your fellow volunteers, engaging in stimulating conversations and visiting with each other in cyberspace and at the 2013 ACA Annual Conference next March in Cincinnati.

As always, I look forward to your comments, questions and thoughts. Feel free to contact me at 800.347.6647 ext. 231 or via email at You can also follow me on Twitter: @RichYep.

Be well.