I’m going to start off by telling you a story most of us heard in childhood, called ‘The Little Red Hen’. The hen wanted to make fresh bread but knew there would be a lot of work involved in making the bread. The ground had to be hoed, the wheat planted and grown, it had to be gathered and threshed and ground and finally made. At each step along the way she asked her friends in the barnyard–a cat, a duck, and a dog–for help. And each time they said, ‘Not me,’ so the hen and her chicks had to do all the work themselves. Finally the bread was made and it was so warm and pretty and hearty and smelled wonderful. And the hen said, ‘Who wants to help me eat this bread?’ Suddenly, the cat, the duck, and the dog were all first in line, saying, ‘We will! We’d love some bread!’ The hen couldn’t believe it. ‘Where were you when I needed your help?’ she asked. ‘You didn’t want to do any work, but you want the reward. So no, I will not give you any bread. Only those who worked for the bread will get the bread.’ And she and her chicks ate the bread alone.

We have an upcoming election to fill three positions with the SLSA Directors. We have three candidates, and they are excellent candidates. But there should have been more who applied. And frankly, we shouldn’t have to beg for anyone to apply. Those of you who enjoy surfing in SL and members of the SLSA should be lining around the block for the opportunity to either stand for election, and if not that, to train to become marshals in competitions, or train to be judges, or work security during a competition.

Applying the story of the Little Red Hen to the SLSA, there are those who have actually done some work–anyone who has ever stood for election and worked as a Director, anyone who has ever trained or worked a competiion as a marshal, security, judges, or Head Judges, who have lobbied with Linden Labs itself to gather more exposure within SL or to notify them of special problems that arise with software changes or scripting programs–all of you have hoed the ground, planted the wheat, gathered it, threshed it, ground it, or helped to make the bread itself. Whether you found the experience good, bad, or so bad you never want to do it again, at least you did it. Thank you. But I can only judge on the fact we have over 1,000 members on our rolls, and while some are no longer in SL, many are. And yet very few have actually worked to make this bread. Taking away those brand new members who have joined up within the past couple of months, I can only conclude we have some long-time members of the SLSA, those who have been members for years, who seem to be more content to sit on the pixel beaches smoking imaginary weed and complaining how the SLSA is a big clique up at the top where  ‘it’s just the same people running things over and over again and nothing changes’.

None of this can happen in a vacuum. At some point, all of us have to go work in the fields or in the kitchen and make the bread. To enjoy the reward of the bread, which is both the existence of the SLSA and the fun of the competitions and the continued existence of the surfing culture outside of the SLSA, everyone needs to be pulling their weight. And if all you’ve ever been interested in doing is cyber-surfing on the pixel waves and smoking the cyber-skunkweed, especially if you’ve been here awhile, you’re just not to me. I’m sorry, you’re just not.

Now, how can you pull the weight, work the field, work the kitchen, make the bread, and not give yourself a hernia from the lack of exercise? You can participate. Start small–you can vote in the upcoming election and say you want these candidates in these three positions with hundreds of voices, not just 10 or 20. You can train to work in an SLSA competition in some way, or actually work it if you are trained. If we post a poll regarding a potential change, like when we asked if the membership would support the use of non-SSi boards in competition, answer it. Give us your thoughts. Then work your way up. Decide you want to commit some time and actually help run things. But at least become active members, not cyber-couch potatoes.

The SLSA is our group. But for it to be our group and stay our group, it needs more of us to say ‘I will’ instead of ‘Not me’. Then we might have more bread to eat.