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Massage Today
December, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 12

AMTWP Meets in Banff

By Cliff Korn, BS, LMT, NCTMB

The Association of Massage Therapists and Wholistic Practitioners (AMTWP) recently held its Annual National Conference in Banff, Alberta, Canada. While the business issues of a Canadian professional association might not be of foremost interest to Massage Today's primarily U.S.

readership, the news of the individuals involved is of universal interest.

Most conventions follow a similar pattern of including a combination of business meetings, continuing education opportunities and social and networking time. The AMTWP convention was no different in this respect. A keynote presentation had been scheduled featuring Drs. John and Lisa Upledger in a Clinical Symposium, enabling observers to develop a deeper appreciation and understanding of CranioSacral Therapy.

Hurricane Wilma made it impossible for the Upledgers to travel from Florida to Alberta, however, leaving the potential for a large program void for the AMTWP.

Upledger Institute instructor Don Ash, PT, CST-D was arriving in Banff, as he was scheduled to teach several workshops at the conference, when he was asked to fill in as the keynote presenter. I'm sure Massage Today readers can appreciate the magnitude of being asked to undertake such a thing without prior preparation. When later queried by Massage Today about the experience, Ash replied, "I found out that Dr. John was not going to be at the conference on Thursday morning after arriving from some 12 hours of traveling. My wife and I arrived at 1 a.m. The call came at 8:30 that morning asking me to do the keynote presentation. I had done regional conferences in the past, but no national venues, so to be asked to do the keynote event was, to say the least, daunting. So, with trepidation and the theme" 'Face Your Fears, Don!' I did it!" The standing ovation he received is testimony to the job he did.

Another personal interest story is of even greater interest though. In most organizations with volunteer boards of directors, the staff is the constant that brings continuity over time, while the elected volunteer leadership rotates through, keeping the organization filled with fresh ideas and current viewpoints. In its history, the AMTWP has seen something very different. The outgoing AMTWP President, Melanie Hayden, had been a vital component of the Association as a board member for more than eight years and had served as its President for six-and-a-half years. In that same time, there had been significant staff turnover, creating almost a mirror image of the typical association. Coleen MacDougal, CAE, AMTWP Executive Director, was quick to point out to Massage Today that while it might have been unusual for a volunteer leader to serve for such an extended period of time, the service of AMTWP's President had been of immeasurable help with consistency of leadership throughout a period of significant growth and challenge. She gave her opinion that it allowed the organization to grow much more quickly.

Melanie Hayden is well known and her impact has been felt throughout the U.S. as well as Canada. In her time on the AMTWP board, she has played a key role in some very lasting contributions including creating the AMTWP Annual Conference, developing an association sponsorship program, establishing a volunteer recognition program and initiating an annual Outstanding Volunteer Award and a President's Award. In association with others on her board, she also has been instrumental in the development of regulatory language for massage therapy that has a likelihood of becoming a model for those looking to implement best practice legislation, not only throughout Canada, but also in the United States. Melanie has been tireless in the development and building of relationships with allied organizations and stakeholders that have enabled her organization to become highly recognized as a leader in the CAM professions.

The Association of Massage Therapists and Wholistic Practitioners is a Canadian national professional association serving the diverse needs of Complimentary and Alternative Healthcare Practitioners throughout Canada. Since its inception in 1988, it had grown to become one of Canada's largest voluntary professional associations with over 5500 members.


Former editor of Massage Today, Cliff is owner of Windham Health Center Neuromuscular Therapy LLC. He is nationally certified in therapeutic massage & bodywork and is licensed as a massage therapist by the states of New Hampshire and Florida. Cliff is a member of the International Association of Healthcare Practitioners; a professional member and past president of the New Hampshire chapter of the American Massage Therapy Association; a certified member of the Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals, Inc.; and a past chairman of the board of directors of the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork.

 

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