A message from the Board • 8/24/18

To our community,

 

Before CPP became incorporated as a 501(c)(7) in 2018, the community adopted a tier-membership structure: General Members are anyone that attended a single CPP event. Associate Members are individuals that attended multiple CPP events in a year (only permitting one bar event for attendance accumulation). Full Members are individuals that attended multiple CPP events in a year (only permitting one bar event for attendance accumulation) and volunteered at events.

While this system was relevant at the time, it caused challenges for organizing membership as more events/meet-up's were created, Full and Associate Membership was based on tedious attendance requirements, and General Membership grew to over 500+ worldwide (with no way to consistently record which Members wanted to remain active vs opt to inactive).

Leading up to CPP's incorporation, the ~200 individuals that were routinely active community found the benefit of moving to a simplified membership structure and we have discontinued the use of General, Associate, and Full Member titles.

CPP now recognizes two primary levels of involvement: Members and non-Members. The non-member community is the collective support and/or attendance of anyone 18 and older that wants to be involved with CPP in any capacity. Our community is diverse and widespread. We accept anyone and everyone that wants to be considered part of our community. Members are individuals that attending one or more event in a year and annually contribute to our financial obligations by paying dues and dedicating time to assist with CPP operations. (While Membership must remain limited, dues are in no way meant as an exclusionary measure; therefore a grant option available for anyone unable to afford dues and is willing to assist CPP through volunteer hours. The amount of service hours is determined at the discretion of that year's Board though is anticipated to be less than 10 hours each year.)

After multiple town halls, several Board meetings, and consultations with outside sources, CPP settled on a 501(c)(7) incorporation. 501(c)(7)'s are considered ideal for social clubs and fit within the goals we have as a community education and social organization. Part of being a legally incorporated 501(c)(7) is that membership must be "limited" meaning not everyone can become a member at will. Limiting membership through dues is the most widely used method. What many may not realize is that in order to maintain the quality of events it has, the CPP has stayed afloat the last few years through the generosity of but a few members and personal funds of board members. While those folks are more than happy to contribute to what we are trying to do, and will likely continue to do so, we want all members to have a stake in ensuring protections for all members are preserved. The amount of liability and tax issues the CPP was potentially open to was daunting, though no immediate issues were assessed. We are taking measures to make sure that CPP is protected now and in the future. 

Your dues will go directly to mandatory corporation tax and legal filings, consultation fees with a lawyer and accountant, liability insurance to cover Members and Board Members, catering and supplies for Member events, maintaining a quality community presence on the web, Member gifts/perks, and other operational expenses incurred with maintaining a social club.

We are very excited to be driving this process for our membership and greater community. While we would like to say we can do everything, we will always need help, and we will always need feedback. Please, don’t hesitate to reach out to the whole Board at Feedback@ChicagoPuppyPatrol.org.

 

Yours in Service,

The 2018 Chicago Puppy Patrol Board

A message from the Board • 8/6/18

To our community,

 

In its early years, the Chicago Puppy Patrol (CPP) served as a then-rare example of an active pup community with a tight knit group of friends. As the pup community grew, so did the CPP. Unfortunately, no organization deals well when the foundation they established with friends growing at the pace the CPP has. The past several years have been challenging as boards, the current board included, continued to operate the club as it had been when it was a group of 25-50, when its collective community had grown to 200+.

This year is the first year that CPP has had a solid plan to incorporate and become a legal entity, as limits in held-cash and spending have proved to be severely hobbling in being able to provide meaningful social and community building events for our members. Providing those opportunities HAS to be our focus.

To that end, the 2018 CPP Board and Directors are proud to announce: we are legally incorpoated as a 501(c)(7) non-profit! While that is an exciting thing, it’s a start. We still have much to do!

Per the CPP Bylaws: “The Chicago Puppy Patrol is a community-based social group for pups, trainers, handlers, and those interested in exploring pet play. CPP is committed to the following purposes and activities: promoting a safe and secure environment in which handlers, pups and friends can come together to play, learn and grow; organizing educational events and social gatherings to expose the greater community to our interest and to foster acceptance of alternative lifestyles; and giving back to the community that supports us by coordinating with community organizations to promote participation and community activism.”

Have we fully hit those marks? While we’ve tried, we have realized that we need more help, outside viewpoints, and actionable feedback.

And that’s where you come in. There have been a number of conversations that have been had recently at IPAHW, in our Telegram chat, and through emails received by our Board. We need that feedback in order to accomplish what you want out of the CPP. Based on that feedback, we’ve adopted the following priorities:

  • Make use of broader channels of contact, and adopt formal methods of communication to communicate with all Members via email so any legal compliance measures (like Liability Waivers) can be effectively disseminated

  • Continue to pursue partnerships/communication with a variety of play spaces to offer multiple options to our community

  • Make a concerted effort to reach out to communities that may not be in our normal sphere of reach through other pet play groups and munches, primarily through FetLife

  • Focus less on what the CPP Board thinks the community wants and broadcast a wider acceptance of feedback/suggestions through more channels than just contacting a single Board Member

  • Provide more CPP Board accountability through internal task/responsibility tracking and external action and priority communication

  • Maintain year-over-year documentation of processes so future CPP Boards are not left with a handicap to provide the same or better level of service to our community than the year previous

We want our Members and our community to understand that we are serving with readied hands not hidden agendas. We want to become the pet and handler organization that Chicago needs. We need your help and feedback to do that. We are here for you.

It's been brought to the Board’s attention that a Chicago Pup and Handler (CHI-PAH) group is in the process of being created. While we are very much proponents of there being a wide variety of social groups to accomplish all interests in our greater community, we think it prudent to pose the question: Will multiple groups for the same purpose will accomplish the goals of connecting people?

In some circumstances, this becomes necessary, as some differences, are irreconcilable. That is not how we would like to view this situation though. We would appreciate the opportunity to speak with whomever is seeking to create a Chicago Pup and Handler group. We want to work with you and build a stronger Chicagoland community.

All of that said, we are very excited to be driving this process for our membership and greater community. While we would like to say we can do everything, we will always need help, and we will always need feedback. Please, don’t hesitate to reach out to the whole board at Feedback@ChicagoPuppyPatrol.org.

 

Yours in Service,

The 2018 Chicago Puppy Patrol Board

An Online Presence

Your online presence is more watched than ever. Anyone and everyone could be watching. There’s some important things to keep in mind as a member of the pup/pet play community, the same as being a common person of society.

When it comes to having an online presence, the most overrated rule is also the most underrated: absolutely nothing you put on the internet is private. But how can that be? You have privacy settings and a secure password! True. But even your trusted connections can share something you posted or have their own privacy compromised. Additionally, not all password failsafes are created equally. So only share what you are prepared to have the rest of the world see. Remember, your actions can come back to haunt you.

This applies for others as well. If you see a post where you might question the subject's representation, consider bringing it to their attention. Don't share it! If you look out for others online, they may someday help you out too. 

Be smart about who you connect with online, especially if you’re not sure who they are. They might not be who they want you to thin they are. We’ve all clicked the “connect/friend/accept” button for someone we’ve never known a day of our lives. Sometimes they have 100 mutual connections, sometimes they have 0. However, that tells you nothing about the likelihood of you hitting it off or their intentions. Friend people you know and don’t expect a welcome wagon with every network connection you make. 

Concerned about how your second cousin twice removed found your “not so family friendly profile?” Keep in mind that not all networks are closed. Disclosing your personal attributes (such as phone number, current city, high school, college, past residence, place of employment, professional email, and parts of your actual name) can be used to filter and lead others to you. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t share anything about your past or present, but consider limiting how much of yourself out there. Some personal stuff is worth keeping...well...personal!

Don’t know if that picture you want to post shows a little too much skin? (Assuming you haven’t been tempted yet, you’ve probably been there too.) Not all social media platforms view lewd content as ideal for their platform. As instantaneous as it may seem, content definition algorithms can do a quick spot check before permitting a digital upload. Other algorithms take longer to spot potentially inappropriate content. (Or maybe that person with 100 mutual connections you added doesn’t share your view of appropriate content.) No matter the circumstance, once those posts are flagged, they are reviewed by the service provider and can prompt the content to be removed, flag a user, or result in account deactivation. Point is, know which of your social media providers accept PG vs “tasteful nudes.”

So now that you got flagged for that picture that showed a little too much skin... Consider revisiting your privacy settings and revising your list of connections for that account. Reviewing your privacy settings on a regular basis will give you have a better understanding of how to manage your privacy. If someone is reporting your content online, do yourself a favor and don’t fret over figuring out who it was, just know that there’s a better chance of it having been a complete stranger rather than someone you actually know.

You will see a lot of people doing a lot of things online, some of which are doing the same things as others. Do not, do not, DO NOT feel like you need to give into peer pressure or online demands. There is no obligatory Monday selfie or weekly pup-bod picture requirement. Nor do you have to respond to every message within minutes of receiving. Make your online experience something that makes you happy and is conducive to your life. Make others happy by just being polite and respectful.

Even people that you’re nice to can end up being bullies. If you feel bullied, don’t bully back. Let bullies show their true colors to anyone and everyone they choose. They won’t sustain enough connections to keep themselves around very long.

Struggling to keep your identity by using your scene name as your profile name? That’s because no one is actually named Pupper, Alphadawg, or betapup. Social networks, like Facebook, is quick to find name irregularities. Be unique with your online name but not so unique that you draw too much attention to yourself. 

It might seem like there’s a lot of do’s and don’ts to maintaining an online presence, but pup/pet play aside, it's more common sense than anything.