R-C featured organization of the month: ITPA, a community-based group | RecordCourier.com
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R-C featured organization of the month: ITPA, a community-based group

by Nancy Hamlett

One of the signs of a successful organization is the ability to change as the membership changes.

The Independent Telephone Pioneers Association was originally formed to protect and advance the small mom and pop telephone companies throughout the United States. But with changes in the field of communication, the focus of the organization has changed as well.

“Even more today, we are still pioneers, paving the way toward the new roles of communication in society, ” said president of the Sierra Nevada Chapter of the association, Bryant Jenkins. “Every day the communications industry breaks into new territory. I can’t imagine where it’s going to end up. It changes daily.”

The local chapter of ITPA was formed in 1984, and it was instrumental in obtaining the support of the national headquarters in Washington D.C. to contribute to the development of the telephone room at the Carson Valley Museum and Cultural Center. The room displays an assortment of telephone equipment and artifacts from years gone by, and for many children who are used to cell phones, cordless phones and automated operators and answering machines, it is a mind-boggling adventure.

“Every year we continue to donate to the museum,” said Jenkins. “And we have volunteers who are available to answer your questions when you visit.”

According to Jenkins, the ITPA would like to be recognized as a community resource. Already the association contributes to many organizations, such as the Carson Valley Community Food Closet, Project Santa Claus and the Family Support Council.

“Fund-raisers for us in the past have been the sales of See’s Candies in November and a raffle during the Christmas Craft Faire,” said Jenkins. “Last year we held a golf tournament and it was a success. We will repeating the tournament again this year.”

The tentative date for the second annual ITPA golf tournament is June 26, and Jenkins said that as details are ironed out, more information would be available. He added, however, that the group is now starting to look for businesses and individuals to help sponsor the tournament.

“We always try to get everything donated because we donate all that we make as an organization back to the community,” said Jenkins. “So the less we spend means more that we can give.”

One of the major goals of ITPA is to provide two $500 scholarships each year to area high school seniors. Jenkins stressed that all area seniors are eligible for the scholarships, not just students attending Douglas High School.

“The local chapter covers a large territory,” said Jenkins. “Last year’s recipients attended Douglas and Coleville high schools.”

Jenkins said that the deadline for submitting applications for their scholarships is April 30.

Current membership in the chapter is about 80, but according to Jenkins, there are many more people living in the Carson Valley who are eligible to join.

“The only requirement is that you have worked at least one year for a communications company,” said Jenkins. “You don’t have to be retired and the company you work for doesn’t necessarily have to be a telephone company. Just as the ways that we communicate are changing, so is our organization.”

Jenkins is joined on the board of the ITPA by vice president Judy McGee, secretary Pam Jenkins, and directors Charles Spotts, Dennis McGee, George Jones, Harold Felten and Sharon Packer. De De Cowder is the greeter and Reina Fraze is the social director.

The ITPA meets quarterly on the fourth Thursday of the month. If you want more information about membership and meetings, or becoming a sponsor for the golf tournament, call Jenkins at 267-1199.

“A lot of people in communications don’t consider themselves pioneers,” said Jenkins. “But in reality, anyone that has had a part in the changes in communications is a pioneer. ITPA is a great organization for them.”

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