As a PTO president, I am always looking to involve other erstwhile volunteers so that I don't have to do as much real work. For some events that works the charm. At others, well... I'm the chairman and several volunteers. Don't get me wrong: I like volunteering! I volunteer for two reasons. First -- and foremost -- I keep myself informed of all-things school-related. Secondly, I have enough ego (and id) to reach out to my daughter-units' community to [hopefully] make a difference. (It helps being an axe murdering psycho, too.) In 2004, right as the school year let out, a dad (an Ex-Software Engineer [ESE]) walked up to me and started visibly grousing about how his PTO didn't meet his specific needs. "Dammit! They're a clique! They don't listen to anyone but the 'inner crowd.'" Since I was actively involved in our community outreach program that year (which turned numbers triple those of previous years), I was concerned by this arm-chair criticism. "Really? Like what?" "The Group, you know, the same Power Families that work their wiles every year, didn't 'hear' anything that was submitted for this year." "Like what? Please! Let me know. I _know_ the pres! He's willing to listen -- especially since I have his ear!" "You do? I was told he's process-driven and only cares about how things are done?" "Shee-it... You're an ex-engineer. Is there anything beyond process?" "Well, yes. There's the people. Their feelings and desires. If the management doesn't listen, then the people won't implement the requests!" "Ah... Gotchya!" "Anyways... The Anus* is good for key projects but sucks as a manager. He's a Carly and Gates and Jobs, only their worst traits..." "Go on." I was actually loving every minute of my anonymity. "So," ESE groused, "he sits in his ivory tower making prognostications and rolling his 4-sided die** in the hopes that he figures out the 'best' guess. Why doesn't he effin' asked the community? THEY'D tell 'im!" "Really?" I look at ESE and gauged his 6'2", 276 lb frame. "My name is '[The].' '[The Ranger]' and I have to tell you that _you_ are the _first_ person to talk to me like I was part of the community! For that... I THANK YOU! I'm very concerned about that POV! Please, if you're able, continue." "You're... I... I... I... I didn't mean to tell you..." "Stop." I held up my hands pleadingly. "Please." ESE's jaw loudly clicked shut. "Do I," I smiled, "have Death," and I looked over my right shoulder, "hovering right here? No. I'm half your weight and half your height. There's not much I _could_ do to you -- even if I wanted." ESE smiled. "So... I've heard your concerns. I'm REALLY interested in them. My only concern is that I haven't seen you at ANY of our meetings, PTO or otherwise, and simply wonder if it's an oversight on my part. If not, then I invite you to our next meeting and hope that you'll address these same concerns there. If you haven't been to any meetings, then I INVITE you to attend and I'll pick you up prior to it." "Well..." "No 'well.' I'll pick you up!" "Uhm..." "Great!" I exclaimed and reached for his hand. "I appreciate your honesty and willingness to volunteer! I will make SURE you won't regret this!***" The Ranger * A particular orifice of small design used to evacuate waste material and excess food products. ** AD&D reference *** He did. He's now the daughter-units' PTO prez.