General Assembly - 2010

General Assembly: Ithala Game Reserve, South Africa. August 16-20, 2010.

The XXVII ICPAFR symposium was convened on the Conference Room of the Ithala Game Reserve, an idyllic setting with lots of game, during August 2010. ICPAFR expresses great appreciation to the University of Zululand for sponsoring and hosting the event and thanks all the members of th Executives, the reviewers, the invited speakers, the Organizing Committee and the Scientific Committee for their support in making the Symposium a success. 

ICPAFR is particularly grateful to our late Vice-President Prof. Marius Coetsee, former Head - Department at Human Movement Science, University of Zululand, South Africa. His lively presence in ICPAFR's meetings, his "straight-shooting" personality, and great organizational skills meant the planning for the meeting commenced on a strong footing. Special thanks are also due to Dr. Glynis Longhurst who, despite the problems created by the (justified) absence of a number of Board Members, managed the Symposium extremely well. In fact, she gathered a fine team of competent students and colleagues that not only were able to organize a number of important sessions, including one on the use of new technologies and the research they are undertaking in Zululand, but also to “fill the gaps” left by some absences. Overall, they created the right atmosphere in a venue that was truly “African”. In short, the scientific value of the whole Symposium was enhanced by their efforts. Thanks are also due to Albrecht Claessens for his job as President of the Scientific Committee. Finally, thanks also go to all the participants who engaged in all sessions with interest, curiosity and enthusiasm.

The theme of the meeting was: "Past, present and future in Physical Activity, Physical Fitness and Health". Scientists and practitioners shared new information and discussed theoretical and scientific aspects of physical activity, new trends and their implications. Selected articles will be published as soon as possible.
In the agenda the points discussed included: a) Evaluation of the Symposium and “state of the art”; b) the future of ICPAFR. The latter point was subdivided into four topics: Joining another council or organization ? Keeping ICPAFR as it is ? Changing the formula for something new and (possibly) uncommon ? Whether there should be a  membership fee ? The general evaluation of the Symposium was positive, both for the location, the adherence to the theme, and the value of the interventions. Regarding the future of ICPAFR, participants in the General Assembly di not support ICPAFR joining a wider organization. However, there was some support for ICPAFR participating in events organized jointly but strong endorsement for ICPAFR co-badging with any partner organizations. It was also stated that, even if the ICPAFR biennial Symposia are to continue, there was a need for some changes. For example, the need to be “really different” from large and concurrent organizations clearly emerged, especially from the younger participants. Some of the interesting ideas discussed included the offering of the possibility for young students to publish on-line. This could be done using the Board Members and the other actively involved in ICPAFR as referees. Should any ICPAFR members have ideas about how the Council should move ahead, please contact the President. Another problem that emerged was the perpetual problem of funding to participate in meetings. This is a challenge for many members young and old. In particular, the inability of young scientists to participate, significantly hampers their academic development. Any ideas for accessing funds to assist more participants attend meetings would be greatly appreciated.
Regarding the membership fee, the point was made that “something given for free has no value”. This may be correct psychologically, but practically it is burdensome. The President reminded the assembly that in an earlier meeting in Thessaloniki, the Assembly decided to dispense with the membership fee because of the management costs associated with overseeing a relatively small membership base. The re-introduction of fees could be a profitable proposal only if one day we were to introduce the costs of publishing, something that, for the moment, is not in the agenda. Other ideas emerged during the Symposium and the General Assembly, including: a) the fact that more aggressive organizations working on the same/related topics are emerging and for this reason we must step-up an extra-gear to survive; b) ICPAFR is getting old and the older generation must “pass the baton” to the younger generation. There will be transitory period during which we could imagine a temporary arrangement: to maintain part of the executive structure as it is and to insert new “blood”. Alternatively we could create a double structure containing the old and the new. c) After Thessaloniki (2004), the memorandum of ICPAFR must be updated, as the statutory obligations are no longer relevant. The introduction of new rules would somehow collide with some of the articles fixed many years ago. For example, some members of the Board have served on the Executive for many years and some articles of the statute fix some terms. Therefore, new elections should be undertaken. It was relatively easy years ago when membership fees were used to cover the mail costs. We should think of something more flexible in the new era. Again, please furnish any suggestions on what is needed to move forward with strength.