My First 6 months as Nevada Chapter President

by Mavies Gascon, President, AMTA-NV Chapter

Mavies Gascon, LMTAs a member of the AMTA-Nevada Chapter, I decided to stay in for the meeting before the continuing education that I had originally signed up for at the 2015 Annual Nevada Chapter Convention. And during that meeting, David Otto, who was my Professional Development instructor at the Nevada School of Massage Therapy (NSMT), and then, being President of the chapter, nominated me to be a part of the organization.

I donated a lot of volunteering time while I attended NSMT, so I figured I was spending time to help the community, not knowing what I had just agreed upon. And then reality hit, as I placed my right hand over my chest (yes, I was swearing into my position as 2nd Vice-President, 1 year term) – PANIC ATTACK! What have I just gotten
myself into?

I haven’t been Vice-President of an organization since my high school years as a Member of the Student Body Council for various clubs. But as I was sitting in at the Board Meetings held in Kathleen’s beautiful home, conversations became more detailed, business oriented, and sometimes confidential. The majority of the whole year, I listened, observed how business was conducted, and sat retaining information, like a sponge on a wet spill. And last year, I designed the pins that we wore and shared amongst our colleagues at the 2016 AMTA National Convention in Milwaukee.

Going back to June 5, 2016: I thought I was over with the whole volunteering my time to talking with students at NSMT, for the value of having “Visions” and the importance of having liability insurance, with no one else but AMTA. And I thought I was totally done with adding more stress on top of my full time job and not so happening
independent business. David ended his term as President of the chapter. I was next in line and no one else seemed like they wanted to take the responsibility. What do I do?

Do I just neglect the organization that I have spent so much of my valuable time on and compensate my relationships (partner, family, friends, private clients)? Or do I dig a bigger hole and grab the bull by its horns and see how far it’ll abuse me?

I was 36 years old, with only a little over 3 years in being a Licensed Massage Therapist and already a NV Chapter Vice President, for one of the biggest non profit organizations in America. So I stepped up. What’s there to lose? I’m backed up by so many colleagues, not only in Nevada, but Nationally. The support system with the organization is amazing. All anyone has to do is reach out!cat-paw-lick-yarn

It’s now been six months since I’ve pledged into the President position. At first, I was a bit nervous, but with the right guidance, I know the next two years will be memorable. We have already made strides to communicate better with the Northern Nevada members by honoring them with a mini convention (meet & greet with a CE class). And as the holidays pass, more meetings throughout the state are being planned and so are mixers with local retail establishments, member volunteer events, and of course, opportunities for continuing education classes to name a few.

So going back to the thought of the “hole,” I’m diggin’ it! And I’ll continue to dig larger, deeper holes, to fill them with knowledge and memories. And when the day comes, the road will have been patched with success to empower future massage therapists. It doesn’t matter how nervous or uncertain you are, creating change can overcome those fears!

[Even] Higher Standards in the New NCBTMB Board-certified Credential

Being a massage therapist professional for a number of years in Nevada, I have seen many changes that have affected the direction of our profession, our passion, and ultimately affect the way the public perceives massage therapy.

Last year, the AMTA began its Consumer Awareness Program (CAP) which has been wildly successful, for both the public and members.  Check out some of the video, member stories, and news stories that have come out of this well-planned, multi-year project.  Your dollars are at work in promoting massage and its benefits to large gatherings of people, like at races and social events of magnitude around the U.S.

This is one way that our organization makes well-known the benefits of regular massage.

Search Provider #407142-00 @ ncbtmb.orgThe National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) has done the same types of promotion over the years – through a short-lived “certified spa” program (where, when all the LMTs on staff were Nationally-certified, the spa is listed and promoted as an NCBTMB-approved spa/employer), member self-promotion with materials supplied by the NCBTMB (article copy for publication, use of logos, website resource for the public, Find A Certified Massage Therapist listing service, etc), and support of a credential that has long-established the competency and possibly proficiency of a certified practitioner.

As of January 1st, 2013, things again have changed for NCTM/Bs.

Just when you were getting used to the title… Since the establishment, in 2005, of a competency exam for licensing purposes by the Federation of State Massage Therapy Boards (FSMTB) – the MBLEx – the NCBTMB has revamped their program.  Now, the NCBTMB also has a [rebranded] competency exam for licensing (formerly, the National Certification Exam (NCE)), now called the NCBTMB Licensing Exam.  These two tests by two different organizations are considered (by at least 39 states) to be the standard test to which the states’ Applicants [for licensure] must pass.  Nevada is one of those states where either test is accepted for license application.

Polaroid: Nevada [the Nevada State Board of Massage Therapists (NSBMT)] never required that an Applicant or Licensee “be” Nationally-certified…and still does not – just to pass the NCBTMB’s entry level exam (and, now, the MBLEx is an added, optional exam accepted).  When a professional massage therapist is Nationally-certified, it is a credential separate from “being” competent.  National certification is a professional’s commitment to a standard that exceeds basic competency.  In the past, that Nationally-certified standard included (mainly): 500 hours of classroom education, an earned number of Continuing Education Hours (CEHs) every 4-year renewal period and an agreement to a Standard of Practice and Code of Ethics outlined by the NCBTMB (to which all Certificants agree to uphold).

Instagram:  Today, under the newly-termed “Board-certified” title that Certificants are using that have already renewed with the new requirements, the additional requirements will include: 750 (total) hours (minimum) of classroom education (was “500-hour core massage program” prior), 250 hours of professional hands-on experience, CPR certification of the NCBTMB Certificant, national background check (every application/renewal), agreement to an anti-Human Trafficking statement.  These new requirements apply to new applicants AND any currently-Nationally-certified massage therapist that wishes to renew their NCBTMB certification.

With that said (and “new” way of doing things at the NCBTMB having hit the ground running), the AMTA-Nevada Chapter supports our members who are and will be NCBTMB Board-certified.  We continue to, as an AMTA Chapter, be a source for NCBTMB-approved course credits.  We also have a great relationship with some staff members at the NCBTMB – while we encourage Nationally-certified chapter members to contact the NCBTMB directly for individual assistance (specific, case-by-case), we will certainly do our best to answer your questions and send you in the right direction, when you find a challenge.

New Requirements, New Friends  We are in the process of allying, in Southern Nevada, with a couple of offices that offer CPR programs – back in my day, class was “all day” and cost a little more than the current programs.  The programs we’re working with (one of which is an American Heart Association CPR training/certification course) are designed for concise and complete education and cost less, time-wise and dollar-wise, and are very promising to utilize as a source for your Board-certification and any other purposes.  If you are in the Northern Nevada and know of a program that may fulfill the NCBTMB’s Board-certified requirement of “CPR certified”, please let us know!  We’d like to start informing all our members about the potential relationship, making things easier for every member.

Should I renew?  This is really a question based on your perceived value in the NCBTMB.  I renew to stay active in my profession.  I also volunteer for the NCBTMB as an exam Item Reviewer – there are plenty of ways to “be” in the profession, with whichever organization you find value.  The NCBTMB has been there for us as a profession, through thick and thin, and they are changing with our profession to make it the best for everyone: practitioners and public alike.  For as long as I have been a massage therapist, the integrity of the NCBTMB has always been noble, their Standards and Codes of high regard when adhered to, and I appreciate the distinction that the credential brings to my profession and what I love doing most for my clients: massage therapy.  I believe that without the organizations that are represented by the mere numbers of professionals who populate them, the organization loses identity and the ability to be accessible by the public, news outlets, allied professionals, and the regulatory bodies that also strive to seek the right model or advice on how to apply laws for the safety of the public we all serve.

The diligence of “claiming a profession” and being professional exists, in my opinion, in the members of professional associations like the AMTA, and certificants of a program that strives to create “better” massage therapists at every turn.  If the organizations are left unmanned, from where will credibility and efficacy come?

My word alone is not enough for today’s massage therapy client and massage therapy market – the clients are toooooo educated now 😉

The AMTA Nevada Chapter is here to support your decisions: to renew, to apply, to be active in your profession.

If you have any questions or need clarification, please give us a call at our new phone number: (775) 556-0300 or drop us a message at email hidden; JavaScript is required

Our newsletter is coming out soon with information about our Annual Member Meeting and Convention – stay tuned for some excellent ways to distinguish yourself as a professional with continuing education courses (NCBTMB-approved!), effective networking opportunities, and…FOOD!

Be Well,

David-fnamesign

 

 

 

AMTA-NV Chapter President

Conscious Giving

This is the time of year when the gift of massage is most given, when those in need’s voices are heeded, and when massage therapy professionals’ families may get the most benefit from a visit from their family’s massage therapist.

It is a great time for a reminder to people who have worked diligently and exhaustingly all year to get a massage from their friendly, neighborhood massage therapist – a time to relax and let their hair down for a re-centering, rejuvenating time of healing and introspection while on the table, their mini-vacation, during this holiday season.  It is a great time for those who get massage regularly, for rehabilitation or pain management, to revisit why massage therapy is such a great “healer” and re-evaluate their relationship with massage.

Did you ever think about contributing your talent, skill, and intention for massage therapy to the less fortunate than those of your family, friends, and clients?

Did you ever think about creating value for your clients AND increasing your personal growth using your talent and skill as a massage therapist?

What if you could touch the quality of life of a person that you do not know nor would ever have come in contact with if it were not for your good nature and willingness to share the power of touch through massage?

There are such possibilities and opportunities – your gift to your community this year can be:

  • at a homeless shelter, where touch services are rare.
  • in a hospital, where touch services are needed to assist in recovery and pain management.
  • free massage session(s) for a local fundraising effort, to either encourage donations to the charity by donors that would “win” your free massage OR give free chair massages to the volunteers that coordinate/facilitate the fundraising activities.

There are many ways in which you can do something to provide your massage community with the value of massage…that doesn’t cost a lot for you or the client of your intent.

As we prepare to fulfill those gift-given certificates, also prepare to consider lending a helping hand to those who need a massage and may not be able to afford it – create, for yourself and your existence as a practitioner in your community, a value that extends beyond your ability to discount your service pricing and reaches the far corners of your community where massage is valued as a form of positive, life-changing experience that has no cost and immeasurable value.

David J Otto LMT, AMTA-Nevada Chapter President

Think about a few ways, and Comment here – your sharing may just spark that holiday-giving attitude in another massage therapist that can lead to great things!

the First 90-days…

Hello Members!

David OttoI am truly honored to be writing today in the President’s Blog – there have been many years that I have served where the chapter did not have such an efficient, fast way for the members to connect; specifically, with the commentary and updates from the chapter President.  I am happy to say: all the Nevada Chapter Board of Directors volunteers, chapter volunteers and Delegates are available via email and that you may post publicly or email me privately regarding the [future] topics in this forum!

Now, on with this month’s blog…

I was elected to serve as a chapter leader, first as 1st Vice President back in 2010, with the intention of running for another leadership office, but not really the presidency.

Billie Shea (who has served several terms as President, now Immediate Past President) had other plans than my “just” participating in a fully-engaging and wonderfully-satisfying position as a volunteer.  She knew that, over my years of service in media outlets, out in the population of the membership and non-members of professionals in the Las Vegas area, being active in my professional goals as well as association goals, I had a little more potential.  And I guess I have to say: I thought so, too.

I suspect, from the get-go, Billie was looking for the right person, a willing person, an established professional and personality in the massage therapist community, and I had worked hard to be in that position, but didn’t realize the gravity of my situation until someone told me I should run for President.

When I joined the AMTA & Nevada chapter back in 2001, during my last weeks of school, I really had no idea that the AMTA would be an opportunity that grew me both professionally and personally – was starting with a solid liability insurance policy, as far as I was concerned.  I had and have a passion for massage therapy, and that passion to do what was right for me, back in the day; and now, my passion has developed into a purpose to do what is right for the profession in Nevada.  I can think of no stronger, prominent, or active group of massage therapy professionals than those who are members of the AMTA – in Nevada and across the U.S.!

^^^ check out what AMTA’s doing in its new Consumer Awareness Program! ^^^

I have had, even before I was elected chapter President, more positive & growth experiences in my management skills, massage therapy skills, interpersonal skills, marketing skills, and entrepreneurial drive than I can ever imagine would have happened had it not been for the tried, true, and structured resource of the humans that make up the AMTA.  From the National office to the newest Student Member, I count on every person who professes to support and practice massage therapy in its truest form to contribute to the success of the organization. And, as in a recent interview that I participated in for the national promotion of the AMTA, “I am David Otto.  I am AMTA.”

And so is every member.

If you believe in supporting massage therapy research, the development of the field and profession, and providing massage therapy clients with the “best massage ever,” you have found a friend, mentor, and inspiration in the AMTA.  Times can be turbulent and hard to comprehend, but by keeping the Mission in mind and participating, everyone comes out ahead.

Thank you for trusting me as one of the many talented leaders of the Nevada Chapter that you will come across.  I encourage you to get to know one other member this year.  By the end of 2012, we are organizing a couple of member events coming up in Southern Nevada and there are several continuing education courses in Northern Nevada where you will likely meet a fellow AMTA member – but if not, recognize the “member” in the professional with whom you are talking.

There will be more updates about things YOU and/or your colleagues find interesting and may want to participate in as an Attendee.  If you have any ideas, questions, or comments about your membership or participating in affecting an awesome membership of professionals in Nevada, please do not hesitate to contact us!

Yours in Service,

 

 

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