Forming a New Chapter of Back Country Horsemen of Florida

The Back Country Horsemen of America (BCHA) is based on the grass roots involvement of chapters at the local level to accomplish the purposes of the BCHA.  The organization, the development of and approval of local chapters falls to the state chapters in each state.  

In this document the procedures and requirements for forming a local chapter are outlined.  The information in this document is considered a guideline.  Groups interested in forming a local chapter of the Back Country Horsemen in Florida should contact the Back Country Horsemen of Florida (bchflorida@earthlink.net) for guidance and assistance.
 
        
Why Affiliate With Back Country Horsemen

Affiliation with Back Country Horsemen of America identifies you as a responsible voice for recreational stock use on public lands. This representation goes far beyond our local community and the trails we ride.  BCHA and BCHFL are recognized on a regional, national and state level as a leader in low impact horse use education. Many of our members have been active participants in the "Leave No Trace" wild lands ethic movement as related to horse use. Some of these members have become master LNT trainers whose role is to spread this ethic to our membership.

BCHA has been working in the effort to enhance our visibility at the regional and national level by participating in activities such as wilderness seminars, national park symposiums, and trail conferences. We have representation in organizations such as the American Horse Council, the Continental Divide Trail Alliance Board of Directors and affiliate status with other trail advocacy organizations such as The Coalition for Recreational Trails, American Trails, The Partnership for the National Trails System, and the National Recreational Trails Training Partnership, and the Wilderness Society.

By affiliating with the Back Country Horsemen of America as a local chapter of Back Country Horsemen of Florida, your organization will be recognized as a group that seeks to improve the trail assess for recreational horsemen’s use in a responsible and sustainable manner. Your group will also have the backing of both a recognized state and national organization to help you when necessary to accomplish your mission.  The BCHA has grant money available to help local chapters support projects.  The BCHA Educational Foundation is a separate 501 C.3 and local chapters can use the foundation to raise money for local projects with the contributions being tax deductible.  


Purposes of Back Country Horsemen

The five purposes of the Back Country Horsemen are:

1. To perpetuate the common sense use and enjoyment of horses in America's backcountry and wilderness areas.
2.To work to insure that public lands remain open to recreational stock use.
3.To assist the various government, state and private agencies in their maintenance and management of said resource.
4.To educate, encourage and solicit active participation in the wise and sustaining use of the backcountry resource by horsemen and the general public commensurate with our heritage.
5.To foster and encourage the formation of new state backcountry horsemen’s organizations.


Forming a Chapter of BCH of Florida

The requirements and procedure for a group to form a chapter of BCHFL are as follows:


Fees


The membership dues charged by the local chapter are determined by the local chapter.  However, there is a national membership fee that the local chapters shall collect and pass on to the BCHFL to pass on to the BCHA.  Currently the BCHFL does not charge a local chapter’s member any additional dues.  The BCHA dues is set at $15.00 a year for a single member and $18.00 a year for a family membership.  These dues will be due on the December 31 of the year the chapter is approved and on December 31 of subsequent years.


Example Bylaws

Below is an example of bylaws that can be used as a template.  Your bylaws should reflect your own specific requirements while meeting the requirements outlined above.


By Laws of the Indian River Back Country Horsemen


ARTICLE I Name


The name of this organization shall be the Indian River Back Country Horsemen hereinafter referred to as the IRBCH, and shall be incorporated under the laws of the State of Florida. The Indian River Back Country Horsemen is a chapter of the Back Country Horsemen of Florida and as such is bound by the rules and policies of the Back Country Horsemen of Florida and the Back Country Horsemen of America.  


ARTICLE II Purpose


1. To perpetuate the common sense use and enjoyment of horses in America's backcountry and wilderness areas.
2.To work to insure that public lands remain open to recreational stock use.
3.To assist the various government, state and private agencies in their maintenance and management of said resource.
4.To educate, encourage and solicit active participation in the wise and sustaining use of the backcountry resource by horsemen and the general public commensurate with our heritage.
5.To foster and encourage the formation of new backcountry horsemen’s organizations.


ARTICLE III Membership

1.  Eligibility  

Membership is open to any individual interested in the promoting the purpose of the IRBCH organization.

2.  Membership Types

(1) Individual membership.  (2) Family membership consists of at least one adult and additional immediate family members, all living at the same address.

Article IV Dues

1. Applicable to the state and national requirements, the board of directors shall set the amount for IRBCH membership dues. The membership year corresponds to the calendar year (January 1 through December 31).  

2.  IRBCH shall submit dues to BCHFL no later than January 31 of the current calendar year and a report of IRBCH membership as of 1 January of that year.


ARTICLE V Voting

1.  Voting Eligibility

All members in good standing are entitled to vote on all matters voted upon during membership meetings.  Individuals have one vote, while Family members have two votes (one per adult).

2.  Quorum

For a vote on any matter to be accepted, a quorum must be present at the meeting.  At regular meetings, 10% of the voting membership, in good standing, that is present will constitute a quorum.  At a board meeting, a simple majority shall constitute a quorum.  Exceptions are noted in Article X Section 1 and Article X Section 3.

3.  Proxy

If a member wishes to vote on a matter, but cannot attend the meeting, the member may still vote by providing a written notice.  The notice should contain the member’s name, member’s signature, the subject of the vote and the member’s decision.  The written notice may be delivered by any means to the Board of Directors, before or during the voting process. The Board of Directors shall file the Proxy vote according to the member's stated will. A Proxy vote shall count toward the Quorum.

ARTICLE VI Meetings

1.  Membership Meetings

Regular membership meetings shall be held with a frequency and at a time and place decided upon by the board members.  Notice of the regular meetings shall be announced to the members.  The board may call special meetings.  An annual membership meeting shall be held once a year for the purpose of election of officers and board members.

2.  Board Meetings

Board meetings shall be held at a time and place decided upon by the board members.  Regular members shall be welcome to attend board meetings but they shall have no vote.  Anyone who wants to attend a board meeting should contact a board member for the time and place and indicate if they have a matter they wish to present to the board.

ARTICLE VII Officers and Directors

1.  Offices

The offices of this organization are president, vice president, secretary and treasurer.

2.  Directors

In addition to the officers, the board shall be comprised of a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 4 additional members.  An out going president will automatically become a member of the board.

3.  Vacancies

Any vacancy for any officer or director for the balance of such term shall be filled by appointment of the president, excepting the presidency, which will automatically be filled by the vice president.

ARTICLE VIII Duties of Officers and Directors

1.  Board of Directors (Officers and Board Members)

The supreme power and authority of this organization shall be lodged in its assembled meetings and the officers and directors shall conform to the wishes and instructions of the organization, but subject to such control and direction by the organization, the board of directors shall manage and execute the affairs of the organization.  The board shall have the authority to make and execute decisions that are not in conflict with state law, the direction of the membership and policies set forth by the Back Country Horsemen of Florida.

2.  President

It shall be the duty of the President to preside at all meetings of the organization and of the board, and to exercise general executive control over the affairs of the organization, and to call special meetings of the members and/or the board, and to perform all other duties pertaining to such office. The President shall be an ex-officio member of all committees.

3. Vice President

The Vice President shall assist the President when called upon to do so, and in the president’s absence, shall be vested with all the powers and duties of the president.  

4.  Secretary

The Secretary shall record and keep the minutes of all regular, special and board meetings; issue notices and perform such other duties as pertains to such office.  The secretary shall be responsible for maintaining custody of the records and papers of the organization (such as charter, by-laws, etc.).  Communication with the members through a regular newsletter shall be the responsibility of the secretary although the board may appoint another member to assist with this.

5. Treasurer

The Treasurer shall collect dues, keep and disburse all the funds of the organization and shall keep a written account of same which shall be open for inspection by any member in good standing, and shall furnish a written report of the state of the finances monthly, and shall be one of the three check signers of record, any one of which may validate a check.  All funds shall be kept in a bank account.  The treasurer shall be responsible for the submission of any records and tax returns required by law and shall prepare an annual statement.

6.  Director

The directors shall formulate policies, approve procedures and programs, establish dues, attend meetings, and generally assist and support the functions and programs of the organization.

ARTICLE IX Elections

1.  Election of Officers and Directors

All officers and directors shall be elected by a majority vote at the regularly scheduled annual meeting.

2.  Terms

Officers shall serve a one-year term.  An out-going president will automatically become a director.

3.  Nominating Committee

Two months prior to the regular election of officers and directors, the president, with the approval of the board, shall appoint a nominating committee. The purpose of the nominating committee shall be to provide a list of suitable candidates for officers and directors to the membership.  The list shall be made available to the members one month prior to the election.  Any member shall be allowed to submit a nomination to the committee.  Any member shall be allowed to make a floor nomination during the election process.  
 
ARTICLE X Removal of Officer/Directors

1.  Removal Proposal

Any officer or director may be relieved of his duties by an action instituted by (1) a two-thirds vote of the board of directors or (2) a majority vote of voting members at a regular meeting.

2.  Notification

Notification of action to remove an officer or director must be made at the regular meeting preceding the meeting that the action is to take place.  
 
3.  Removal Action

Action to remove an officer or director requires a two-thirds majority vote of voting members at the regular meeting.

ARTICLE XI Committees

1.  Creation

Committees to aid the function of this organization shall be designated by the President with the approval of the board.

2.  Composition

The committee chairperson shall be appointed by the President and will in turn appoint their committee members as necessary to accomplish their committee’s functions.  Committees must be comprised of members in good standing.

ARTICLE XII Amendments

These by-laws may be amended at any regular meeting or special meeting of the organization by two thirds vote of the membership, provided that notice of such proposed amendment shall be given to the organization at a regular meeting preceding the submission of such proposed amendments.


These By Laws adopted by a vote of the membership of the Indian River Back Country Horsemen on  March 10, 2014

Signed by Officers:


President _______________________________________        Date: ________________________


Vice Pres _______________________________________        Date: ________________________


Secretary _______________________________________        Date: ________________________


Treasurer _______________________________________        Date: ________________________