Why do I have to become a member?

$5.00 of your registration will go to pay dues for your membership in the Missouri Exotic Species Arts Assocition (MESA). Now, since this is the organization that pays the expenses for the event, this essentially involves taking money out of the left pocket and putting it into the right pocket. However, this accounting is important.

A 501(c)7 cannot derive more than 35 percent of its income from sources other than its own members. Our facilities therefore, by and large, can't be open to the public. To resolve this, we simply make the rule: you must be a member to attend any event, and handle all this automatically. You pay your reg, you come to the event, it's all good.

However, this brings with it some benefits you may not have expected. Because, by attending Wild Nights, you become a member of MESA, you have full voting rights in the organization! You (along with the other members) have the power to hire and fire staff, create positions, and elect officers.

This means that, in a very real sense, the organization that runs Wild Nights belongs to its members. The event belongs to the attendees. The staff answer to the officers, and both the staff and the officers must answer to the attendees of the event.

When do I become a member?

As per our Bylaws, if you pay for your membership as part of registering for an event (which most do), you become a full active member at the start of the event. This lasts for a year plus a little bit to allow for the start of next year's event to change. If you pay your dues by themselves, and not as part of registering for the event, it gets a little more complicated. Check the FAQ in the MESA section of the website for more information.

What's an active member?

Active members can vote and make motions, can be nominated as officers and vote for officers, and hold various other privileges as part of the organization. Inactive members cannot do any of these things. The distinction is made so that we don't have difficulty getting a quorum. Most people are happy to go to the con and enjoy and don't care to get behind the scenes and participate in the organization. Those few become inactive members fairly quickly, leaving those who are actively involved who are counted when we're tallying votes and the like,

If you're inactive and want to become involved, it's easy to do so. You just make a post on the business forum about something you care about, or attend a meeting and make a motion to be reinstated. We want people involved and active, if they so choose.

How do I reach the forum?

If you don't yet have an account, click the link on the Navbar to the left labelled Register to go to the registration page and create an account for the webpage. Then sign in.

If you already have an account, log in, then go to the Members item and click the item labelled Forum.

Can I join before Wild Nights?

As per our Bylaws, registering for Wild Nights pays your dues, but the effective date of your membership begins when the event begins. During the intervening time, you aren't yet a member and can't vote.

If you want to be able to vote and participate and hold staff positions, you will need to pay your dues directly, as well as either come to a meeting or make a relevant post on the business forum. Dues are $5.00 US and are payable either via the online store (reach it via the account page once you're signed in), or by mailing them to:


5110 NE 47th Ter

Kansas City, MO 64117

Make checks or money orders payable to Missouri Exotic Species Arts Association and note that it is for your MESA dues. Please make sure to include your login name for the website!

Our fiscal year will run from July 1 to June 30th. If you pay these dues before April 1, 2010, then your membership is paid until June 30th and expires on July 1, at the beginning of the next fiscal year. If you pay these dues after April 1, 2010, then your membership is paid until June 30th, 2011.

Do you pro-rate dues?

No. The reason is quite simple. It's five bucks. Seriously. We don't want to be counting out pennies for partial refunds of dues at the rate of 1.3698 cents per day (1.3661 cents per day in a leap year). The bylaws are set up to be simple and yet self-consistent. Let's keep them that way.

If I pay dues, does it come off my registration?

Yes, but you may not want it to. Here's the reason. Let's say you pay dues in January. Since Wild Nights occurs before the end of the fiscal year, you're a member when Wild Nights occurs, so as a member you receive a $5.00 discount (equal to your dues). In effect, paying dues now means you don't pay them when you reg.

However, this also means that your dues, and thus your membership, will expire at the end of the fiscal year, at the end of June. You'll have to remember to re-up each July with a check or money order or cash for $5.00. This is liable to get confusing, and you're likely to forget. Our advice is to always pay your dues with registration, and that way your membership is tied to the event year and not the fiscal year.

Put another way, the only times you should be paying dues directly are if you can't make the event and yet want to remain an active member; or if you haven't yet attended but want to become a member before the event.

What if I can't physically attend the meetings?

It is also possible to attend most meetings via Team Speak. You can access the Team Speak server using this document:

Instructions for Accessing the Team Speak Server

What if I can't make the meetings at all?

Even if you can't make the meetings, you can still be an active member. Being active on the business forum counts as being active. As long as you've made a relevant post (something with some information content beyond "I'm here" or "Me, too!" or "Hi") about a topic that interests you, you're an active member and can vote.

The business forum is considered to be the whole of membership. This means that in terms of Roberts Rules of Order it has the highest possible standing, able to potentially even override officer decisions. While business can be conducted at meetings, in general most business is going to be done on the forum, and most votes will take place online.