Camp Followers

The Camp Followers of scientific societies are the alumni officers that never quit trying to run the organization.

There were plenty of them at other neurosurgical societies, occupying the long head table and shedding tears over past remembrances. They knew how to block or delay membership, blackball unworthy peers, select meeting sites at remote and expensive sites, and erect barriers to thwart program innovations.

The CNS format was to promote workers to positions of leadership before they were 45 years of age and then retire them from the officer corps. Some organizational memory was lost, but new history was expected to be made every year by fresh heroes.

Memory in the CNS is sustained by the hands on work of its members (remembering by working through several changes of officers).

The growth of the CNS was, in part, due to the involvement of large numbers of members in its operations and in innovations introduced by fresh leadership. The program format and content was, of course, equally important.

Principle: select young leaders from the ranks of the worker bees and retire them promptly from office with thanks and token honors.

The real thanks from the CNS is derived from the satisfaction of providing unusual and willing service to the organization, refinement, or inspiration.