The History of The Federation
The foundation of The Federation was built on almost a year of design and planning of the organization. It started with a call to Paramount Pictures then a return call from Gene Roddenberry to Russ Haslage, founder of the organization. Haslage searched over a number of years for a ‘Star Trek’ fan organization that focused on what made him a fan himself. After not finding such an organization, Haslage set about to create what was called “the ultimate ‘Star Trek’ fan club,’ thus prompting his call to Gene at Paramount. Mr. Roddenberry was not in to take the call, but he did call back a few days later.
During that initial call, Haslage explained his journey as a fan and the lack of a fan organization that focused on the ideals that made him a fan, then followed up with his question, “What do you think the ultimate ‘Star Trek’ fan club should do?” Roddenberry immediately asked back, “What does the crew of the Enterprise do in every episode?” After stumbling over a myriad of answers, Roddenberry helped Haslage to find the correct answer. “They go places and they help people. That is what the true ‘Star Trek’ fan club should do,” explained Mr. Roddenberry. That initial call took about 80 minutes and was filled with Haslage’s first lesson from Roddenberry.
Gene Roddenberry and Haslage worked together for 8 years in the initial design of The Federation, then on growth, tweaks and expanding the organization. “He was a tremendous teacher,” reports Haslage. “He never just stated an answer. He helped guide me so that I could find the answer and understanding the reasons and structures therein.”
After that first year of design and construction, the birth of IFT happened on June 1st, 1984, the same date as the opening of Star Trek III: Search For Spock. At the time, this small group of rebels were known as the “Ohio Federation Of Trekkers.” IFT’s first chapter, the USS Conquest, was based in Cleveland, Ohio. The organization’s principal newsletter, the “Federation Log,” contained information about the club, Trek related events, and editorial comments.
What started off rather small grew beyond the boundaries of the state of Ohio and into other states and countries. This growth was instrumental in legally changing the organization’s name to what is now known as the “International Federation Of Trekkers.” In the late 1980s IFT defined its position and changed its newsletter from the “Federation Log” to the “IFT Newsletter.” This new publication featured articles on the environment, space programs from around the world, and education.
The club also changed and improved its logos and graphics knowing that they would lead the way to a greater awareness of the organization and its purpose. IFT’s founding chapter was renamed as well, changing the name from the USS Conquest to the USS T’HY’LA (a Vulcan word meaning “more than friends”). A fictional history was created to better define the role of the Star Trek chapters as they relate to the fictional vessels of Starfleet in this Star Trek Universe that has grown so much in the past 30 years.
Since The Federation’s beginnings, the organization has proven that change is a good thing, and that only through change can any organization meets the needs of it’s membership. On April 23, 1992, the IFT incorporated itself to reflect the organization’s real world stance. The IFT newsletter was again changed to a publication called “Voyages,” allowing a broader perspective on Trek related events, club information, and articles ranging from environmental issues to public awareness and space programs. Other areas were affected by the incorporation process as well, such as the complete restructuring of the IFT’s command level and legal aspects of IFT’s position in the real world.
Through all of the changes in The Federation, one thing remained the same: The Federation PURPOSE! This purpose:
“To promote the humanistic philosophies and ideals portrayed in the Star Trek myths in a realistic fashion conducive to the continued existence and responsible advancement of human kind. To provide, promote, and support education and positive legal activism in the area of human rights, racial and sexual equality, environmental causes, and space exploration. To promote a more positive impression of Star Trek fans as intelligent, socially conscious, active individuals who are aware and concerned about the real world today.”
The Federation is a nonprofit corporation. Our EIN is 34-1705959. Donations to the organization are tax deductible.
This brief history was prepared so that all members and non-members of The Federation and beyond could have a perspective on how real a dream can be and how far dreams can take you. The Federation was once a dream and with each passing day, the dream portrayed in Star Trek can and will become obtainable.