John D. Williams is the executive director of the association and an expert Scrabble player. He is the national spokesperson for the game and has made television appearances on behalf of Scrabble, wrote a book on the game, and has even been involved in two documentary films on Scrabble.
In Greenport, the association answers consumer questions, creates the syndicated Scrabblegram puzzles, tests new variations of Scrabble and sells its line of Word Gear. They also help organize the National Scrabble Championship, which will take place in Orlando this August.
They also focus on running the National School Scrabble program and competition. Williams said more than one million kids participate in the program throughout the school year and some of those students compete for a $10,000 prize at the National School Scrabble Championship in Orlando in April.
As a Greenport resident, Williams said he is a proud local businessman and said at least 10 Greenport High School graduates have worked at the National Scrabble Association over the years.
Another one of the organization's function is to support community-based events throughout the country — and even participates in local events.
This weekend, Williams will get to shine locally when he participates in a festival sponsored by one of the association’s neighbors. Each January, Congregation Tifereth Israel holds a family scrabble festival that Williams participates in. His claim to fame is taking on six opponents at one time and he anticipates a repeat performance this year. Players are grouped together by age and enjoy an afternoon of friendly competition.
“It’s always a lot of fun,” Williams said.
The Family Scrabble Festival will take place at the Congregation Tifereth Israel in Greenport on Jan. 15 from 1 to 4 p.m. There is an $8 entrance fee. Players under the age of 12 are free. Prizes will be awarded.