I'm one of the HAP (Horticulture Awards Program) Chairs for the CCAC. I'll try to clear up a few of your questions. I should have joined this forum sooner!
We do a lot of cichlids and livebears, but there are a growing number of plant geeks at the CCAC. We recently started the HAP and have seen great results. I know of at least a dozen people with planted tanks, and our other HAP chair Johnathan Dooley is a long time member of the AGA, runs a pond store, and is personal friends with Amano! There's pics on the website of him with Amano doing a plant tank setup demonstration while Jonathan was visiting Japan to buy koi. I'm a big plant geek myself, and I'm sure it'll only get better once I get out of the apartment I'm living in and get a more perminant place to set up shop! I recently bought an acrylic tank system from a pet store that was going out of business, very excited about getting that up and running.
As for the CCAC - you are free to attend the meetings without being a member, but you have to be a member to participate in the meeting auctions.
***The CCAC is hosting a public auction on April 30th that anyone can attend though. It is at the Holiday Inn in Beach Grove, IN (Emerson Ave. just off of 465 East). Registration begins at 8:00 am and the auction begins at 10:30. The split for sellers is 70/30 or for club members that work at least 4 hours it is 80/20. If you need directions or have any questions, our President Brian Lovins will help you out - 502-376-944.
Here's our homepage: http://circlecityaqclub.org/index.php
A year-long membership is $18 and that gets you access to a great newsletter, raffles and door prizes, monthly auctions, and an immense library. The membership is per household, for those of you lucky enough to have a significant other interested in this hobby.