Good evening Soroptimist Peterborough members. We warmly welcome our guests Lynn Zimmer and Julie Garvin from the Y this evening as we celebrate the achievement of of our goal set 5 years ago now – to donate $25,000 over a 5 year period to the Safe Haven Campaign to rebuild the CrossRoads shelter.
Lynn will be speaking to us later this evening and will in addition to accepting the cheque will bring us up to date on the activities and program at the Y which we can use as we “dream” our next dream in partnership with them.
Wow…October and November have been busy months for our Board and for our membership. There has been a lot of work going on behind the scenes with budget preparation, brainstorming on fundraising (in the absence of a lead for the committee), new public awareness initiatives, Award “launchings” — getting our info out to those we can assist, the clean-up of our Tulip Garden sign at Crary Park (which was completed earlier this week), the Fall Area Meeting, and the SFC AGM in Winnipeg….ok…now I really am tired! And….as they say…we’ve only just begun….
But therein lies our challenge – to not give up, but to keep going….to learn how to give, but still take care of ourselves, and to continue to dream our dreams for the women we serve.
Speaking of the Fall Area Meeting and the AGM, we were awarded several awards & recognition at these events, and I am pleased to share them with you.
From Eastern Canada Region’s Fall Area Meeting:
- Certificate of Participation from SIA via Eastern Canada Region Governor Margaret Gilbey, to recognize our Region as one who has 100% of their clubs participating in the Women’s Opportunity Award (WOA) program.
- Dreamers Level Certificate for our club’s financial donation last year to SOROPTIMIST INTERNATIONAL OF THE AMERICAS (SIA) in support of programs & awards
From the SFC AGM:
- Certificate for our financial donation last year to the SOROPTIMIST FOUNDATION OF CANADA (SFC)
When I look around this room I am thrilled to be leading our organization, working alongside women with vision, who understand that it takes patience to change an organization our size, but who are daring enough to step out and “tell our story”. Cat and some of her team spear-headed and did this last week and earlier today, and this afternoon there was a piece on the “Daily Show” at 5pm on CHEX, along with Lynn Zimmer. Thank you Lynn, and Julie for your help in organizing this –we do not want to be “the best kept secret” – we want to shout from the rooftops about the work that we do and the women that we serve.
As I contemplated our theme for this evening, I couldn’t help but consider Remembrance Day, and I am going to share a short video with you in honour of this. I have been thinking a lot about our friend, Esther Might, and about our family’s “Aunt Isobel who proudly and courageously served abroad during the Second World War, only to return home to face discrimination – service men were given priority over them in finding affordable housing once back in Canada. I particularly liked this video as it does portray women in service where many do not. As our Canadian military continues to serve abroad, we must realize that we will have women returning from their tours with issues such as PTSD and as a society we must ensure that they have the services to support them. For we cannot forget….we must always remember. Thank you ladies.
I don’t’ want to take up too much time with President’s remarks this evening, since they are also included in this month’s Soroptimissive. I would like once again to recognize both Marian and Joyce for the exceptional job that they do in the production of our newsletter. On behalf of all of you….we so appreciate it! The balance of my remarks will be to remember our friend Rita, who passed away a week ago Sunday evening. I heard from several folks around the Region offering condolences to us, as her club mates. Rita was usually smiling, and was always willing to lend a helping hand in whatever activity we had going. I would like to share a few words from Joan Moyer, a past SI Peterborough President. Her sentiments echo many of ours.
Thank you very much for letting me know of Rita’s sudden passing. I will miss her.
My birthday was last Friday the 13th and I had a nice cheery card from her. I was planning to phone her and thank her and have a chat. Now it’s too late!
I’m glad she was busy up to the end and was able to spend her last evening with family who were always very important to her.
Rita was always very special to me. When she retired and moved to Peterborough, I was club president, and I remember picking her up and taking her along to her first SIP meeting.
On a personal note, when I was a member of SI HCVB, the members always talked about this Peterborough member named Rita, who used to be “one of theirs, you know.” When I said I was moving to Peterborough in 1988, I was told by Dorothy Smith, my Soroptimist mentor, that I was really lucky since now I would get to meet and be Rita’s friend, too.
We were all very fond of Rita, and as we approach Thanksgiving, I am thankful that she didn’t have to struggle through another hospital stay, and yet more debilitating health issues. In remembrance of her, I asked for members to share some photos which several of you did, along with our good friend, Flora Francis from Eastern Canada Region. If all goes well, they should circulate around twice while we listen to Rita’s favourite crooner….good ‘ol Frankie!
It’s hard to believe that my time as President has finally come. I have very big shoes to fill, and I am honoured to be following other women such as Catalina, Dianne Nielsen, Marney, Mary-Lynn, Eileen, Jane Crane, Julie Bell, RoseMary, Maureen, Dianne Hutchison, and Eleanor Carroll as well as many others in this role. These women are & have been role models in leadership, and I am happy to call many of them my friends. I can recall times when a few of them wondered in conversation how they would get through their “time” much as I am wondering the same now. Where will the ideas come from? How will we make our mark? What is our vision? Will I do the club proud? I know that the answer is…as it was with each of them….ideas will come from your members if you just listen…communicate your vision while staying true to our mission as Soroptimists, and our collective “mark” will take care of itself. Trust! OK…I will.
The truth is, that we we have already been active working and learning thus far in our 2013-2014 year. We gathered in July on a rainy Sunday afternoon for a “garden” party to meet Dr. Donna Swift, a Trent grad, now a social anthropologist from NZ. She has completed a landmark study called The Girls Project in NZ, and is sharing her findings across the world. Through our gathering, she connected with a Soroptimist from England, Jackie, who was visiting Liz Custard, a friend in Brooklin (who is now SIKL’s newest member!), and Donna and Jackie are making plans to connect once again. I am grateful for all of you who were able to make it that day to share in the fellowship and awareness that Soroptimist brings.
Thank you so much to all who were in town, or who returned from cottages and trips and were able to volunteer at WolfStock (AKA WakeFest, WolfFest). I hope that we all came away with our hearing but probably no additional appreciation for some of the “music”—the request for earplugs has been duly noted for next year! A special “shout-out” goes to our Soropti”Misters” who filled in some vacancies for us.
We are so very close to having our website “live”. If you visit www.soroptimistpeterborough.ca you will see the work in progress, but there is a banner that indicates that it is “under construction”. We can’t underestimate the impact of getting our website “live”. We can spotlight our sponsors for events, share news, offer an opportunity to make a donation to our mission, or give visitors to the site an opportunity to become a volunteer or a member. More on that later in the meeting. Many thanks to Sharon Paxton, one of our guests this evening for all of her work on this project.
My vision/plan for the next two years has been rumbling around for quite some time, and as you know I have had more time to think this past summer, which was an unexpected gift. I don’t have it wrapped in a neat package as yet… I want to meet with the Board and the Program team later this month. I know that I approach the next 2 years from a place of thankfulness and gratitude for each of you, for our community, and for our organization. I have been inspired by Malala, by a young lady named Hannah, and by the work of the Canadian Women’s Foundation. I have an appreciation that as Soroptimists, we MAKE a difference, sometimes in what we might consider little ways but also in significant ways if we dare to dream. We don’t have to work alone. I challenge you to look around, listen and watch for the “opportunities”, have the courage to speak out, write a note, hold a hand…whatever it takes. We can have collective impact….We change lives…one woman…one girl, at a time. Be inspired!