September always feels like a time of renewal. Ever since our school days, we’ve associated this month with the start of a new year, new friends, new learning experiences, new adventures. For those of us who were teachers, new curricular and bulletin boards to plan; and for the rest of us, a time when things start to get busy at work again; for parents, perhaps a time of refreshment after a busy summer with kids at home. Now that we are a little older and possibly even retired, we may miss the peaks and valleys of busyness the seasons bring, but I invite you all to experience a time of renewal with AAUW this fall.
At our September general meeting, we will again showcase our special interest groups. There will be new books to read in our book groups, more countries to learn about in Foreign Policy, new restaurants to visit, and friendships to be made and renewed, possibly over a game of bridge. Maybe you’ve had an idea for a new group? Perhaps a knitting or other craft group, a movie group, or an exercise or volunteer group? If you have an idea, please let me or interest group coordinator Joyce Wenz know.
If you would like to take a more active leadership role in our branch, there will be opportunities for you. A few board positions will be opening up this year, including that of President Elect. Serving as branch president has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and I would be happy to discuss what it entails with you. If you aren’t ready for a position yourself but want to ensure that we find capable leaders to lead our branch into the future, consider serving on the nominating committee that will be gearing up soon. I am also serving on the nominating committee for AAUW Minnesota, so if you’ve ever wanted to serve on the state board, just contact me, or be open to the opportunity when I or another committee member contact you. Of course, you can also recommend another branch member to me. A number of our branch members have served on the state board recently, including Susan Lemke, Connie Schuelka, Alice Laudon, and Diane Hellie. I’m sure they would be happy to give you an idea of the time commitment and work involved with the positions they have held.
Through AAUW we have opportunities to volunteer within our community as well. I recently attended a celebration for Rochester Reading Champions. Our branch recently contributed to this new cause. The first group of volunteers has just completed training at the Rochester Reading Center and will soon be working with youth at the Boys and Girls Club and with adults in the Adult Detention Center. Once again, our branch will be a gold-level sponsor for the Extraordinary Rochester Women Awards. Consider nominating an extraordinary woman in your life, maybe one of our branch members, for this award. Maybe you will be one of the extraordinary women honored.
I hope you’ve all had a refreshing summer and are ready to be renewed in all of our AAUW activities this September. Yes, I survived sailing on the ocean, though the “ocean” was more like a peaceful lagoon. Still for a non-swimmer from the Midwest, it was quite a personal accomplishment. I urge all of you to consider trying something new was we begin our AAUW program year.
Beth Nienow, President