This year as our SUN Chapter Formation Committee began to prepare a plan of action to grow new chapters in in Red Deer, Calgary, and Fort McMurray I was struck by the magnitude of our undertaking not so much by all the work that this undertaking would entail but the change of thinking this could and would bring about.
If SUN is to truly become a provincial organization it is imperative that we have a strong voice in our sister city Calgary. For too long It has been one of the provincial boards frustrations that we did not have the resources or the know how to give the south a voice. That is about to change.
And so what is different? Everything. Seniors United Now has proven over the last three years that there is more than ever, a great need for the voice of seniors to be heard. That voice has continued to grow in Edmonton and politicians and individual Albertans are starting to take notice. Over the last two years SUN have grown from two chapters (St. Albert and Sherwood Park) to five chapters in the Edmonton area and we are now poised to form new chapters in southern Alberta and Fort McMurray.
Last year we were fortunate to have an organizational consultant expert, Mike Ayers, come in and help us to streamline, clarify and revitalize our organization so that we could more effectively realize our goals. Following that we spent the last six months re-defining and rewriting the roles and responsibilities of our organization and it has been transformational. We now know in a new way what each committee should or should not be doing and which committee should be doing what. We are still working to hone the process and as Mike said it will always be “a work in progress”.
Another major change has been the hiring of Ann Pugh Jones as executive director who comes to us with a nursing background in Continuing Care Management and experience as a teacher at Grant MacEwan College in the Holistic Health Care Program. As our Membership Committee continues to develop new chapters we become more excited to meet and greet the new people that will form our chapters. That Chapter Development Team is comprised of Ann Pugh Jones, our executive director, Wayne Sorenson, our pension expert and Denis Beaudry, chair of the Membership Committee.
What is even more amazing and reassuring is that any one of our competent board members would be capable of filling in as back-up should the need arise. A strong board will continue to drive these changes.
In summary, the real power and measure of our organization comes through chapter formation and the autonomy of all that comes with it. Your voice counts and how it is to be made known is through each and every chapter. If our goals are to be realized we need, you, the membership to help.
A new day is dawning for Seniors United Now and you can make it happen. Please contact me personally at 780-464-2871 if you are able to help form a new chapter in Red Deer, Calgary or Fort McMurray or even better show up at a meeting prepared to listen and get involved.