Passing on the Gavel

After three years I passed on the president’s gavel to someone new. Some days it didn’t seem like three years while other days it seemed like a lifetime. I have written before about becoming president of the local chapter of school retirees.

Three years ago I was asked by the then president if I would take over the position when her term came to an end. I am more of a follower than a leader and I am not really comfortable speaking in front of groups of people, unless it was my students and then I had no problem talking. However, there was no one stepping up and if we didn’t have a president there was a danger that our chapter could fold. After thinking about it and discussing it with Kathy I said yes. I figured I could handle two years. Kathy also agreed to be my co-president so I felt more comfortable with that.

The first year was uneventful. I prepared for and conducted our 9 monthly Board meetings. I attended the two yearly Region meetings. I participated in one House of Delegates meeting, and I attended two Region general membership meetings, co-hosting one of them.

As our second year as co-presidents began so did the Covid crisis. All of a sudden all monthly in-person meetings were canceled. Virtual meetings were going to be the new norm. All well and good, but I knew nothing about virtual meetings. What is Zoom? How do I set up meetings on Zoom? How do I invite members to join? How do I let them in? Well, I learned and I learned quickly. Really wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be.

For one year we held all our meetings virtually. Year two was coming to a close and I would soon be able to pass on leadership responsibilities to our president-elect. Then a monkey wrench was thrown into the mix.

At our Fall Region meeting last year it was requested by our headquarters that those who were in a leadership position stay there for another year. The reason was that they felt that since we were in at the beginning of the Covid crisis and that we were familiar with running things during a pandemic it would be easier for all if we just stayed in place instead of having someone new take over. OK, I was not prepared for this. I was looking over to passing on the gavel. Kathy and I discussed it and we agreed to stay on for one more year providing our Board would be willing to keep us in the position. Well, they did. Imagine that.

Now that things are a bit back to normal it is time to move on. At out general membership meeting last Thursday our president-elect was installed as our new president. She will take over the reins on January 1, 2022. I have one more Board meeting to prepare for, next Wednesday, since we typically don’t meet in December.

Am I ready to move on? Yes. Will I miss the position? Yes, a little. Did I learn things about myself during the last three years? Definitely.

14 Comments

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14 responses to “Passing on the Gavel

  1. jumpofffindwings

    Bittersweet, now that your tenure is over, but “Congratulations! ” Your organization is so large that you actually have a “Retirees” branch? That is not the case for us here in Oregon. I am amazed at what I am learning as President-Elect, retiree that I am.

  2. Terje

    You have done well. I have no doubt that after you pass on the leadership to someone else you will still be there to support in any way possible. Remember to make cake for the last meeting. 🙂

    • The church where we meet always serves a senior lunch on our meeting days. I have all that I need to make a pumpkin upside down cake since they will be serving a Thanksgiving meal.

  3. Three years of service is a long time, especially at this time. You can still participate and serve.

    I wish leadership in our local association of retired educators rotated, but the same person has been in power for many years. The organization itself feels more like an extension of the dominant religion. I went to two meetings and de used that was enough.

    • That is too bad. We elect a new president every two years. Because of the pandemic we stayed in for three and our new president will stay for three so that we can be back on track.

  4. Congratulations! I’m sure that you are leaving your group in good hands and that your leadership has been welcome for the last three years. Congratulations on one ending . . .
    now what will you do with your extra spare time???

  5. Congratulations to the new president – and to you for carrying on through a difficult time. It’s good to serve, but it is also good to get a break from service.

  6. Lainie Levin

    There is something to be said for letting a responsibility or an obligation go. Yes, there is a release of control that feels not-quite-right, but then there is (hopefully) also the relief to accompany it. Congratulations to you on the time, effort and heart you gave. Now take a breath, and enjoy it along with a favorite tasty beverage. =))

  7. It sounds like you did a great job. It’s hard to move on, but it sounds like you were ready. Good luck with your next adventure!

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