Club Health via Conference, By Di

Sometimes change is painful – but without change there is no growth.
Service clubs and organizations everywhere are struggling with growing pains – trying to find a palatable way to work with multi-generational needs, wishes and desires.
In the first time since I joined Soroptimists back in 1983, we have about 7 decades represented in our membership, and that takes a lot of juggling, compromise and willingness to continue moving forward to further our mission of improving the lives of women and girls.
One of the break-out sessions at District 3 Conference in Yakima was “Member Experience: Ensuring the Thrill of Victory Rather than the Agony of Defeat.”
Former Governor Carol Hansen asked us “what’s it going to take to ensure all your players get their head in the game? If you think you can simply tell members “Just Do It” then you’re out in left field.
She encouraged us all to take a hard look at our club membership and develop strategies for an engaged membership – a positive club environment full of creativity and excitement that provides a role for each and every member.”
Another session “We’re on the Same Team so why can’t we get along?” posed this familiar scenario “You’ve decided to join a new team or a new group. You’re excited and inspired because the group are all like-minded and are working toward a common goal AND everyone seems to get along and really like each other. Everyone is going to love your enthusiasm and your ideas and you can’t wait to share AND THEN IT HAPPENS! The subtle put-downs – negative comments – eye rolls and more. You have just entered the “Mean Girls Dimension.”
We are all guilty of these actions from time to time, so it’s important that we talk about these sensitive topics and recognize that we need to work on being more inclusive. We need to be more respectful of others’ opinions and ideas, and avoid the easy retort “we’ve already tried that and it didn’t work. “Been there – done that.”
We “seasoned” members need to expand on those quick answers by explaining why something didn’t work, and our newer members could then pitch in with variations of that “old” idea using modern technology and techniques that would work today. Bottom line – there needs to be more discussion with all sides heard before we vote on important matters.
I’m definitely not saying that our Club’s traditions and legacy should be packed in mothballs and stored away forever. We need to celebrate our roots and all of the accomplishments of those who came before us. But we need to welcome the new generations and their enthusiastic ideas and energy.
So how about it fellow SI members? Let’s make this a year of rediscovery of where we came from and where we are headed – together as a fine-tuned machine. And let’s have fun doing it!!! Are you all with me?

Di