The calendar says “May” but my senses are telling me it’s November… well at least as I write this it feels like that. Who has stolen spring and what have you done with it? Oh well, out of my control…
There’s plenty to share this month as we have a chance to look back on the recently completed 2011 convention in Aitkin. It wasn’t a success… it was a rousing success. Before going any further, let me again offer thanks to Bob Skogman who helped pull together a lot of the details that made this year’s event so thoroughly enjoyable. Next time you see him feel free to give Bob a pat on the back and a hearty “well done” for his efforts.
The 40 Club Inn Banquet and Convention Center was a near perfect venue for our convention, and it allowed us to conduct our business without a hitch. The sound system worked well, the room was spacious and had comfy chairs, the food was delicious and plentiful and the entertainment was wonderful. These aren’t my adjectives but those that came from many of you, either in your written evaluations or by your comments after the event. Our initial concerns about the attendance levels proved to be groundless as we actually exceeded last year’s total by a couple of bodies. Many (many) thanks to all of those folks who came early in the morning, or even the day before the convention, to help get things set up and running on time. It worked out great.
The regular business of the convention was handled efficiently, and without a hitch, as master of ceremonies Jim Oxberry (thank you, Jim) walked people through the various parts of the morning activities. From what I heard, a good many of his jokes were new.
The voting/balloting for setting issue priorities and to determine who the new Seven County officers would be went very smoothly, with results of that voting displayed on this month’s front page. Hearty congratulations go out to newly elected President Fran Levings-Baker from Pine County, as well as to our new 2nd Vice-President Patrice Winfield, also from Pine County. Both new officers have demonstrated their commitment to Seven County, and to improving the lives of people in this region as well as across all of Minnesota.
It would be remiss of me to not give credit where credit’s due. Lila Skramstad stepped down from the Seven County President’s post, having served the maximum allowable number of terms (2-2 year terms). Her energy, leadership and determination over the past four years have been instrumental in keeping the organization healthy and growing in the right direction. Lila has been a good friend to Seven County, and to me personally, something which I value immensely and hold dear. She has upheld the Seven County tradition of strong, smart, compassionate and principled leadership and has helped guide this organization with great vision. Don’t fear though, Lila will continue to grace us with her presence and insight as a valued member of our Steering Committee as Kanabec County delegate.
Before I put a bow on this note, I would like to add a little more substance to convention business, specifically the priority voting. Our issue priority voting is one of the most important parts of what we do every year, as it allows members to set the path for our next twelve (12) months of our advocacy activities. This year’s presentation of the important items (identified by the Issues Committee) was one of the best in memory. The presenters who volunteered to read the issues aloud were skilled and efficient, and the discussion among the convention delegates was excellent. It showed great understanding of the relevance of all of the issues involved and simultaneously revealed the passion felt for each critical item. That’s what makes this organization great; the ability to openly discuss the pros and cons of an issue and then move ahead for the common good, with respect for all sides and opinions. It’s truly a privilege to be part of the Seven County Senior Federation. Everyone who is part of it should feel proud of what it is and what it does… I know I do.
Finally, the healthcare debate will rage on in St. Paul and in Washington, D.C. We will stay involved and keep you up to date as you guide us through our important work in improving the lives of people by working to improve the healthcare system. It’s a tall order and we’re just the group to take it on… along with our friends and allies. Keep up your support of Seven County and its issue work; it will be well worth it in the end.
Peace… and good, affordable, quality healthcare to all!