Two years ago I was humbled to be placed in the office of President. Now that term comes to an end and I wish to thank the association for the opportunity to serve you.
While I approached this position with fear and trepidation at that time, now as I reflect back I can truly say this has been one of the joyous experiences of my retirement years. I look out at the faces of our organization and feel that I know each and everyone one of you personally and would not hesitate to call you, “my friend.”
As Gulf Coast Writers enters into its eighteenth year and our numbers approach two hundred, the organization has many strengths: Continuing educational programs provide the interest to bring new and old members to the monthly meetings as wintertime attendance flirts around the one hundred mark. Special events such as the recent Lee County Reading Festival, which provided a venue to not only present GCWA to the public, but allowed twenty-two authors to engage in book signing competition. Likewise, last fall a similar opportunity presented itself to our authors at the Alliance for the Arts event. GCWA’s own 2012 writing contest winners will be announced today with cash prizes totaling $525. Other outlets for our member’s creativity continue to be highlighted on our web page.
If I was to have any regrets, it would be that we were unsuccessful with our efforts to promote the Play Script genre in the annual writing contest these past two years. Thank you to those who submitted their work; let’s not give up.
Many have contributed to the success of these programs this past year. Your dedication to the ongoing success of our organization is deeply appreciated. Along with the entire membership, you of the Corporate and Executive Boards know your valued contributions and to you I say, “Well done.”
Check out our GCWA website at www.gulfwriters.org, it has a revised look with a new calendar where members can post their own events. Our photographer, Denise Holbrook is now posting the photos from meetings and events to our Facebook page. And thanks to Denise, along with Michelle James and Barbara Burnett who have lent helping hands to our webmaster this year. Good news––through threat and bribe, we have convinced webmaster, Judy Loose, to continue on in this position for the immediate future.
Our bank balance is in excellent shape at over $12,000. Two years ago annual dues were reduced to $25. One future challenge for us is to find ways to reduce this balance to a more reasonable amount for a non-profit organization. The board will solicit ideas for such future programs. Perhaps investing in scholarships for young school age writers to pursue their writing careers would be one.
This month will see the “retirement” of Jan Niemen from duties as hospitality lady after many years. Thanks to her organizational talents no one has ever gone hungry from our Saturday morning affairs. Thank you so much Jan.
After many years, Joe Pacheco will be retiring from the Executive Board. Joe, your past dedication is sincerely appreciated. Due to conflicts with her work schedule, Linda Kruleski will be giving up her membership duties on the board. My personal thanks to both of you.
Both the Corporate and Executive committees have been generous with their support to me these past two years. Without them I would not be calling this a joyous experience. Thanks to all of you.
With best of regards,