Wednesday, May 4, 2016

President's Message

I am so proud to be a member of our Diamond State Branch and honored to serve as your President for the next two years. I returned from the NLAPW Biennial Conference in Washington D.C. this weekend with a renewed sense of belonging. What a special group of women we are in this National League! I met women from all parts of the country who are eager to share their art, their music, their writing and stories of what is going on in their Branches.  For such a small Branch, The Diamond State Branch was well represented at the National Conference.  I am so proud of the individual accomplishments of our Branch members and also proud of how we serve the Community. I don't know many other Branches can say that they are instrumental in facilitating the Scholastic Student Writing Competition for their entire State. What allot of work that is but how wonderful it is to see the talent of our State and National student winners and how wonderful to know it's because of us that it all happens in Delaware.

What was especially memorable for me this weekend was Dean and my first private tour of the Pen Arts building on 17th Street in Washington D.C. given by our own Sandra Seaton Michel. I don't know how many members have been in the Pen Arts Building but it does leave you in awe. As you may already know, Sandra and Trina had served on the National Board these past two years. Although it was not really part of their job, both have spent their own time to get the Pen Arts Library books and mounds of membership paperwork organized and under control. Their term on the National Board has ended but the work left to do at our Headquarters is great. Since we are so close to D.C., I am hopeful that members of our Branch will join me on some "service trips" down to D.C. over the next months to continue to organize our National membership records. Sandra and Trina can guide us on this mission. It's a way to become more involved on the National level without a tremendous time commitment.  We might also enlist the help of other Branches close to Washington D.C. to do the same.  When we are there we would be working but I also think it would be fun to stay in our historic Headquarter Building. Just to be in that building surrounded by all its history was so inspiring to me. And there is so much to do and see in Washington D.C. which is only a short train ride away.

In speaking with other Branch Presidents this past weekend, membership and participation issues had come up. Many Branches have similar problems as we do of dwindling membership and decreased participation from current members. Being in the Pen Arts Building this weekend and seeing boxes of now disbanded State Branches sitting on the floor in the Archives Room is a chilling reminder of what can happen to us unless we all work, participate and cultivate our Branch. Paying dues alone will not insure that our Branch will endure.  So please talk about the National League of American Pen Women and its history, support the monthly programs by attending and invite your friends to come and perhaps join even if it is at an Associate Member level. In other words, become involved in whatever way you can. The Board is looking into making some changes in meeting location and times to make it easier for members to attend. I am always open to new suggestions. 

Finally, I would like to thank all of those members who have agreed to serve in various positions on our Branch Board for the next two years. Being on the Board did allow me to meet and get to know so many of our Members that I would not have ordinarily met had I just come to meetings. We still have some positions to fill but I am confident that they can be filled soon. The President is only as effective as the people who work beside her.

Looking forward to our May 21st meeting pot luck luncheon at Sandra Michel's and planning some bonding activities over the summer months before we head off for the beach week in Rehoboth in October.

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