AGM 2017 Report
Report Sent to Huron-Perth Christophers by area chair Steve Pinney:
Good day to all Huron-Perth Christophers!! This past weekend, October 13 to 15 it was my privilege to once again represent the Huron-Perth Area at the Lumen Annual General Meeting in Burlington Ontario. The hosts, Hamilton Area, were also celebrating their 60th anniversary of operation.
AGM weekends are always as important for the chance to spend time with a great group of dedicated caring people as they are for the meeting itself. The theme was “Let the Christopher Spirit Soar” Lumen President Tom O’Neill gave a very positive address, remaining very optimistic about the future of Christophers, and urging the group to do the same. The Friday Area Chair reports were up-beat and positive stories of the Areas dealing with the more difficult reality of getting courses running these days, but keeping things going in spite of it. Unfortunately, the tough times have taken another victim, with the Toronto West Area closing its doors in the past year. On the other side, there is a group in Calgary now trying to resurrect Christophers in that city, with the help of the Red Deer Area. The evening workshop dealt with creating alternative warm-ups that serve the same function as the ones currently used in the manual. The results were actually quite good. The hospitality suite at the end of the night was a great chance to get caught up with people that you have not seen for a year, and yet are always like your best friends ever.
The Saturday Annual Meeting went quite smoothly. Last year, motions were adopted that gave the Board a mandate to spend financial reserves towards any effort that they felt would help our student enrolment issues, and directed them to prepare a plan for terminating the organization if that becomes necessary. President O’Neill reported on the Board’s activities in those two areas. Both have been dealt with responsibly, and results have been achieved, most notably a brand new website now in place, largely due to the efforts of our own Dave Scott.. As an organization, we now have a much better presence on social media, as well. We are advertising on Google, in part as a result of a Google grant. After much deliberation, the Board have decided to contact a legal insurance organization. The purchase of this insurance will provide access to the legal advice they need to plan for winding down the organization if required.
Elections were held. Dave Scott and Tom O’Neill remain as Past President and President for a second term. There was an election for Vice-President; the first in some time. Marcel Soucy from Ottawa was elected. Natalie Neville and Mike Lee, both from the Eastern Region, retired from the Board, and were replaced by two new People from Fredericton; the only truly active Area in the east now. The Board now consists of 2 Directors from each Region, plus one National Director, plus the Executive Secretary and Treasurer, for a total of 9 people. This was a cost saving measure introduced last year. No Area stepped forward to host AGM 2018, so the role of host now falls to the Lumen Board itself. The meeting will be held at the same hotel in Burlington as this year, on the first weekend of November 2018. There was considerable discussion about a motion to increase the opportunities for election to the Board by nomination from the floor at the meeting, by eliminating the Director Nominee concept, and making any Lumen voting member eligible for nomination and election. Ultimately, the motion was withdrawn, as the discussion made it clear that the motion wording was not clear enough to avoid multiple interpretations of the meaning.
The Saturday afternoon workshop was an open discussion of problems the Areas are encountering with running the course. The first question was relevant to our own current experience…how do you handle smaller classes? Several other questions were asked and discussed. The results were recorded and should be available to all Areas sometime soon.
The Saturday evening banquet featured a multi-course Italian meal…very tasty. The key note speaker was Hamilton Christopher Frank Sergi’s daughter, who is now a medical doctor working in a very stressful hospital environment, and who spoke about stress management techniques. Board gifts and Retiring Director pins were presented. Dance music was provided by Reflection; the same group who have played for us twice before in this venue. A great group. The evening ended with another visit to the hospitality suite, where Dave Scott was playing guitar and singing. Always a pleasant time for everyone. Yours truly was not able to stay long, due to responsibilities the following morning.
For Sunday morning, I had agreed to act as MC, and to organize the actual Closing Ceremonies. The workshop was titled Christopher Elevator Talk, and focussed on practice with word-of-mouth presentation of course information in various impromptu settings. Participants were given a scenario, and prepared a short skit to demonstrate how the conversations might go. Very practical use of our time. The Closing Ceremonies were fairly traditional, including President’s remarks, photo collage from the weekend, exchange of the official AGM banner, the national song, and the flag recessional. The “creative element” was a chance for each person to write on a post-it note what “the Christopher Spirit” meant to them, and tell the group, before posting their thought on an AGM logo poster. A short exercise, but one that hopefully caused everyone to reflect on what drives them to keep working at presenting the Christopher Course to people who need it. Lunch and the usual good bye hugfest followed, then off home for some extra sleep.
As always, a very pleasant experience; one that I recommend for all Christophers.
Area Chair and Member-at-Large