There will soon be pictures of yesterday's luncheon and awards ceremony on this website, but members who did not attend might be interested in Sarah's inspiring and challenging speech The next two years will be very exciting!
"When I joined the garden club as a provisional five years ago, never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be standing here today as your incoming President. Back then, I really didn’t know that much about the club and it seemed to take me a while to truly understand how it worked and how to make it meaningful for me. Being in the garden club has been a wonderful journey, like watching a flower bud emerge and open to full flower. I have learned that this club is made up of an amazing group of talented, generous people who have become my friends. The more activities I attend and the better I get to know our members the more I realize the treasure trove I have stumbled upon. I thank all of you for giving me the honor of being your President. I want to thank Sarah Stransky for her hard work and skillful management of our club for the past year and for making my transition into this role as seamless as possible.
"I offer my congratulations to our newly minted Active and Provisional members. We’re excited to have you! Given my experience as a “newbie,” a suggestion I would make to you is to get involved…really involved… with your chosen committees. The committees are the backbone of our club and by being active in them you will get meaningful work done or become educated, and better understand what the club can do for you all while having fun and making new friends! We want you to become a part of our community.
"I have a few thoughts or goals that I’d like to share with you that are foremost in my mind about how our club can be even more meaningful to you and others.
"Some of us are in the middle of our child-raising years with many demands on our time, some of us are entering the beginning of the second or third chapters of our lives…all of us, I think, want to make a difference somehow in this one life we have to live! How can we pay it forward? How can we make an impact? Many of our committees already do work that address this concept. More can address this purpose in the upcoming year. As you begin to formulate your committee plans for 2023-24, keep this in mind. As my new friend Pam Turre says, “If you’re not giving, you’re not living!”
"Climate change and the environment are serious concerns. Our club is poised to be a leader for these causes in our own community and this is how we will stay relevant in our changing world. We must lead the charge, educating our members and the public. The same old same old is not okay anymore…change is needed. This means, for example (and don’t hate me for this), introducing more native plants into our Avis Campbell Garden, investigating what native plants might work in Triangle gardens, even pledging not to use Oasis anymore in our floral designs! We are resourceful and smart GC’ers who I know will come up with a game plan of transition that will benefit our planet. Trust me, our gardens and designs will still be beautiful…just a little different. I am challenging all of us to find a way to create an Act of Restorative Kindness to our earth.
"My last goal is to integrate the Garden Club with the community in a bigger way. Whether it be more outreach to our schools, other non-profits, business districts, our parks, or the township, I’m looking to build synergistic relationships that elevate the profile of our club. I want people to know the good that the Garden Club does, the beauty it brings to others in the community through the artful use of plant material or the gorgeous Avis Campbell and Triangle gardens. Last week several of us attended the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new courtyard garden at Watchung School. This project, which our Youth Committee spearheaded and our own Cynthia Corhan-Aitkin designed, finally has been completed. It has been named the Connected Courtyard, a place where students connect with nature, each other, and the community and is home to 40 different native plant species. It was beautiful. For me, it serves as an example of exactly what I envision us continuing to pursue…building dynamic relationships between people of vision working toward a common good in the community.
"Lastly, I know that none of my goals will be achieved if we aren’t having a whole lot of fun! Our social gatherings for open gardens, programs, and philanthropic activities build camaraderie and are healthy for our minds and souls. Let’s continue this spirit of sharing and learning and creating for ourselves and others in the name of doing good and having fun!
Thank you. I look forward to serving you!"