news1.jpg

2021-2022 — Sue Young, Chair

Thanks to the dedication of our previous creative Communications Chair, Amy South, and our technologically gifted President, Florence Leyssène, we can report that the Club flourished during COVID-19, thanks to the electronic tools of Zoom, email, the new website, and the extraordinary skills of our photographers: Barbara Baletti, Victoria Herrera, Wendy Stahl, Claire Stepleton, Michele Tomasik, Susan Yu, and many others.


Early this year, like Punxsutawney Phil, we emerged cautiously from our lockdown to meet again for multiple events and to record these get-togethers on our new website. This website, which won the GCNJ's Hanover Garden Club Trophy (presented to a member club "for a successful, innovative project of merit that does not apply for an award under any other category") marks a new addition to our communication arsenal. As well as our informative weekly email (thank you Fran Wong!), and our rich and illuminating Potpourri (thank you Terri Breen, Claire Stepleton and Karen Whitehaus!), we have added many new features to our website, including last year's entire Yearbook.
 

Our goal has been to make it easy for all our Members with varying levels of social media experience to: view the site on a phone or a laptop; access a constantly updated calendar; use a searchable directory of all Members, from Active to Provisionals to Emeriti; receive immediate posts about anything and everything in their email inboxes as events happen; browse through two years of committee reports; keep up with changing information about workshops and programs; watch sophisticated how-to videos (thank you Debbie Moran, Florence Leyssène, and Floss O'Sullivan!); enjoy slideshows and galleries of shared events; check out all award winners back to 1987 (soon to stretch to our founding in 1926); and feel comfortable that security has been upgraded to the highest level.
 

Use of the site has been growing throughout the year, and we want all our Members to feel that our electronic forms of communication add to our central tenets of Education, Beautification, and Fellowship.

Email — Fran Wong

​Even through the COVID-19 pandemic, The Garden Club of Montclair has worked hard to maintain an active calendar and keep its Members engaged. This necessitates adequate communication in order to be successful. Given the need to be flexible during the ever-changing challenges of maintaining the activities of the Club during the pandemic, weekly emails have become essential to keep the membership informed and up to date. Whenever possible, articles and notices are congregated to avoid encouraging a common habit of ignoring email due to high volume. Attractive stationery is used to bring attention to the content. When we send information, we want Members to read it!


Every effort is made to make sure current email addresses are maintained and undelivered email is investigated and resent. Membership cooperation in notifying the Club of changes is always appreciated and is critical to the mission. Unfortunately, some Members have recently experienced delivery failures for unknown reasons. Some have found Club emails in their spam folders, but others have been unable to determine the problem. Members should expect a weekly update email between September 1 and June 1 and check their spam folder if necessary. Problems should be reported to the Club email address: gardenclubofmontclair@yahoo.com. Emails are sent on an as-requested basis during the summer months. 

 

Finally, incoming emails to the Club email address were distributed to the appropriate individuals for their action.

finial.jpg

Communications Committee Reports

Email reports are included by year, below. See also Potpourri editions and committee reports

2020-2021 — Amy South, Chair

Traditionally, Communications reports on current and future Club activities but because of COVID, we were re-directed to design a process to share individual photos for competitions anonymously. We also worked closely with Workshops to help share communications regarding workshops and fabulous videos produced by Floss O’Sullivan, Florence Leyssène, and others. Floss O’Sullivan also created an invaluable step-by-step video tutorial on completing an entry form.

 

I am so impressed by the energy and dedication of those who continued to create magic in Avis Campbell Gardens, the Triangle Gardens, Garden Therapy, Workshops, Programs, Youth, Open Gardens and more! Additionally, thanks to Deborah Hirsch, we were able to grow our Membership during a year of lockdown. Special thanks to the photographers who jumped in and shared photos: Barbara Baletti, Claire Stepleton, Susan Yu, Marilyn Zaret, Michele Tomasik, and others.

 

My successor, Sue Young, helped us work around the frustrating challenge of an “absent webmaster” to post on our website a new dues renewal form with a Paypal link. She is very experienced with website design and her determination and wit will surely benefit the Club. It has been my pleasure to transition Sue and I look forward to staying on the Committee to help with the website rebuild. Recently, at the request of the Ways and Means Committee, we added a 'DONATE' button that will hopefully catch the attention of website visitors — more to come!

 

Thanks to Celia Radek for supplying Yearbook content for the annual website update. Thank you to our President, Florence Leyssène, for her knowledge and leadership during this challenging period. Her knowledge and experience, coupled with a kind heart, have helped make all we do possible. I am thankful for this amazing organization and feel inspired by the talents, energy, and dedication of our members. My heart is exceptionally heavy when I reflect on the many losses and hardships this past year but my mind is bright with the future of our extraordinary Club. Thank you to all — it is my honor to have served as your Communications Chair and I confidently pass the baton to Sue Young.

Email — Fran Wong

The Club is fortunate to have a robust calendar and Active membership and this necessitates adequate communication in order to be successful. Given the need to be flexible during the ever changing challenges of maintaining the activities of the Club during the pandemic, weekly e-mails were instituted to keep the membership informed and up-to-date. Whenever possible, articles and notices were congregated to avoid encouraging a common habit of ignoring email due to high volume. Appealing stationary is used to attract attention to the content. When we send it we want members to read it!

 

Email notices and reminders have become essential to keeping the membership informed and engaged. Every attempt is made to make sure current addresses are maintained and undelivered email is investigated and resent. Membership cooperation in notifying the Club of changes is always appreciated and is critical to the mission.

 

Finally, incoming messages to the Club email address were distributed to the appropriate individuals for their action.

finial.jpg

2019-2020 — Amy South, Chair

Communications has continued to report to local papers, publications and social media regarding both our future activities and our accomplishments. lnstagram continues to be a very useful tool to spread word about events and highlight our accomplishments.

 

We continue to use Smugmug for photo storage. I would like to thank Susan Yu, Marilyn Zaret, Susan Straten, Michele Tomasik, Barbara Baletti, and Victoria Herrera for helping cover photographing events. Claire Stepleton continues to provide wonderful, consistent support with photography and tech related questions.

 

The temporary transition to Van Vleck for some of our events this year went smoothly in the communications arena. Attendance was strong for the fabulous Programs which might suggest that the publicity with the Montclair Local, Montclair Times, Baristanet, and Facebook was helpful. We supported some of our partners with advertisements in publications (Montclair Art Museum, Van Vleck, and 'May in Montclair'). Unfortunately, the pandemic brought a halt to all events (March -June) but we did submit a 1/8 page ad to the ·"We Care" section of the Montclair Local in support of the community and "May in Montclair".

 

The website requires a considerable amount of time to be updated and I appreciate all the assistance provided by Claire Stepleton. We will continue to share interactive forms (dues and Annual Luncheon responses) and to take payment on line via credit cards (with a nominal fee) through the website.

 

Some future goals are to increase Membership engagement with the website and to work with Claire Stepleton to update the History and Award information. Thanks to Celia Radek for supplying Yearbook content for the annual website update.

 

This year was exceptionally complicated by Covid-19 and our temporary move to Van Vleck. I am thankful to Florence Leyssène for her knowledge and leadership as President during these challenges and I look forward to another year as Communications/Publicity VP. I am thankful for my Membership and feel inspired by the talents, energy, and dedication of Garden Club members.

Email — Fran Wong

The Club is fortunate to have a robust calendar and active Membership and this necessitates adequate communication in order to be successful. At least two blast emails were sent each month during the year. Whenever possible, articles and notices were congregated to avoid encouraging a common habit of ignoring email due to high volume. Attractive stationery is used to attract attention to the content. When we send it we want members to read it! Special invitations such as that to the Holiday Tea were also sent.

 

Email notices and reminders have become essential to keeping the Membership informed and engaged. Every attempt is made to make sure current addresses are maintained and undelivered email investigated and re-sent. Membership cooperation in notifying the Club of changes is always appreciated and is critical to the mission.

 

Finally, incoming emails to the Club were distributed to the appropriate individuals and Committee Chairs for their action.

finial.jpg