Following last year’s AGM we hosted a Regional U3A meeting which discussed members’ access to other U3A groups. Our most recent Regional meeting held earlier this month formalised free access to other Regional U3A groups. With the growth of U3A branch websites, members will have information describing courses run by other groups, I currently have a member who is travelling from Beechworth to join my history class. If you are interested in joining a course run by another U3A please contact me.
Beverley Lee, Barry O’Connor, and Terry Dillon have brought our web site up to date and Beverley is working with Barry to introduce a replacement web site.
Accommodation and security of tenure at the Centre has been a major issue over a number of years. Twelve months ago Executive members met with the Benalla Council Executive Officers to discuss our concerns of finding a secure home for our U3A. Whilst the meeting was very encouraging nothing constructive was achieved as the Council was unable to fund any redevelopment of sites they own.
Benalla College which owns the Barkly St site which is also home to the Centre is planning to re-develop its senior campus. I recently met the College Principal and have been assured that we will have secure tenure until the senior campus is re located; which would not be till at least another two and a half years.
The November Meet and Mingle is when we get a chance to see the creations of our Patchwork group and hear our Singing groups in action. For a number of years we have been holding Meet and Mingle sessions at the Senior Citizens. There was some consternation when we were refused access to the piano, but Joyce Borschmann negotiated our use of the piano and we had a wonderful morning which was a “sell out”!
We had already been reviewing our use of the Seniors for Meet and Mingle sessions, poor acoustics especially for those who use hearing aids and a drop in attendance have resulted in the decision to relocate this year to our “home” in W4.
Noel Meagher once more organized the Christmas lunch which was held in beautiful surroundings near Myrtleford. We were blessed with good weather and sold out the bus; it was a wonderful way to finish the U3A year.
I want to thank all our tutors and convenors, I am often asked how much U3A pays tutors? Many people fail to realise we rely upon members to run courses and our rewards are the pleasure we obtain in our continued mutual learning. A number of our tutors and convenors decided to step down at the end of the year. Elva Rush and Marj Law retired from the Film and Literature group but the class was able to continue with James Casey as the new leader.
Rupe Cheetham and Margaret Walshe decided it was time to retire from running the Astronomy class, of which they were both founder members. Class members Bev Morton and Jan Andrews have taken on the task of convening the group.
We were pleased to be able to offer three new courses this year. We had been asked to run a “Comparative Religion” class and Laurence Neal who tutors for Wangaratta U3A is running it for us. Ian McLeod’s “Making the Most of the Internet” was over-subscribed, but Ian accepted a very large class for this, his first venture as a tutor! Geraldine and Lorraine are hosting “Let’s Talk Books,” which meets in the new Library.
We held two enrolment days this year, the second being held at Cooinda. Both were judged a success and we will hold similar days next year. Currently we have 20 new members giving us approximately same membership numbers as last year.
In this my first year as President I have had tremendous support from our committee. I particularly want to thank Geraldine in her role as “Past-President” in guiding me and my Vice President Pamela for her many contributions over the last year, especially in relation to our accommodation problems. Pamela has been a member of the committee for 5 years and is involved in leadership roles with other voluntary organizations. Pamela is now resigning from our committee and I want to thank her for a job well done.
Lorraine agreed to stay on as Secretary when I became President. I rely on her knowledge of U3A and our members.
I want to thank Judith Borthwick who steps down as Publicity Officer (and will also relinquish her role as editor of the Newsletter later this year). It seems Judith really is irreplaceable as we have no-one to take on these jobs.
Corrie Witlox will retire as our valuable Treasurer! We are lucky to have Bill Parris primed to take on this task. Both Corrie and Judith are going to serve on the Committee for another term.
Carole Marple, Barry O’Connor, Pamela O’ Connor and Jennifer May have resigned from the Committee and I want to thank them for their contributions. Barry has offered to remain available to help the computer committee.
Dorothy Webber and Bill Parris will join our Committee, but we need additional help as we have no Vice President and need a Newsletter editor and a Publicity Officer. Please consider whether you could help.
On behalf of the Committee I hope you all enjoy another year with U3A.