The Newsletter of the Sea to Sky Retired Teachers' Association
The Annual Branch Report, with the ongoing business and highlights of the year 2013/14, for the Sea To Sky branch of the BCRTA:
A look back over this past year brings to mind our well attended start of the year luncheon at Furry Creek, keeping to out tradition of starting furthest away and getting closer into Squamish as the weather turns to winter.
In September Doug Morrison and I attended the BCRTA Conference and AGM in Richmond and amassed a great amount of information and respect for those who work diligently all year long on the various committees to keep BC’s retired teachers well looked after.
Our Christmas gatherings are usually well attended and jovial events, with 30 or so usually attending, but I have to say that to my mind this past Christmas’s gathering was the best yet. One reason may have been it was a week later than usual so perhaps the holiday spirit was a bit more in evidence. Gathered around the fireplace at our local Golf Club provides a festive ambiance, as does our efforts to ‘wear something red’. Also, the local school choir that once more came to serenade us with Christmas melodies changed format somewhat to include us retired teachers in some of the renditions, adding greatly to our enjoyment.
At our February luncheon we had Gerry Tiede from the BCRTA as our guest speaker. There were many comments from those in attendance about how clearly and succinctly he presented the very complex subject of accessing and using the pharmacare billing website. The 30 present found it was extremely beneficial. Lisa Hansen’s short presentation of what is available, in addition to Medoc travel insurance, from Johnsons’ Inc. was also well received.
In April Doug and I attended the Metro West Zone meeting in Vancouver. Adjacent districts shared aspects of things that work well for them, those things that have been tried but do not do well and other items that need suggestions for help. When we detailed the doings of our branch: monthly luncheons at the various local restaurants where we order off menu, monthly newsletter via email with interim bulletins issued as needed, a vibrant and multipurpose website, our members involved individually with many local, provincial and federal initiatives, we hopefully came across as being sustaining vibrant and enthusiastic, the consensus being: we do what we do and it seems to be work well and be sufficient for our membership.
Also in April, on the 22, three of us traveled to West Vancouver to meet with our federal MP, John Weston, regarding the federal government’s refusal to renegotiate a new Health Accord when the 2004 one ended at the end of March 2014. Sylvia MacLeay from West Vancouver, part of the West Vancouver, Sunshine Coast and Sea to Sky riding joined also us in our effort to urge reconsideration be given by the federal government for the need to renegotiate a new Health Accord.
In April, too, I met with and had a most enjoyable dinner in Whistler with three of the executive of the Sunshine Coast RTA. Over the years our two branches have made an alliance of sorts. It is interesting and reaffirming to commiserate over the strengths and weaknesses of our respective local branches.
The well attended May luncheon had Carl Walker, President of the Sea to Sky Teachers’ Association, as guest speaker. His comments were well received and he left knowing that the STSRTA is indeed interested in and supportive of our still active teachers, especially at this time of great political and contractual upheaval. Many of us remember well the pay increases we deferred and the effort we put into getting such things as class size and make up into contractural language only to have it later torn up.
Our June luncheon, with a nod to our members ‘in the north’ was once again in Whistler. In answer to our request for recommendations for our next September’s luncheon venue, top suggestion so far is: the restaurant at the top of the newly opened Gondola. Anyone from other branches are more than welcome to join us! We meet at noon on the first Tuesday of each month, except July and August; September’s luncheon is always, therefore, the first day back to school.
Presently we are involved with the recruitment of this year’s fourteen, a much larger group than in recent years, newly retired. We have attended both retirement functions, School Board and SSTA, at with each was presented with a package which included a membership form along with much encouragement as to why it is vital to now become a member of the BCRTA and also, if they like, the STSRTA. It is most encouraging when even those who move away to a far distance join both organizations so as to receive local news and items of importance regarding the ongoing welfare of retired teachers in a timely fashion.
Barbara Rudkin, President, STSRTA
Things continued this past year for the STSRTA in much the same pattern that has become established over the years. We meet for lunch at noon on the first Tuesday of each month, except for July and August, rotating through a variety of the restaurants available in Squamish, ordering off menu. Our district includes Britannia Beach to the south and goes north beyond Pemberton but Squamish is the main hub of population and is where the largest group of teachers retired from School District 48 (Sea to Sky) reside.
Notification of where each month's gathering will be held is made by blind copy email when our monthly newsletter has been posted on our web site, about one week prior to our monthly luncheons. This newsletter also notifies our membership of any items currently of interest to retired teachers. In addition, we make timely announcements through our email system of items that would be best not left to wait until the newsletter comes out.
Our actual membership is composed of teachers having retired from any of the schools throughout our vast district, many of whom now live elsewhere in BC, Canada and around the world. All those who are members of the BCRTA receive our newsletters and timely bulletins; they tell us they appreciate being kept informed of the goings on of the BCRTA and the STSRTA.
Over the years we have gradually been managing to increase the number of members on our executive and as of this past June's AGM have a Membership position added to our executive. Our hope is to eventually enlist vice members from our younger members to take over when those presently holding the positions are no longer able to do so.
Such advances are slow in the making, we have still only completed about our tenth year. Our membership has increased overall to over 80 and will not likely become very much larger as our years of many teachers retiring each year seem to be over. Now our newly retiring each June measure in low single digits but we still diligently make contact with and encourage each and every one to become, first of all, BCRTA members then STSRTA members regardless of where they will be residing. Most appreciate the advantage of receiving newsletters from both associations.
We greatly appreciate all that the BCTRA does on our behalf and strive to keep our members up to date on its issues and efforts. The Zone meetings continue to keep us in touch and informed of the Branches in our geographical area. And so, in our modest way, we look forward to the future.
Respectfully submitted by,
Barbara Rudkin, President