|Past President||Cameron Cascon||250-748-9774|
|Heritage Committee||Len Mayea||250-746-5347|
|Lake Cowichan Rep||Eric Lundberg||250-749-3717|
COWICHAN started the year off, with what has become a tradition, by proclaiming the first day of school a TGIF Day (Thank God I’m Free!)We travelled a short distance by ferry from Chemainus to Thetis Island and through a very scenic part of our province. Once on Thetis we had a leisurely 15 minute walk to our destination where we overlooked a marina and enjoyed a lunch before traveling back to the ferry and then home. With great relief we congratulated ourselves that we have truly escaped the seemingly never ending trials & tribulations that were imposed upon us while in the trenches.
It was a wonderful day for all concerned but especially for the newly retired.We held four successful general meetings at the local golf course where we assembled and enjoyed the buffet meal prepared for us. At our AGM the elections saw a full executive containing people new to the branch. Not quite a first but still something of a rarity. A little flattery and minor arm twisting saw the various committees chaired. As president, I felt pleased to be able to leave the Branch in good, capable hands. I am not standing for re election, and after five years in harness the “baton” will be passed.We raised $2000.00 for two bursaries, all of which came from the wallets & purses of the membership. At this point our branch has raised & distributed well over $20,000.00 for bursaries to local students. Our membership is now approaching 200 retirees so that provides an indication of our collective generosity.We instituted a relationship with Thriftys’ to assist us our in our fundraising and hope to see the numbers of retirees swell the list and directly promote our presence in the community.We hosted the Lower Island regional districts for a one day session in the local teachers’ union office where we exchanged ideas & thoughts with other branches dealing with similar concerns about membership as well as activities of a local nature.
In the recent round of rotating strikes, retired teachers could be seen walking the line as well as assisting in providing snacks for the picketers. We strive to maintain good relations with active teachers in our area. I was surprised at the changes in our profession that have occurred in the 15 years I have been retired. On more than one location I was the only male picketer.In late June a representative of the CVRTA was present at the retirees’ dinner to hand out personal cards as well as BCRTA applications for membership. Finally, we gave those new to retirement a pat on the back for their service to education as well as to the community in which we live.Our Branch continues to grow and our support of practicing teachers remains strong.
There were five meetings held in 2012/13 including our popular "THANK GOD I'M FREE DAY." (TGIF) held on Thetis Island on the first day of school. We have been doing this for many years now and have always been blessed good weather. The sun shone on all the retirees present including new members.
The main speakers at the March 1 meeting were members who gave short, interesting accounts of their volunteer work in our community.
Of particular note was the climax of the Heritage Committee's report re schools now defunct in our Valley. Both local papers gave their report a lot of ink!
Once the the investigative work of "unearthing" the locations occurred the committee with the assistance of School Board staff placed "School Bell" markers on the site. The signs are prominently displayed & have added to our our historical educational background. Many of the old sites are now privately owned and we received cooperation from the owners to place them on their property.
The Heritage Committee received funding from the BCRTA which assisted the Heritage Committee in their project of purchasing signs for Heritage school sites throughout the District by awarding them with a grant for that purpose. Bob King (Chair) and all his committee are to be congratulated for their fine work.
Delegates have been selected as reps for the Sept. AGM.
The members will get a full report at our October meting & will report on these at our October General Meeting. The upcoming year has created a list presenters to (hopefully) entice more members to attend our General Meetings.
We presented two Cowichan students with a $1000 bursary each to help in furthering their studies in Education. The General Meeting on November 29 will elect the Executive for 2013/2014.
Three Executive members attended the retiring teachers ceremony in June. They were welcomed to the wonderful world of retirement and an information package was distributed to each retiree present. Non attendees received the same package by other means. A BCRTA application form was included and Email addresses were collected to keep the new retirees in the loop.
Cameron Cascon, President