More Online Resources in Development

After a successful launch of our new BCRTA website, we are moving toward a series of new services to better connect members to BCRTA programs and to their local branches.

Our consultant, Tim Anderson of Alphabet Communications, and the IT subcommittee have already released new features on the website for staff and the Board of Directors. Next steps will include the addition of log-in privileges and dedicated resources for our branch executives. The goal is to eventually grant secure, private access to all BCRTA members, giving them the ability to manage their account preferences themselves. Of course, our staff will always be available to support member needs as well.

Quite a few branches have their own websites, and we have been including their information in our branch listings at www.bcrta.ca/branches. Our IT team is actively developing a platform that will allow branches to make their websites fit smoothly within the BCRTA system, and to manage their own member lists through connection with the BCRTA membership list. The idea is to provide the necessary technical services, along with an easy-to-use website system, so that local branches can focus on putting out the content their members want to see without having to manage complex technicalities on their own. If your branch is interested in benefiting from this initiative, contact the office and let us know.

Communications Committee members are hearing much positive feedback about the improvements made to our website, and are excited about the further improvements that are in the works.
The PostScript and BCRTA Connections subcommittees have been developing policies, procedures and guidelines covering the solicitation, submission, editing and general quality of articles and other material for those publications. The subcommittees have also been researching fair rates and rules to govern ads in our publications—something new for the BCRTA.

A particular focus for the Communications Committee is how we can work together to attract new members, and to keep the members that we have through continually improving the attractiveness and helpfulness of our publications. If you, dear reader, have suggestions, we’d love to hear from you!

Bob Taverner
Communications Committee Chair

BCRTA Meets Active Teachers

The BCRTA had a very effective presence at the March Annual General Meeting of the BCTF. Our table was perfectly placed in terms of traffic flow, and we were able to speak with representatives of BCTF locals around the province. We may even have a new branch in the making!

In terms of our BCRTA Strategic Plan, we are working on a membership structure that will encourage pre-retirement teachers to join, participate in our benefits and Advantage Partner offerings and then make a seamless transition into BCRTA membership at retirement. This initiative is part of the development of a comprehensive membership orientation package detailing BCRTA member services and advantages of BCRTA membership.

We are looking for a possible name for our pre-retirement membership category. If you have any great ideas, please forward them to Steve at sdbailey504@gmail.com. Some names already suggested include “Pre-Flight Member”, “Active Associate Member”, “Priority Associate of the BCRTA”, “Member-in-Waiting”. We await your ideas not only for a name, but for any aspects of pre-retirement membership you might think of.

We are also continuing our “One Year Complimentary Membership” initiative during the coming year. This initiative has resulted in a significant growth in BCRTA membership during the past months.

We are pleased to announce the addition of Travel Agency Tribes to our Members’ Advantage Program. Watch for a link coming soon to the BCRTA website. Travel Tribes searches for the best travel deals across several providers and will be a good addition to our existing travel partners. Please be advised that First Memorial / Dignity Memorial is no longer partnered with the BCRTA and the BCTF. Existing contracts will be honoured.

We need your ideas in another membership area. We are looking at the melding of provincial and branch membership fees, moving to a new single fee rate for all members that includes branch membership at no extra charge. This would mean one standard membership fee with ability to join more than one branch, perhaps declaring one branch as their “home branch” for purposes of Branch Membership Grants. Any thoughts you have on this possibility are appreciated.

A big thanks to George Main, former Membership Committee member and current member of the Communications Committee for re-designing our Branch Membership Enhancement Guide for posting on the BCRTA website. The revised guide should be on-line sometime in May. Speaking of using our BCRTA website to enhance the BCRTA branch experience, please make sure you send a copy of your branch newsletter to Kristi at the BCRTA office, and plan to make it a part of your posting on your branch site on the BCRTA website so that all branches have access to your ideas for branch activities.

 

Steve Bailey, Chair, Membership Committee

Excellence in Education Update

The Excellence Committee asks Branches to remind teachers in their area that the “Golden Star Awards” deadline of April 15th is fast approaching.  We have received a number of applications and are hoping to receive many more in the coming days.

Another date to remember for Branches is June 1st,  “Intergenerational Day”- a day to celebrate and focus on activities that involve seniors and youth.

In 2016 the BC School Trustees Association proclaimed June 1st as “Intergenerational Day” in perpetuity, and your local School Trustees may be looking for ways to celebrate this year.  The Excellence Committee will be sending out a number of suggestions that you may find helpful to mark this day. Look for details in the next BCRTA Connections.

Heritage Fund Recipient Wins Award

The Heritage Committee reported that one of the recipients of funding from the BCRTA has won an award!

The Prince George Retired Teachers Association’s Heritage Committee won the Jeanne Clarke Award for Local History for their work “Historical Memories: People, Places, Programs and Services”.  The Jeanne Clarke Memorial local history award is awarded by the Prince George Public Library Board in memory of Jeanne Clarke, a former library board chair who helped establish the Prince George Public Library’s local history collection.

The award went to the Prince George Retired Teachers’ Association for their work on a four-part series which features all 138 former and present School District 57 schools.  The work included the schools’ history, including programs, activities and enrollment numbers, staff lists, photos of students, teachers and buildings, and shared memories submitted by former staff and students.  Tiiu Noukas, co-chair of the Heritage Committee for the Prince George Retired Teachers’ Association was featured on the front page of the Prince George Citizen newspaper on February 20 2018, as she posed with the award and a copy of Historical Memories.  Noukas co-edited the book with Kris Nellis, who is a co-chair of the Heritage Committee for the PGRTA. Funding was given by the BCRTA Heritage Committee.

Interested in a Heritage Grant?

The Heritage Committee also reminds the branches that applications for Heritage grants are due by May 1st, with information available from the website at bcrta.ca/heritage

 

From left to right: Lynne, Louisa, Janice, Diane, Barb and Cheryl

Finance Committee March Report

Committee Members:  Grace Wilson,  Bob Taverner,  Stefan Cieslik, Charan Gill,  Arnie Lambert, Barb Mikulec, Patricia Clough

The Finance Committee has completed a review of the expense procedures.  New or revised procedures have been approved by the Board and will be included on an updated expense form for Board approval.  These procedures will also be incorporated into the BCRTA Handbook.

Rob McLaren, past treasurer of the BCTF, spoke to the committee about investing outside of GICs.  The sub committee has taken his information under consideration and will be reporting to the next Finance Committee meeting.

Membership Means Savings

The BCRTA is living in interesting times!  Our First Year complimentary Membership initiative has resulted in a significant BCRTA membership gain this year. Keep spreading the word.

In order to enhance membership growth, the Membership Committee is developing some BCRTA merchandise for distribution, and is looking at new ways to extend membership eligibility.

We are also exploring the possible merger of provincial and branch membership fees. This would mean a standard BCRTA fee that includes membership in one branch of choice. Members could join a second branch for an additional fee. It is hoped that this arrangement could be part of the First Year complimentary Membership offer. We are also looking at promoting a “pre-retirement associate membership” to help transition retiring teachers into the BCRTA by giving access to our benefits and services. We’d appreciate any thoughts branches might have on these proposals. Send your comments to steve.bailey@bcrta.ca.

We also continue to explore new Members’ Advantage Program additions to expand our range of discounted goods and services available to our members. News on this as we complete partner arrangements. Our newest partners, HearingLife Canada and Merit Travel are quite popular while long-time partners such as Park’N Fly and Collette Travel remain a vital part of our program. Please remind your branch members to use their membership card to ask if they can arrange for discounts at local businesses. Remind them to download the Endless Savings and More App also. There are lots of savings to be had!

Branch Executives Please Take Note:

  • Announce to your members through your newsletter or at a branch meeting that Dignity Memorial / First Memorial has ended its Members’ Advantage partnership with both the BCTF and the BCRTA. All contracts completed to date will be honoured.
  • Your branch membership updates are available in Excel format at well as pdf from Laurie at the BCRTA office. Excel is much easier to work with, and new members added since the last report can be easily identified. Just place a request with Laurie. If you wish members’ membership number be included with the report, please ask specifically for that information.
  • From time to time, some of our Members’ Advantage partners may contact you about having a presence at a branch meeting. For example, Merit Travel has outstanding presentations as does Hearing Life Canada. Members Advantage partners can provide informative topics for branch gatherings. Please take advantage of their expertise and their willingness to provide a service to our members.

If you are thinking about joining BCRTA, or are a new member, please have a look at the Branches link of the BCRTA website. You will find information on branch executives across the province, and often the branch newsletters are linked to the site. Take time to read each other’s branch newsletters to get new ideas and see what’s going on across the province.

Record Growth in Membership

BCRTA has set a record of 786 new members joining our association this year to date, thanks to our one-year free membership offer and our I-Pad contest. Johnson Insurance provided 10 I-Pad Mini tablets and all new members were entered in a draw to win one.

We congratulate these winners:

Shirley Wong, Surrey Branch
Laurie Faulkner, Sunshine Coast Branch
Vicki Hickenbotham, Coquitlam Branch
Doris Kuehn, South Okanagan Branch
Ann Kratzer, Surrey Branch
Stephen Fairbairn, Elk Valley Branch
Linda Wiens, Langley Branch
Jeannette Tabb, Delta Branch
Elliott, Kim D., Coquitlam Branch
Janice Gladish, Campbell River Branch

New members are welcome to join BCRTA and will receive free membership until September, 2018. However, the free I-Pad contest is now closed.

BCRTA thanks the iPad Giveaway sponsor:

First Year Free and More

BCRTA Membership Committee Report
By Steve Bailey, Membership Committee Chairperson, Coquitlam, BC

Our “first year complimentary BCRTA membership” offer is in full swing. The re-designed membership application form is now available on-line. Hard copies are available from the BCRTA office. Later this summer the BCTF will be mailing this material to all known 2017 retirees.

Speaking of membership increases, we will be awarding branch growth membership awards again this year at September’s AGM. As a new twist, champagne awards will be replaced by chocolate and other goodies for the winning branch delegations to enjoy (and share)! Awards are based on August 31 branch membership figures.

Park ’N Fly, one of our Members’ Advantage Partners, has recently revised its Discount Savings program. Our YVR preferred rates are now $17.56 per day and $66.95 a week. See the BCRTA Park ’N Fly access code on our website. If you have trouble with access, please call the BCRTA office for assistance.

One of the goals of the Membership Committee is to develop a line of BCRTA merchandise.

Included in the Membership Committee budget for the coming year is money for a pilot project. Watch and see what develops.

Have a great summer. Remember to use your BCRTA membership card to garner savings through our BCRTA Members’ Advantage Program.