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For all of my thirty-four years of teaching, I was a member of BC Teacher Federation (BCTF).  I was never the person at the forefront of fighting for teachers’ rights, but I was sure glad to have BCTF there for me.

Upon retirement from teaching, it was only natural to become a member of the BC Retired Teachers’ Association (BCRTA).  One never knows what seniors’ rights might need to be rallied behind.  For instance, did you know that BCRTA was there to fight for our Defined Pension Benefit plans and Universal Pharmacare?  And BCRTA was there to help us through the Teacher Pension change from Blue Cross to Green Shield medical coverage.  I am glad to be a member of BCRTA.

For me, one of the best moments of joining our local retired teacher branch was being honoured as a new retiree at the “To Hell with the Bell” breakfast buffet.  That first day of NOT going to school was exciting because I got to re-connect with former teaching colleagues and get a FREE meal with a Mimosa, too!

Before COVID-19, I looked forward to whatever fun was organized by the Program Committee of the local branch:  delicious lunches, inspirational speakers, or interesting guided tours of local areas.  And not once, did we talk “teacher”!  Discussions were always about life after teaching.  Often I learned about a club meeting or activity of interest to try out in my new life as a retiree.

Just like we needed BC Teachers Federation as an active teacher, we need BC Retired Teachers’ Association as a retired teacher.  I urge you to join BCRTA and your local branch of retired teachers.  Your first year of membership is FREE, so there’s nothing to lose.  Try it, you might like it!

Submitted by Cathy Van Herwaarden