Running almost any organisation can be a bit like imitating the proverbial swan; cultivating an image of smooth, graceful efficiency on the surface whilst paddling away madly out of sight and hoping no one will see how breathless you are. Certainly running WCDFAS is sometimes like that. What our members see are smiles of welcome when they come to a lecture, a happy lecturer, well fed and watered and assured the technology will work, a Chair confident that the speaker won’t over run, that she’ll remember to hold the raffle and that the giver of the vote of thanks will turn up. But it all takes work! Not that I’m complaining – I’m not. I wouldn’t do it unless it was fun and it is fun.
But what goes on people sometimes ask, between the monthly lectures? Well, we have a committee meeting every month, usually the week after the lecture. Not all NADFAS committee do; some only meet quarterly, but we couldn’t possibly manage that way. We drink vast quantities of mint tea around a kitchen table, usually Tamsyn’s, sometimes mine. The main item on the agenda is to review the previous lecture and give feedback to NADFAS nationally. The lecturers see their reviews so we’re careful to keep it factual, any more subjective snippets we squirrel away for Area Meetings of Programme Secretaries.
Then we look at what’s coming up next. We sort out who’s going to find a vote of thanks, who’s going to sell raffle tickets and any other jobs. We’re constantly trying to be more efficient, so we’re just putting together a job spec for the tea and coffee helpers. We talk about visits and up and coming events and we give feedback from any regional or national NADFAS events we’ve been to. Roger gives us the latest on our financial position and we stagger home late, sometimes very late. I’ve chaired lots of committee over the years but this one is by far the most difficult, simply because everyone is so brimming with ideas and enthusiasm it’s hard to keep them focussed on the topic in hand!
Our latest project is a season of events, visits and fun around the theme of ‘Blue’, all to tie in with the September lecture and to start the second half of the season off with a resounding bang.
The other big thing that’s been going on is that Tim and Tam, the terrible two (that sounds like something out of Enid Blyton doesn’t it?) went to the NADFAS directory meeting in London. They came back bowled over with all the goodies they’d seen on offer there. There were lots of new lecturers and new lectures to choose from. We got together over a cup of tea on Thursday and hammered out a rough programme for 2014. Plenty of members had given us their wish lists of topics, so I think we’ve managed to shoehorn a few of those in. If not, there’s always 2015!
Coming up: Your Chair ventures to London for the NADFAS Annual General Meeting and gets caught by the PR people there to do a radio podcast for the website! So watch this space.
Enjoy ‘The Gardens of Normandy’ – I’m sorry to be missing it. See you for Jane Austen.