President’s Message – July 2020
We’re still here!
I’m proud of how our Chapter leadership and members have adapted to the new reality that we are dealing with these days. It sends a clear message that the ASG and our Columbia River Sewing (CRS) Chapter are an important part of our lives. It’s good to know that even though we are physically apart, we are still together.
On June 27th, we had our first virtual Quarterly Meeting. Instead of having an educational component, the Chapter Advisory Board (CAB) chose to focus on the activities of our CAB and Neighborhood/Special Interest groups. I’m delighted that we had 50 people join in the meeting!
Prior to the meeting we issued a survey to get feedback on how our members want to stay connected with CRS. It also gave us an opportunity to get feedback and suggestions. We received a response rate of 48%, which is very high for most surveys. Two thirds of us want to wait for a better sense of safety before returning to in-person meetings. So, we will continue with virtual gatherings while we watch and wait for things to change. Two thirds of us also said that they would only attend meetings that required us to wear masks. Of course for this group, that means showing off some of our hand-crafted masks, which would certainly add some interest to the meeting!
We also asked how people were using Zoom for virtual meetings. Close to half of the respondents had attended at least one but a large majority of us (77%!) said we would definitely or probably attend in the future. As a result, the Board of CRS has voted to provide a Zoom account for our members to use for Neighborhood and Special Interest Group meetings. It’s also open to small group gatherings for members on a more informal basis. Please contact Leenie Risser for the details. She is managing the Zoom account and will give you what you need to have your meeting.
In response to comments we received during our virtual Chapter meeting, Patty Hudson has added a new calendar: Online Meetings Calendar that includes Zoom meeting information for each meeting. This will enable you to plan ahead and attend any of the Neighborhood and Special Interest Groups. To access it, you need to log in to columbiariversewing.org. Go to the menu on the left of the page and click on “Online Meetings Calendar.” As of this writing, there are 16 meetings scheduled for the month of July. And, that may be increasing. Now that we are no longer limited by finding venues and traveling distances, there are members interested in starting new groups! Thanks to all our group leaders for providing so many opportunities for our members to stay connected.
We appreciate that Zoom meetings won’t be a good choice for everyone. The survey responses indicated that some people have technical issues, which is not surprising. Some other people just don’t like being virtual and would rather use the time to sew. Others are turning to Pinterest and Instagram to stay connected to others who sew. That is all helpful feedback. We know we can’t satisfy the needs of everyone, but I hope that those members we are missing will continue to sew and find ways to stay in touch with others who share the love of this art and life skill.
It’s impossible to say when we will be physically together again. But these past months have taught me that physical distance doesn’t mean an end to our connections, thanks to technology. We have our own website, columbiariversewing.org, as a great place to start. We also have this electronic newsletter, issued quarterly. Take advantage of our accounts on GroupWorks, Instagram, and Facebook for news and inspiration, and to share your creations. And, as mentioned above, participate in the group meetings with Zoom.
I hope you are managing to stay healthy and adapt to all the losses during these difficult conditions. Look for the bright spots—they are out there, and remember that we are still here.