Hints for New Members: How to Get Started!
Jane McKay, New York Chapter
Reprinted from New York Chapter Newsletter
I'm sure all of us have gone through the experience of feeling "left out". We've seen the officers and Board members (the chapter workers) bunched into tight little groups talking to each other at meetings. You get the feeling that you are not wanted. that "they" have a closed clique. Not so my friends. Take it from one who knows, I've been on both sides. For the first six or seven years of membership I attended plant sales, flower shows, garden tours and an occasional meeting but I didn't belong. When volunteers were asked for I never raised my hand - after all I didn't know anything, who would really want my help. When I attended meetings the workers all were bustling around or talking with one another, sure I got a smile and a hello but no one really took the time to talk to me. I felt unwelcome and unloved.
The turning point came when Betty Hager (who is always looking for a way to make a new member feel at home) talked me into "volunteering" for some small task. Suddenly I was involved in making our chapter endeavors successful. Now I knew the reason for those groups of chatting people- the folks in those groups are discussing YOUR chapter's business. The reason you sometimes only get a smile and hello is because these people are busy planning activities, chapter programs. newsletters, educational sessions, study groups, etc.. to keep you as happy and interested as often as possible. No one can keep everyone pleased all of the time but we try our best - a lot of time and effort goes into keeping your chapter running smoothly. So come on and get into the swing of chapter activities - the more volunteers to help with the work the more time we will all have to talk to one another.
Can you help to fill vases at flower shows, help to make sure all members have name tags at meetings, bake a cake? These are just a few ways to get started, there are many others. Let us know what you can help with.
I'm one chapter member who is extremely pleased at the opportunity to work for the benefit of us all. I have a great feeling of accomplishment and a strong feeling of gratification because I'm doing something worthwhile not because I have to but because I want to.