Unfortunately, I missed the Installation of Officers as I was diagnosed as having Covid at that time. I want to thank Dan Caffrey for standing in for me. Dan seems always willing to help wherever needed.
I have some thoughts for the coming year.
First, I want to address meeting structure. Two months ago, we had a meeting that lasted only around 45 minutes. The number of people who expressed everything from pleasure to outright exuberance made an impact on me. It has been established that the attention span of most adults is 45 minutes. I will attempt to limit meetings to that length. In doing so, there may be changes that initially may seem unpalatable. I ask everyone’s indulgence as we evaluate options and amend procedures, while remaining within the rules and structure of the organization.
The single most important obligation of the President of any organization is the perpetuation of that organization. While the primary responsibility rests in doing so during the term of office, I feel a longer-term outlook is needed. We are primarily a group of old men. When I joined, there were many members under 40. There’s nothing wrong with our membership, but age asserts its influence on future active membership. We need to grow our membership with younger applicants. Also, as we lose members, we need a plan to supplant those members, ideally with younger members. The aging of membership and the lack of interest by younger generations is a problem for many religious, civic, and social organizations. I would like to establish a committee to work on ideas for growth among younger members.
Other areas I would like to evaluate are:
- Monthly Officer meetings.
- Reinvolving families.
- Extending Associate Membership.
- Bringing Irish politics back as a focus. PEC and FFAI are key positions.
- Adding subscriptions to the Irish Echo and An Phoblacht to obtain the proper information to share with the membership.
- To raise our visibility, reestablishing an AOH signature event open to the public, such as Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day, Irish Feis, Family Picnic, Irish music concert, etc.
- Establishing an informal Council of Elders based on membership seniority.
- Re-stocking our inventory of pins, procedural manuals and other supplies consumed in normal business operations.
- Cataloging Division property by person accountable and creating an availability matrix.
- Evaluating and standardizing the folders passed down each year from officer to officer.
- Expanding an online membership database with password protection.
- Re-establishing an internal Green Pages so members can use other members for needed services.
- Featuring an Irish Clan at the Highland Games.
- Our motto has 3 facets – Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity. We have vast resources and I think it’s important to allocate funds and efforts to all three areas.
- Committees or positions will remain open to all members, rather than using the first person to raise his hand. Those who hold no existing positions will be given priority. This will allow involvement of new members, and the decentralization of leadership.
- Each elected position has duties specified in the by-laws. They will be posted in the next newsletter.
- As respects meetings, if any member intends to speak on a specific topic, or to bring up something during the business section, ideally, they will advise the senior officer before the meeting to better maintain a proper business pace, yet leave adequate room to address those things in which members have an interest.
We have a great group of involved members. Things are working extremely well. I don’t want to upset the apple cart, but neither do I think we should remain in stasis. Membership should drive the direction of the Dooley Division, and all comments, ideas and constructive criticism are welcome. With your feedback, I will do my best to serve your needs and wishes.
In Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity,