Sunday, January 9, 2011

Best for Women ...all women...everywhere

I spent today at the annual Soroptimist retreat. I'll confess, each year when the retreat day comes, I need to drag myself there. That's not a reflection on the retreat, but rather the state of my weekends. So on Saturday morning as I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to get it all done this weekend: cleaning the house, paying bills, installing and painting wainscoting, practicing heeling with my puppy (we've done lots of indoor practice with “down”, “stay”, “leave it”, “come”, but too many long workdays meant we've done very little outdoor walking together so we need to seriously cram before Sunday's class), cleaning out the car, and grocery shopping (unless I want a repeat of last weekend where every meal's menu centered around Swiss chard and cheese)-- well the Soroptimist retreat felt like an obligation that I just didn't have the time for.

And then something magical happened... I went to the retreat. Thanks to the fine planning and facilitation by Valerie Orapallo, Rachel Alderman and Stacie Mayette what could be a tedious day of membership retention activities , increasing leadership skills, and strategizing future directions for the Club is instead a day filled with learning, insights, wit and wisdom...and sisterhood. And more than anything this retreat once again (as it does every year) rekindled my commitment to the Club and my appreciation for what an impressive impact Soroptimists have in Saratoga County and worldwide (for more info on specific Soroptimist activities read  http://maggiefronk.blogspot.com/2011/01/whats-soroptimist.html.

In the years I've been a member, I've seen Soroptimist change-- for the better. The group was always concerned and committed-- and offered wonderful opportunities to interact meaningfully with women who I would not otherwise get to know. But in recent years, we've gotten more focused and mission-oriented, launching new programs, and increasing our expectations of ourselves. The change has not gone unnoticed. Soroptimist of Saratoga County won the governor's cup for our region (and it's clear that there are a number of high achievers in the Club who intend to make sure our Club earns that cup every year!) Their signature local service activity, Project Hope and Power, has also garnered support at the district and regional level.

At the retreat we challenged ourselves to consider whether we're doing enough not only locally, but to help more globally, to support women who commit their lives to global volunteerism, and strategically direct our resources to have the greatest impact.  We also challenged each member to assume a leadership role-- and gave tangible tools to make this happen.

And I left the retreat, not overwhelmed, but rather energized-- not just about my commitment to this fantastic organization, but energized in general...and grateful for the friendships with women who are intelligent, talented, creative, gracious, and inspirational leaders. The challenges of the weekend seemed insignificant-- I'm part of a group that makes a difference in so many lives, surely a little home renovation and housekeeping isn't insurmountable (but it' still gonna take a lot of practice to master “heel” before Sunday's class).

Are YOU Interested in doing one thing to help make a difference for women and girls?
Come to Cabin Fever!
Join us for lunch and to meet
 Mika Brzezinski
 co-host of MSNBC's Morning Joe,journalist, author, and media icon
Saturday, January 29th at noon

For more information visit:

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