Meets for eight consecutive Mondays, 10- noon, in January, February, and March
Contact: Susan Morrison
In October the branch ratified the revised bylaws by a unanimous vote. The bylaws were written to reflect a more democratic organization with a smaller board but providing for a voice for all members through a revised organizational chart. At the final board meeting of the year, the board members suggested only minimal changes to the structure and agreed that the new bylaws were working effectively.
The board agreed to purchase directors and officer liability insurance that was recommended to us by national AAUW.
Communication to Members Each month the president sends to all members a calendar with important dates and activities noted. In addition, all members receive Newsletters at the beginning of September, November, January, March, and May that contain articles and information important to their participation as members of the branch and AAUW. The agenda for the monthly meetings is also sent to all members several days before the meeting.
The Membership Coordination Chair sends an invitation to our monthly meetings to all members two weeks prior to the meetings with reminders sent one week out.
Fundraising Activities The branch conducts several on going fundraisers such as the Book Nook, Change for Change and 50/50 at the monthly meetings. In addition, the sale of discount restaurant cards and geraniums provided us with sufficient funds to award two scholarships of $2000 each to graduating Sussex County high school women graduates. Other opportunities for fundraising for the scholarships were the Silent Auction, held in November, and the Jewelry and Scarf Sale, held in May. We are grateful to our members who have agreed to take the lead on these activities for FY2017.
Coastal Georgetown members were also generous in donating to the AAUW Funds.
Meetings The Coastal Georgetown Board of Directors met four times this year, in September under the former bylaws and in December, March, and June under the new. During the year we saw an increased emphasis on creating our budget in an attempt to recognize how much is required to run the branch. We experimented with the new organizational structure and generally were satisfied with its intended effectiveness and our enhanced ability to make decisions for the branch. We have a better-defined Nominating Committee that offered a slate of officers, filled open chair positions on committees, and reinstituted the Member of the Year program.
Our greatest challenge in the upcoming year will be to fill a few critical positions—that of Governance Director and Historian.
This year attendance at our monthly meetings continued to hold steady with 50-60 members each month enjoying the outstanding programming that included Claire Snyder-Hall who spoke about Common Cause; Judy Catterton who read from her prize- winning essay, “The Feminist” that describes how she became a lawyer; Tom Linehan, the author of two books about female resistance fighters during World War II; Sandy Spence, a branch members and also a member of the Southern Delaware Alliance for Racial Justice who addressed the state of social justice in Delaware; and a panel of local women in the clergy who discussed their personal journeys to the pulpit.
And, in June, we continued our tradition of asking several members to share their stories. In addition, one of the scholarship winners and her father were able to join us. A great way to end a great year!
A member favorite at most meetings is the presentation of “Spotlight on STEM” by Susan Chin. Susan selects women who have made significant contributions to the STEM fields. All of the presentations can be found on our website.
A “meeting of sorts” took place in August that welcomed all of our new members who had joined in the preceding year. About 25 new members attended and spoke with members of the board and committee chairs to explore opportunities for involvement in the coming year.
Branch activities for FY 2016 One of our goals was to initiate increased recognition of Coastal Georgetown in the community. As a result, and through the efforts of one of our new members, we have had several articles appear in local newspapers. One featured Penny Deiner who told her AAUW journey and another emphasized the role the branch plays in offering scholarships. We hope to continue that publicity this year with a story of our 60th Anniversary.
Find Your FutureMake It Happen was offered several times this year after being revised and updated. In October, presentations were made during the Sussex County Girls Summit at the Atlantic Sands Hotel sponsored by Pathways to Success. The Interviewing module of FYF, was presented to the YWGirl groups at Milford HS on April 13th, 3:30-4:30 pm, and at Milford Academy on April 14th from 3:00 – 4:30 pm. The latter participants were members of 21st Century Skills After School Programs sponsored by YWCA Delaware and Communities in Schools Delaware.
In October, thanks to the generosity of a member, Coastal Georgetown was invited to spend an evening at the Rehoboth Museum. The director of the museum presented an introduction to the exhibit, Women of Rehoboth. There was time to view the exhibit and enjoy beverages, finger food, and sharing time with our members.
In December, the branch conducted a drive for women and children served by the People’s Place in Milford. We collected almost 800 diapers, 2,400 plus wipes, 53 shampoos and conditioners, 66 tubes of toothpaste, 125 toothbrushes, 38 bars of soap, 34 bottles of body wash, 20 deodorants, 16 large containers of body lotions, several gift packages and baby items, assorted items such as hair spray, razors, cotton swabs, and over 250 “hotel” sized containers of shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion.
Coastal Georgetown collaborated with the Rehoboth Beach Film Society to promote the Women in Film Series that was held during the month of March. In particular, Cristi Gillean led the post film discussion for The Brave Heart, The Lillie Velasquez Story that focused on the results of bullying in one woman’s life. We hope to continue this alliance with the film society by suggesting films of interest to women and, perhaps, to support the society’s efforts to provide education about bullying to students, teachers, and parents.
Also in March, the branch once again awarded monetary prizes to students who participated at the Sussex County Science Fair. Our members served as judges and selected the winners.
Members were encouraged to attend the State Convention in April. In addition, our members were recipients of important information from our Public Policy Chair about Equal Pay Day, legislation being considered in the Delaware Legislature, and the potential for participating in Get Out the Vote for the upcoming general election.
A total of 53 applications were received this year for our Virginia A. Rust scholarships. Our winners were Mikayla Ockels from Sussex Central who will attend Colorado State in Fort Collins majoring in pre-veterinary medicine and Grace Brokaw from Cape who will attend Clemson University majoring in Engineering. They each received $2000.
In July, the branch will once again host a home that is part of the Rehoboth Art League Cottage Tour.