President’s Page

JUNE 2020

Hello everyone,
I hope you are all well, and have been keeping safe over the last couple of months. I find it hard tobelieve that nearly 6 months of a somewhat odd year has nearly gone. Although we haven’t had any classes, I look forward to catching up with everyone very soon. I have just heard that groups of 20 are allowed to meet from the 1st June. I’m not sure about social distancing, but maybe classes may resume sooner than what we thought.
For me, I promised myself to clean my garage (it’s my craft room) but so far that hasn’t happened. Somehow, cleaning is never on top of my list to do, so it gets relegated to the bottom of priorities. I have been doing a bit of crocheting, my latest piece a “no drama Llama”. It turned out beautiful, but rather bigger than I anticipated. Oh well, on to the next thing. Have also done a diamond painted clock, which I am putting together slowly.
The U3A conference to be held in June was cancelled due to covid-19. I was looking forward to participating in this as my first attendance as president. But , there is always next year.
Looking forward to seeing you all soon.

Evie Artho

APRIL 2020

Well what a month March turned out to be.
As you know, our classes were cancelled due to co-vid 19. And looks like it might extend longer than we originally thought. You will be advised about term two as the time gets closer.
I hope you are all doing your best to keep your class active at home. It’s a bit hard for aqua, but some exercises can be simplified, like arm curl, steps, marching on the spot.
My sincere condolences go out to our tutor, Lindy Bell, who lost her husband Vic last week. Lindy, you and your family are in our thoughts and prayers. Vale Vic, R.I.P.
Please keep listening to news about the virus. We all have to take care at this time, re social distancing, hygiene, etc., but if we are all aware and do the right thing, this will hopefully be nipped in the bud sooner rather than later.
Enjoy your break and sdo look forward to seeing all of you soon.

Evie Artho

MARCH 2020

This is my first newsletter as the president of U3A Gympie. I’m a bit overwhelmed at the moment at the task I have taken on, but with a bit of help and understanding from you all, I am sure I will get there … eventually.
Those who know me, are aware I have a serious hearing problem. If I am in a group, I rarely hear most of what is said. In the future, I am looking forward to a ‘bone’ implant, but don’t know when this will happen. So if you are talking to me and I seem to be ignoring you, I will accept a slap on the arm to gain my attention.
With this in mind, I want to publicly apologise to Fran Gregory for mishearing her at the Special General Meeting. Please accept my sincerest apologies for the hurt I caused you. I am truly sorry.
On Wednesday the 26th February, eight of us went on the Rattler, taking advantage of a special, half price offer. What a great day we had! For me, it was difficult to pin point the landmarks we were passing, but “tour guide”, Marilyn, knew every siding, town and building along the route. I found out a lot about the history of our local area. I recommend the trip to everyone.
We hope to offer more ad hoc social activities in the future. If you have any suggestions, please send them to:  news@u3agympie.com

Evie Artho

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PRESIDENT’S ANNUAL REPORT 2019

We started the year with an Open Day that was by far the busiest I have seen. At that Open Day we enrolled member number 907. In October, we enrolled member number 1000. And eight more besides. In the few years preceding, numbers were reasonably steady, with a slight decline. This year we have over 200 members actively involved in our classes and regular social activities.
We offer 18 classes, covering a range of interests, from computing skills, languages, book clubs & drawing to singing, line dancing and aqua-cise. We added a third book club this year, our aqua-cise class proved so popular we now have two, and we will be starting a second French class next year. One of our two singing groups, Retro Jukebox Singers does a variety of public performances, and has become a significant drawcard for new members.
We have various social activities – a monthly coffee morning, a weekly mahjong group at the local RSL, a weekly Rummikub group at Centro and a weekly lunch group at a different venue each term. The lunch group is proving especially popular, and is often the first activity for new members. We also use it as a drawcard for potential members.
U3A Gympie contributes to the greater U3A community.
May saw four Committee members attend the annual State Conference in Bundaberg. It had the theme “Break out of your shell”.
We discussed issues common to all U3As – funding; finding and keeping Tutors; effective, and cost effective, publicity; productive relationships with the local council; and succession planning for both Tutors and Committee members. We discussed future directions for U3A, and the promotion of U3A as a Statewide and Nationwide organisation.
Part of that are moves to trademark U3A. This is to both protect the image and to enable it to become more widely known. For us it means a re-design of our logo, and overall image. We made a first step in this early in the year, with the introduction of a “uniform”, to be used when promoting U3A. It consists of a royal blue scarf, worn with the wearers plain white shirt. There is, of course, more to come next year.
U3A Gympie contributes to the Gympie community.
In June we participated in a Gympie Regional Council consultation session to inform the planning of Councils Ageing Strategy, due to be completed by 2022. Along with other seniors groups, we collectively identified the strengths and challenges of Gympie and its surrounding region, and expressed our hopes for the future. We look forward to further opportunities to influence Councils plans for our age group.
August saw Seniors Week celebrations across the state. In Gympie the week kicked off with the Duckpond Dash, an all-abilities novelty walk for Seniors. Several U3A members participated, some managing to score prizes. Retro Jukebox Singers provided some live entertainment, and a display about U3A rounded out our contribution to the morning.
Celebrations continued on the following Tuesday, with a Seniors Concert and Morning Tea, with U3A well represented, and more prizes won. There was also a small display
in the library for the week. Some Committee members staffed the display for a couple of hours each day, answering questions and generally spruiking our group.
September saw some U3A members pretending to be old, frail and arthritic. Nursing students pretended to look after us. It’s all part of their training, gives them valuable “hands on” practice and is always fun. U3A has done this regularly for the last few years. Keep an eye out for future volunteer requests if you think you would like to get involved.
Looking forward, we face the ongoing challenge of finding suitable venues. We don’t yet have a permanent home, using a combination of free and discounted venues. At this stage, I’m not sure we could cover the running and maintenance costs of our own venue, but that is something we are working towards.
Finding Tutors, Facilitators, and other volunteers is also a challenge. We always have plenty of great suggestions on what to do, but don’t always have a “who” to do it. Please consider how you could assist with that in the future.
A number of current committee members will not be re-nominating for their positions, and some not for any position. A lot of new people joined this year, with some nominating for the committee which will shortly be elected. New faces bring new ideas, and possibly different ways of doing things. New ideas and ways can be challenging, both to implement and to accept. But new ideas and new ways are also a good thing. They allow us to grow as an organisation and as individuals. Isn’t that what Lifelong Learning is all about? I am sure we all look forward to the new things we are about to learn.
I would like to finish by thanking members of the Management Committee for your hard work on the committee over the last year and for your support of me as President. U3A has improved its membership numbers, its financial position, its class offerings, its public profile and its social activities this year. This has been thanks to your hard work.
I extend my thanks to all those who have acted as Tutors, Facilitators and Helpers throughout the year. We would cease to function if it weren’t for your efforts and they are greatly appreciated.
Thanks also to all the members – you are the lifeblood of U3A Gympie.
I wish everyone an enjoyable holiday season and look forward to seeing you in 2020.

Susan Hayes