Leadership in Retirement

council logo I am now the President of the Residents’ Council in our over 2,000 resident continuing care retirement community. Did I forget to mention that? I was elected by the members of the Council at the August meeting. I will finish my three-year term in August 2016. 

My first job was to appoint chairs and assistant chairs to the twelve committee including ten new council members. Fortunately, the Executive Committee offered advice and counsel in that effort.  Here are some of my duties as the President;

  • convene the monthly council meeting,
  • develop agendas for meetings,
  • write article for monthly newsletter, the Sunburst,
  • chair the monthly Executive Committee,
  • lead the monthly work session,
  • represent the Council with the administration at monthly meetings,
  • attend joint meetings with Board of Directors,
  • attend committee meetings, and
  • respond to comments from individuals in the hall and by email.

Although I have been in leadership positions before, it is different when the Council represents such diversity. When leading other groups, the members were all nurses, health professionals, church members or association executives. At Charlestown, we have differences in life experience, previous employment, geographic upbring, and my personal favorite, computer ability.   As volunteers, we are our administrative assistants. It is important to be able to do email, upload and download attachments, and be timely in reporting. We have council members who just got an email address to those like myself who are experienced users.

My theme this year is “living in community” following the pattern of previous Presidents that emphasised “harmonious living” and “communications.” When I think about community,  I am inspired by the writings of Fr. Eric Hollis, OBS, who blogs at A Monk’s Chronicle. He writes about living in community as a Benedictine monk. There are many similarities. We share public spaces, we eat meals together, we play together, and we care about each other.

There are “rules” or guidelines published every year. They cover decorating public spaces, proper dress in the dining rooms, pet responsibilities (pick up the dog droppings, please), and speed limits for cars and EMVs (Electronic Mobility Vehicle).

There is always one or two in the crowd that feels they are “special” or the rule doesn’t apply to them. That is where the Council may get involved. Right now the dress code is under review.  There are a few family members or guests who come dressed for the beach, not the dining room. The no shorts rule seems to be the biggest problem, especially in the summer. A new Task Force is going to look at ways to communicate the proper attire for the dining rooms. Some of the problems will go away when the temperature drops.

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