PYM: Acting Organized so Others will Act Organized

Right before Pacific Yearly Meeting -- yes, the "other" PYM -- I blogged about how the Children's Program needed prayer and help. We got it, mostly; we were a bit stretched for staff some of the time. The upper elementary/middle school program was larger than we expected (19!!) in a small room, and didn't have enough volunteers some day, yet we had great teachers and great participants, so it was okay.

My secret was to go into the week acting organized. Then, I figured, everyone else would behave in a reasonably organized way. As a result, we’d be fairly organized!

So, we scheduled a teacher meeting on Monday afternoon, which kept getting pushed back because not enough people were present. And then we had a parent orientation at 4:30 without a lot of parents, but enough to seed the community with reasonably well-informed parents. Result: bingo, we seemed to be pretty organized! And really, we were. Of course we had plenty of things to pick up and improvise on, but that’s the nature of these things.

My main regret is that we didn’t provide much in the way of Quaker content for the programs this year. That’s been a goal of the committee’s, and we did a more thorough job of it last year. The fact is, we were struggling even to find enough teachers let alone provide good support to them in the classroom. It was also a struggle being in a new venue that none of the committee members had had an opportunity to visit in advance. So, I hope next year’s committee will get further on the logistics and teachers in advance, so they can go the next step and provide that curriculum support.

I knew we were okay when we had an oversight issue with someone, and I was able to talk directly to the person involved to clarify the program’s expectations and needs.

And also when the conference staff told us, on the third day, Wednesday, that the kitchen we had commandeered was not actually part of PYM’s rental contract. At first they told us we had to move it right away, that minute! Well, the committee member on hand asked for a little more time so she could clarify with the committee clerk and our arrangements clerks, and find another location. So they relented and said we could have a little time. Yes, the arrangements clerks (nearby, fortunately) confirmed we had not rented the kitchen, though I thought they said we had. Anyway, we moved everything out, within an hour . And we did it courteously and respectfully, and the conference staff loaned us space in their refrigerator for our cold stuff, which was really a big help.

If we could maneuver past those two bumps as bumps and not earthquakes, then we were in pretty good shape.

We also have a great new clerk: thanks, Elizabeth, for stepping up and taking this on! And many thanks to Susan for her comradeship and hard work these past two years. She was the one continuing committee member (there are supposed to be four each year) when I joined the committee and served as first convenor, then clerk. We've grown to be good friends as well as comrades!

Next time: Committee service as opportunity for worship service.

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