First of all, Happy New Year to you all from the committee!
2017 is beginning with some new initiatives, some changes in who is doing what, some changes to changes, and some appeals for help! So, what’s new?
Well, the groups co-ordinators are working to set up more new groups, as reported elsewhere. As usual, we are responding to requests from members and also anticipating requests. However, the success of these new groups will, as always, depend on the willingness of people to take on the responsibilities – often shared with others – of group leadership.
The really new initiative is in experimenting with online courses as the basis for new groups. Some groups already use online material as support for their subject areas. I have asked for guinea-pigs to allow us to experiment with working with an online course. We hear that many people start an online course, but then fail to complete it. We are hoping that working together on ‘Philosophy and Critical Thinking’, provided by the University of Queensland on edX, will encourage us to reach the end of the course together. Fourteen people have volunteered – potentially two groups if we stay with it. If successful, we shall extend to other groups and other subject areas. Marine Archaeology and Successful Ageing have been suggested, but there need be no end to the range of subject areas that could be tackled together in our U3A structure.
In terms of appeals for help, the Days Out team is standing down in May. Is there a small group of enthusiasts who would be prepared to carry on the excellent service they have provided for the members of D&D U3A?
You will all have heard about the changes to the Newsletter, in response to very strong requests from a number of members. At the same time we are appealing for someone to assist Jim with the editing of the Newsletter. Jim Docking has been undertaking this task for a number of years, but we are all aware of the need to have a deputy editor to stand in when necessary.
The same applies to the holidays. Arranging holidays is not a responsibility of any U3A, and we have to be very careful with what we undertake and always use reputable travel agents. Nevertheless, there has to be a point of contact in our U3A, and this was Jim Docking when Jim was first helping Angela Cooke. Now Jim is continuing alone since Angela retired; another liaison person is required.
And again with the website: Michael Docker has improved and enlivened our website, and there are others who contribute material. However, the website requires constant updating, and another person who understands it and who can assist would again seem a necessity: an assistant webmaster.
So, please talk among yourselves, make suggestions, and pass your suggestions to the committee. It is all a question of progress – or even survival!
Looking forward to hearing from you,