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President’s Message


The Future of JCMGA [1]

Dear JCMGA members,

Your Board is planning a special retreat to be held on Friday September 23, 2022. This event will be designed to be an “all-hands” meeting, with all members invited and encouraged to attend, and will be in lieu of the annual membership meeting. The topic will be “The Future of JCMGA.”

The plan is to make this an “in person” event in the auditorium on the SOREC[2] grounds. We will try to have an adjunct ZOOMÔ section if we can figure it out.

The idea originated when a few veteran MGs[3] approached me. They feared for the survival of the organization because so many things have changed during the pandemic and the membership has drastically declined and the program may be under a review by OSU. While I do not fear for the survival of the group, as I see us working away determinedly and adjusting to many challenges, I do agree that we should get the membership as a whole more involved and should try to influence our future rather than being entirely reactive. So, I will work enthusiastically towards this all-hands initiative with the appropriate MG Working Groups. Please, could you put September 23 on your calendars? More details will follow.

Meanwhile, I would like to share some observations: On June 18, the Member Services Working Group put on a “Par-Tea” for members and former members to get reacquainted. It was a wonderful afternoon; the tea service was “set up to a T” and very pretty. About 10 people rejoined with the special offer. Great job, MSWG!

As I was strolling around and introducing myself to a few people and chatting, I became aware that a common reason for them losing touch was because they did not feel entirely welcome. I am afraid the pandemic and recent happenings in the news may have something to do with this. Everybody seems to be on edge. But this is still not a good situation. I admit that I am sensitive to this issue as I feel that I have been stereotyped since I volunteered to be President. I was more or less called a bully, considered too dense to recognize errors on a website, instructed on time management and efficiency, not invited to welcome the new students. I tried to invite myself, but first the sign-up procedure for the classes was broken. When that was fixed, the link to the classes did not work in our county. That is when I just gave up on inviting myself. And at the “Par-Tea” I was told it would be better if I used a paper cup to drink my tea because the pretty cups were very fragile.

Now I know I’m nothing special, if this kind of stuff is happening to me it is also happening to others. And I inadvertently stereotyped someone myself. We must try to avoid this behavior by realizing that we may have unconscious, perhaps even unfocused biases because we are on edge; by being polite and staying polite; and by maybe even being kind! And we need to treat all our students as “adult learners” (as Dolly Travers put it so nicely when she was helping reorganize the Plant Clinic). Adult learners need to know how, but also why. They have busy lives and their own style of doing things. Let’s never talk down to them and they may stay members! Also, never turn down someone volunteering! Really, that is not asking a lot, is it? Just be decent. Lake Woebegone decent.

If you have any comments or advice or ideas about my observations or for the all-hands initiative, please email them to me at the following address: 

[1] Jackson County Master Gardeners Association

[2] Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center

[3] Master Gardeners