After serving on the nominating committee this spring, I concluded that members maintain strong sentiment for the Sacramento Branch, in spite of all the curves thrown at us by COVID. I suspect that, like 9/11, which resulted in lasting airport security screening, we will be practicing social distancing and masking in certain venues indefinitely.
Currently, seven different Interest Groups are meeting: Art & Architecture, Reader’s Theater, Great Decisions (three sections), Singles Dining, Film Fans, Healthy Heart, and Board Games. Scrabble, Travel, and Bridge groups may resume in the fall, possibly under different leaders. A Walking Group was formed but then discontinued due to lack of interest.
If AAUW’s mission and values are the heart, and outreach programs the arms and legs of the Sacramento Branch, then Interest Groups form the backbone, since most members are attached to at least one section. These more intimate groups, many long-standing, can exist without any branch structure, yet it is the commitment members feel to interest groups which drive their over-arching desire for sustaining the branch. Going forward, our leadership team may ask to harness “interest groups’ energy” and we may be “doing business” a bit differently. For instance, with few new branch members, it does not seem necessary to focus on interest groups in a showcase format at one branch meeting; sign-ups can be accomplished more informally by passing information directly to section leaders. If an interest group is small, extending invitations and combining groups with CHAR is a possibility (see bridge opportunity in separate article). Book sections may be collaboratively asked to sponsor an author’s event. Great Decisions could develop a Women-of-the-World type of gathering for branch participation. Could Reader’s Theater provide “entertainment” at a meeting?
A Strategic Planning Committee has been formed to address ongoing leadership deficits and will likely chart a course that does not seem like business as usual. Please reflect on why you joined AAUW and what effort, large or small, you can contribute to our collective goals.
Interest Groups Coordinator