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From The President – Jan 2024

Jan 5, 2024 | NBSRT News, Notice | 0 comments

Happy New Year

I hope your Christmas season was as great as mine.  We travelled west to spend a week with our children, Kyle, and Cassie. We flew into Vancouver and Cassie picked us up at the airport so we could travel with her to Kyle’s place in Hinton Alberta (only 9 1/2 hours through the mountains). The arrangements don’t seem to make much sense until you realize that Cassie had to bring her dog and although she has driven through the mountains before on her own, we preferred to travel with her. We made it safely there and back, with a few tight connections, but we had a wonderful time  seeing Kyle’s new home and spending lots of time with the “kids”. You never know what the future will hold but this will go down as a Christmas season to remember very fondly.

Now it is back to reality. Lots of things to get done in 2024 (hard to believe – 2024). This begins my last few months as your President but I’m not ready to start winding down yet. I still want to grow our membership, support teachers and education by letting teachers know they have someone on their side and ensuring that we leave NBSRT and our Branches on a sound financial footing. And that isn’t all.

We are so proud of the work of our committees who will continue to be very active this year. The Membership Committee has been tasked with making recommendations on the first-year dues rebate, and on ways to get retired teachers, who live outside the major population areas of branches,  more involved in branch activities. We have finally surpassed the 3000-member threshold so we have moved the target to 3250. We best attract new members by word of mouth and personal contact, so we invite all of you to spread the word about our active, supportive organization.

The Pension Committee has another meeting scheduled with Vestcor senior staff to discuss any issues raised by our members and just to maintain an open dialogue with Vestcor.  We feel it is essential to open and maintain lines of communication with Vestcor staff in relatively quiet times in case we ever have to work through any difficulties.  And our Group Insurance Committee is always on the ball to inform us of changes to our plan and to make recommendations regarding changes to the plan that would be beneficial to retired teachers. We are discussing the use of a survey of our members to determine if there are enhancements to the plan we should be recommending to the Trustees. You will be seeing more information on this from the Committee. The Committee has also been active in putting a number of articles in Reflections to inform our members on health and insurance issues.

The Wellness Committee did a great job of getting people, including yours truly, active at last year’s AGM and it plans to continue with the same format at AGM’24 in Saint John in May. The Committee holds its annual meeting in the morning before the AGM and then plans activities for the delegates and any others attending the AGM as they arrive in the afternoon. The Committee will also be involved in expanding upon the excellent webinar we delivered on “Aging as an Adventure”. The Aging webinar and the others we have done are all available on our website.

The Scholarship Committee did its usual great job poring through many applications to award two $2500 scholarships to very worthy recipients. It always feels so good to see the successful recipients of the provincial scholarships and of your own Branch scholarships. It is highly commendable that we give back to the system and students in this way.

You can look forward to a revamped website in the coming year as the Online Media Committee continues to keep us all in the know through all social media platforms. Please take the time to explore the website and follow us on Facebook and the other platforms. It is also worth noting that we continue to conduct most of our business by Zoom with Dale setting up countless meetings for us.

I will take just a moment to acknowledge the work of our executive members. They still have a lot of work to do in setting a budget for the coming year, carrying on their liaison work with committees, and preparing recommendations for the AGM. With the exception of Barry Harbinson, who has agreed to reoffer for Treasurer, Colleen Forsythe, Membership Secretary, and myself as Past President, the entire Executive will be stepping down after having served four years in their current positions. I will find time to thank them for their outstanding work at another time but I mention them here to remind you that we will hold elections this spring and I encourage you to be involved – vote.

So NBSRT will be busy through the winter and spring but please remember that to maintain the momentum of the past couple years we need your help with a few things:

** Encourage past colleagues to join us – forms on the website.

** Keep informed through the website and our social media platforms.

** Vote in our provincial elections this spring – stay tuned for more information.

We wish you and your family a healthy and happy year.  Please take care.

Bob

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