Why I do what I do for Encore
Encore offers folks insights into writing, reading, cooking, crafts, local tours, art, philosophy, health, lifestyle, history and so much more. The offerings change as new instructors are recruited or volunteer to share their expertise.
Helping this dynamic not-for-profit group run smoothly makes me feel like a contributing partner, actively making my area richer.
What I do for Encore
The treasury role was available when I joined Encore in 2015 and I had some (minimal) experience from previous organizations. In truth, few folks want the post as people are afraid of the math, the paperwork, etc. But, hey, someone has to do it and it pushed me out of my comfort zone.
I take care of banking, making deposits and reconciling statements. On a day-to-day basis, I pay the bills for our phone, office supplies, brochure printing, insurance, rent, staff, etc.
I report our position to the Board at our regular meetings and make suggestions about money management, banking fees and the like. Annually I prepare a budget.
I also empty the mailbox (I live across from the Post Office) and deal with mailed-in registrations. The twice-yearly Registration is a very busy time. Funds are counted and deposited the day after.
In my five years, I’ve become more comfortable in the role, learned much—often from my mistakes!—and have been recruited as treasurer for another organization too.
Volunteering gives back to the community, of course. It also gives me great satisfaction to help, to learn and to grow. Also, I work with a great group of volunteers who collectively know much about the area, our topics, the people.
Volunteering is a responsibility and also a great way to connect with and support my community.
“We need someone to chair the Encore AGM”. My response to these words was, “Maybe someone else would like to do it. I just want to take the courses.” After listening to a very convincing explanation that there would be no courses if there were no volunteers, I agreed to chair the annual general meeting. At the AGM I met the most dedicated volunteers with amazing background stories. I was hooked.
Glengarry Encore has enriched my life beyond measure. As Board chair and, now Curriculum chair, I have learned so much … how to run meetings and set agendas (the Glengarry Encore board members are very forgiving), how to publish books (who knew it should have an ISBN number?), how to apply for grant money (sometimes it is best not to know how much follow up work is required!)
At Encore I have had the pleasure of working with people who were my school mates and with others new to this community. They come from all walks of life. They bring experiences and skills that help make this a vibrant organization. They are my friends and mentors.
The most exciting day is picking up the printed copies of our new curriculum each semester. Glengarry Encore can be proud of the many interesting topics in the program. As you look at the titles also take note of the presenters. These are generous volunteers who live in our community and share their knowledge and interests. The talent pool in Glengarry is indeed wide and deep.
Looking back, I thank that person who refused to take “no” as an answer. In truth, “there can be no Encore program without dedicated volunteers”.
Our 7th in the series of “Stories from the Encore team: why we do what we do” is unique, special, ‘A Tribute to Bernie Carrière, – d., May 6, 2019; written by Sandra McCuaig’.
Moments come along in life forcing us to accept change. Bernie Carrière encountered such a time when, for health reasons, he was forced to give up a notable career, serving in countries like India and Europe with the Federal Public Service. Although devastating news, it was not destructive enough to discourage Bernie from taking a road less travelled with a new purpose. Bernie turned to Encore Cornwall and Glengarry Encore Education Centre in Alexandria where he discovered a new path to follow.
For the next fifteen years, Bernie introduced Glengarry Encore members to the immortal philosophy of Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Emmanuel Kant, John Locke, and many, many others. The value of such priceless teaching flowed through Bernie like the blood in his veins. He spoke of the philosophers as though they were friends rather than subjects of study. He understood them and believed in their wisdom.
Philosophy studies questions such as: what is most real; is there a best way to live; do humans have free will. It is the study of general and fundamental questions of existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. At Bernie’s first session with Glengarry Encore there were 15 participants; however, news of this wonderful teacher travelled quickly and each following session the attendance grew until it reached thirty-five members and required a larger room. The town of Alexandria was philosophy bound!
Although a serious subject, Bernie had developed a skill for alleviating the depth of thought to which philosophy could reach. He would insert a humorous story or tell one of his famous groaner jokes. Hearing everyone’s groan, a mischievous smile would spread across his face, showing that he had achieved the lightness intended.
Bernie never missed a beat in his lectures. He arrived with itemized notes on reference cards specific to the lesson of the day. The cards, however, were only props; he never did refer to them. They were simply shuffled top to bottom as points were covered. When we took a coffee break, students would follow Bernie outside wanting to share and express their interpretation of the philosophy.
News of Bernie’s class spread throughout Glengarry. Who knew our little community would so love philosophy? Year after year, we students could not get enough of our favourite class. Bernie’s wife, Helen, became accustomed to opening their front door only to find four or five members of Bernie’s class in search of their Master Philosopher for a discussion.
Always generous with his time, Bernie presented several workshops of his favourite hobby, photography. With Helen, his partner in life and principal photo compositor, many of our homes boast frames of Bernie’s remarkable photographs. Our Glengarry Encore classroom where he taught, proudly displays one, the majestic Eagle, chosen by Bernie expressly for Glengarry Encore.
Benjamin Disraeli best describes our close connection with Bernie, “The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but reveal to him his own.” Although we are no longer able to share in Bernie’s company, Glengarry Encore will forever remember our dear friend and Master Philosopher.
Our 8th in the series of “Stories from the Encore team: why we do what we do” is a memorial to a special Glengarry Encore supporter, Robin Flockton, – d., June 22, 2021, written by Helena McCuaig
In Memory of Robin Flockton
resulted in Encore securing a home at Glengarry District High School until the archives moved to its new location.