Friday, March 20, 2009

728th Post - Off-Site, Team Blah Blah Blah

I can tell who is accessing these blog posts, and conversely who isn't. Someone, a couple someones I guess, is/are reading some of the very early posts in this blog, back when I was writing out the number of the post (i.e. "Fifteenth Post").

These earlier posts are a little embarrassing for me to read. I was finding my footing on this blog; I still stumble from time to time. And, over and over, I'd be writing at night when I was tired. People who read the blog kept teasing me about that. "Bev, you're always tired! What's wrong?"

I still get tired, particularly at the end of a long, busy work week like this one was. But I make a point of not mentioning it very much for fear of the "poor baby" comments I'd get from youse guys. But I will mention it tonight. After working every day, after staying up late here at home most evenings, after going out Wednesday night (more in a bit) and especially after last night's concert (more in the next post), I was running on fumes all day. I barely remember driving to Patricia's place, where I crashed (slept!!!) from 5:30 until nearly 8pm. I am back home now, awake enough to concentrate on this blog for a bit, but am looking forward to going back to bed.

Wednesday night I attended my Toastmasters club's second annual, "Off-Site, Team-Building Exercise". It is a bowling party at the Fairlane's bowlarama place in the Halifax Shopping Centre. There used to be a ton of bowling places in Halifax and Dartmouth, but more than half of them are gone. Not sure why, because they seem to do a good business.

We call it an "Off-Site, Team-Building Exercise" for silly, political reasons that piss me off enough to discuss here for a moment. You see, a Toastmasters club is its own entity, governed by rules and a constitution emanating from Toastmasters International, headquartered the last time I checked in Mission Viejo, California. One of those rules has to do with club funds. If a club folds, the money the club has on hand must be returned to TI; it is not the members' money.

Also, funds are to be used for educational purposes and to cover the costs of things like accommodation if the club has to pay for its meeting space. So, educational materials and costs associated with keeping the club going, not for things like bowling parties.

We charge a semi annual fee to be a member of the club; we are allowed to charge a dollar or so a week to cover the costs of cookies or snacks or whatever. But, instead, we charge an extra ten dollars per person per six month period. It is a good deal for members who go to more than ten meetings in a six month period, and "penalizes" member who go to fewer than ten meetings. Got it so far?

We don't buy cookies or treats every week any more. We choose to hold on to that money for things this "off-site blah blah blah". It is a bowling party. I know it. And, now, you know it. But because it is not an activity directly associated with keeping the club going, we have decided to call it an "Off-Site, Team-Building Exercise". It does foster team building within the club. I was paired with Kent, who reads this blog; and Danielle, who wants to read it. I got to know them better, and that was one of the points of the evening. The money we spent last night came from that ten dollar overage fee, and if you brought your spouse or sweetheart (or both!), then we didn't cover their costs.

TM is a good thing to do. I have met some amazing people over the last 17 years. I have given up on the number of times I have watched the evening news and seen a captain of industry who was once in Toastmasters speaking eloquently. A leader of a major political party in Nova Scotia was briefly in my club. If I ever see him again, I'll ask him what happened because we enjoyed having him there.

TM is a good thing to do, but from time to time, they do something silly like give clubs a hard time on how they spend their funds, or try to impose a new educational program when the old one was workin' jes fine.

I am by no means quitting or even disillusioned by Toastmasters. I am just saying that there is some chaff mixed in with the wheat.

This post has turned out to be longer than I expected. I'll write about the concert in the morning.


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