Heritage Magazine, Spring/Summer 2002
Heritage Club takes on ramp to information highway
By Trish Edwards
In today’s day and age, it’s absolutely essential the Heritage Club use e-mail and has a Web site, says Nick Ronsky, national secretary/treasurer. “It would be crazy not to take advantage of the amazing technology available now.”
At the annual Presidents Meeting in Montreal last year, chapter presidents discussed the limited ability of the Heritage magazine to provide the information to chapters they need to continue fostering a national club bond.
“As wonderful as it is, it’s produced only twice a year, and it has a limited number of pages it can produce with a corresponding limit to the amount of news it can contain,” says Nick. “We need to add ways chapters can communicate with and find out about each other on a quick and ongoing basis so we can learn and thrive.”
To this end, all chapter offices now have computers and e-mail (see list of chapter presidents, page ??). A national Web site is under construction and will be ready this summer. The site will initially focus on information the chapter executives need to facilitate club business, such as minutes of meetings, the constitution, contact names, and upcoming chapter and club events.
Fred Danells, Van Fraser chapter president is enthusiastic about the benefits of a Web site. “Many of our members now use computers for all kinds of reasons and are quite computer literate.” According to Fred, even when they’re away from home on vacation, members seek out Internet access in cafés and libraries to keep in touch with family and friends through e-mail, and to do things like look up and book trips quickly and conveniently, using discounts available on the Web.
“I’m planning Van Fraser chapter’s site as we speak,” says Fred. “It’ll be up and running soon, and it’ll contain a “who’s who” and a “what’s what” of our chapter. We’ll announce Canada Post events open to our members, such as plant functions, bowling tournaments, United Way drives, hockey tournaments, and the like. And I’ve got volunteers working to convert historical photos and text to add. We’ll link our site to the national club’s, and it’ll help instil pride in our club by promoting all the good work accomplished by our volunteers.”
Jean Lemmetti, president of Richelieu chapter, agrees, and his chapter is another planning its own site. But chapter executives may have to re-examine the way they conduct chapter business, he says. “In particular, e-mail makes some people apprehensive. Some of our chapter executives have never used computers and are nervous about learning something new.”
But they need to learn, Jean contends. “E-mail is a wonderful tool, and it’s easy to use. It’s instant and allows for a reply within minutes, and it’s far more convenient than telephone. Have you ever tried to reach a retired person by telephone? They’re never home,” he laughs.
Jim Sandall, Thames chapter, who’s been e-mailing and surfing the Web for years, adds, “A Web site will allow chapters to get fresh ideas from others about activities under way, and it’ll make it easier for nearby chapters to even co-ordinate some of their efforts. Then everyone benefits.”
If we want the club to stay vigorous and be self-sufficient, it’s time to move boldly into this new frontier, concludes Nick Ronsky.