Washington Area Villages Exchange
Annual Members Meeting Minutes
Monday, June 22, 2020
9:15 – 9:30am Attendees began logging in
Number of attendees: 86
(Note: Board member Loretta Vitale Saks and AHA staffer Jen Heinz served as Host and technical assistant for the Zoom meeting and breakouts.)
President Leigh Sempeles opened the meeting at 9:30. Leigh welcomed everyone and explained the format of the meeting. She asked the WAVE board members to introduce themselves.
Recording Secretary Report Cele Garrett noted that minutes of the February WAVE meeting were distributed last week and are listed on the WAVE web site. The minutes were approved.
Laurie Pross reported the budget figures: Current balance is $9,235.12. So far in 2020, 39 villages (out of 75) have paid their dues. Laurie asked for suggestions on ways to engage and encourage more villages to pay their dues.
Corresponding Secretary’s Report
Corresponding Secretary Dave Prescott gave an overview of his responsibilities: He distributes the WAVE emails and maintains the WAVE website. He maintains the village directory and the current membership list, which is posted on the WAVE website. Currently, the WAVE web site is up-to-date: On the home page, there is a list of villages that have paid 2020 dues.
Leigh asked that individuals be recognized if they have any new items to discuss. Miriam Kelty wanted to recognize the issue of racial equity that is forefront in our minds, due to recent news stories. She posed the question of how villages can address this with their members. She welcomes ideas that can be shared with her and disseminated to all villages.
Cele Garrett mentioned that At Home in Alexandria has decided to partner with Vitality Society to provide an online resource for health and fitness classes to its members at a discounted price. She invited others who’d like to participate in the scheduled upcoming VS demo to contact her. In the coming months, she will report on how the program has been received.
WAVE COVID Survey Results Summary
Vice President Gail Kutner reported the summary of this May survey, which captured results from many villages. Topics included:
- Which village services have stopped or begun since the pandemic began
- Which member requests have increased/decreased
- How the pandemic has affected our volunteer base
- To what extend villages have shifted their social activities to a virtual format
The Impact of Villages on the Pandemic and What that Might Mean for the Future
Our invited guest, Gail Kohn (longtime advocate for aging issues and currently the Age-Friendly DC Coordinator) used the recent WAVE summary results as a springboard for the above-titled presentation, addressing each topic identified in the survey results. A few highlights include:
- Gail complimented our efforts at conducting this survey, emphasizing the importance of continued data collection. She emphasized that member satisfaction is the most important measurement.
- Villages need to change the narrative when describing the services we’re offering. We’re as busy as we’ve ever been, finding solutions and substitutes to our traditional services.
- Villages should be sure to structure their resources optimally. A village staff’s job essentially is to “to get people involved.” Our volunteers are available. Are we tapping into their skills as well as we could be?
- There likely is more money available from members and supporters right now, given that spending on travel and entertaining is way down. Are we tapping into that potential source?
- If not already doing so, villages should take a strong lead in getting members and older adults the technology support they will need now and in the coming years.
- Gail points out a growing fear among older people of moving into congregate housing. This bodes well for villages. In general, villages are a natural for the growing age-friendly movement across communities.
Attendees had chosen their breakout topic in advance and, after Loretta and Jen gave brief technical instructions, the following four breakout session began, with two board members assigned to serve as facilitators for each:
- Services Members Need Now or within a Year
- Role of Villages in the Current Crisis and Importance of Villages in Communities
- Potential changes that may Continue into the Future
- Best Practices
The group reconvened together briefly before adjourning at 12 noon.