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Message from the LWRJC President


As we head deep into spring, we are coming up on the one year anniversary of my becoming the president of the Lakewood Ranch Jewish Club. It is an honor to take on this role and I very much understand the responsibility this entails. As we approach my milestone, I thought this was an opportune time to review the past year and to look out into the future. SUCCESSES

We had a number of successes, specifically three noteworthy events and a growing membership list. First we had the fall picnic, which was so crowded we actually had to turn people away. We very recently conducted a wonderful Seder attended by about 130 people at the Lakewood Ranch Country Club. Just a couple of weeks prior to that, we sponsored a docent-led tour of “Embracing Our Differences” at the Marina downtown, followed by a delightful lunch. Attendees at all of these events reported very positive experiences. While we are not a fundraising organization, we DO have bills to pay (our mailing service, our website, and speaker fees, for example). The influx of participants at these events has helped keep the treasury in good shape to handle the Club's obligations. CHALLENGES This past year presented a number of challenges. We attempted a Trivia night in January, but with Omicron rearing its ugly head, we had to revert to a Zoom version. Frankly, too many people were zoomed out and we had to cancel the event. Other challenges were the failure to get the small interest groups up and running, and making use of the volunteer lists collected at the picnic. The small groups were plagued by logistical and Covid-related issues. Members remained skittish about close-contact situations: some did not want to meet in person, others with masks only, while still others had their own set of rules and regulations. This, coupled with a lack of venues for people to get together, doomed this first attempt, but I am hopeful that we can learn from this experience and set some new parameters for next year. Between the starts and stops last year threw at us, I was unable to develop a realistic plan on how to use the people who did volunteer, although I will say that we found our new web site administrator from this list. WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE The goal of the Jewish Club has always been to be a place where LWR Jews could hang out with each other to schmooze, learn, kibbitz, and have a good time. This has not changed. Some members prefer educational/cultural presentations, either speakers, musicians, or outings to special events. Others like social-type events like a picnic, or a boat ride, or scavenger hunt. And many pick and choose from all our offerings. The Jewish Club can satisfy diverse interests, as it recognizes that no one has to go to everything or to like everything that we do. We just need to offer events that serve our members and make our Club a popular place to be now and in the future.. So the question is what does that future look like and how do we get there. YOU CAN HELP — AND HAVE A GOOD TIME DOING IT Clearly, we have enough members. That is not the issue. What we need are more leaders and doers — people who are willing to chair or work on a specific event, to serve on the Steering Committee, or to come up with a program idea and make it happen. In short we need you to join together with friends and neighbors to do the work that will enable us to have a full program and social schedule. And we want you to have a good time in the process. No one will be expected to do an overwhelming amount of work or to solicit funds. We have no dues, and we only charge enough to cover the cost of any event a member decides to attend. For most of us, the work of the LWR Jewish Club is a labor of love. THREE COMMITTEES So, I am putting out the call for people to become active, not just in attending events, but in getting them off the ground. I would like to create three committees—Social, Programming, Newsletter. The social committee, would plan events such as the picnic or an ice cream social, or a fun day trip somewhere. The program committee would develop programs of speakers, musical artists and other cultural programming. They can be learning experiences or simply entertainment. Lastly, a newsletter committee. Last year, our previous president, Judy Gibbs and our board member Kathy Gurvey, put out a marvelous newsletter that was truly a joy to read, especially while we were mostly sequestered due to Covid. I am in search of a committee to undertake the planning and execution of a new post-Covid newsletter. HELP CHART OUR FUTURE DIRECTION This is your chance to help guide the Jewish Club in the direction you want it to go. Once these committees are established, the members of the committees will determine the make up and the leadership of the group. Someone will chair or co-chair each committee. The chairpeople will also serve on the Steering Committee, which tends to meet monthly for about an hour to an hour and a half. So please EMAIL ME with your name and contact information if you are interested in volunteering, especially to help to plan and execute activities that are the life blood of this organization. I will be sure to contact you in a timely manner once we have the volunteers, so that we can get the ball rolling as quickly as possible. I am sorry that this letter has been so lengthy, but I thank you, if you have made it this far. Enjoy your summer, stay safe and be sure to get in touch with me about how you can become involved. Warmest regards, Jim Payton, President Lakewood Ranch Jewish Club



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