As 2016 draws to a close and we begin a new year, many people make resolutions. Whether you usually make resolutions or not, the end of a year is a good time to reflect on that year. What did you learn? What did you do well? What would you like to do better in the future? Are you particularly thankful for something?
For me, the last half of 2016 was full of changes. In July I was elected National President, a huge responsibility and honor that I take very seriously. Two weeks later my father passed away somewhat unexpectedly and three weeks after that I closed out a business I had owned for five years. It was more than a business to me, though. I had been a member of this Curves for nine years when I purchased the franchise and I then owned it for five. Many of the 200 plus members, as well as the staff, had become my friends over the years. We shared pictures of our families and our pets, celebrated birthdays, and attended calling hours. When it closed, I felt very much the same as when Sigma chapter closed.
I knew months in advance that the business was going to close so I focused on keeping members informed, creating ways for them to stay connected, facilitating their transfer to another exercise facility and holding a celebration of the time we had together. I fulfilled my obligations to Curves, to the landlord, and to my members. Many of them thanked me for closing in such a way. I have run into many of my members around town in the last few months and we always greet each other with a hug and spend a few minutes chatting and catching up.
Change is inevitable, the question is how do we deal with it? Many of my members stayed with Curves right up until the end even though they could have quit and gone elsewhere. They felt a connection with the people there and wanted to keep their membership until the end. They fulfilled their obligation to the club as well. I could not have fulfilled my obligations financially without their continued support. That relationship worked both ways.
It is the same with Theta Phi Alpha. Without members, we would cease to exist. We rely on our collegiate women to recruit excellent new members, to educate them in our traditions and values and to instill in them a lifelong commitment to Theta Phi Alpha. We rely on our alumnae volunteers to support these chapters, to manage local alumnae associations and to support our organization nationally as well. We rely on each one of our members to fulfill her obligations, to take seriously the promises we all make at initiation.
One of the most powerful moments we share is found at the end of our Founders’ Day ceremony where we join in a circle and sing White Rose. Whether it’s a small gathering of a few sisters or the whole Convention body at the end of Fraternity Night Banquet, that event always brings me to tears. I’m usually just mouthing the words to the song because I’m trying not to cry. Don’t judge 😊. Looking around the room at our circle of sisterhood never ceases to amaze me.
So, as you reflect on the end of 2016 and think ahead to 2017, ask yourself: How can I serve Theta Phi Alpha? Am I fulfilling my responsibilities as a member and as a volunteer to the best of my abilities? Can I make it a point to reach out and connect with a sister this year? Remember that you were chosen for membership in Theta Phi Alpha for a reason. Your sisters saw something in you. I know I am thankful for each and every one of you and look forward to serving you to the best of my abilities in the coming year.