By Randi Corey, HA Director of Special Events
On Saturday, Feb. 26th at 8:30 am, I stood looking across the room and saw 13 volunteers of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds looking back at me expectantly. They had come from cities all across the nation to be here. Many of them overcoming airline delays and other difficulties caused by the volatile winter weather we have experienced this year.
The occasion was the Hydrocephalus Association’s inaugural New WALK Chair’s Training meeting in Charlotte, NC. These volunteers gladly sacrificed a weekend to sit in a fairly typical hotel meeting room (albeit a nice one) to listen and learn how to be a great Chair for an HA WALK. They also came together to meet each other, exchange notes about their connection to hydrocephalus and share their experiences and hopes for their events.
Although the day was long (with a PowerPoint presentation 163 slides long) and the subject matter was less than wildly exciting, these men and women were engaged, courteous and attentive – in short, a fabulous group. They learned more than they probably ever wanted to know about all of the aspects involved with coordinating an HA WALK: how to choose a site, find the right date, chart the ideal route, recruit a committee, generate corporate sponsorship and many other topics. They also received the first, hot-off-the-presses, edition of our new, expanded WALK Chair’s Manual – all 337 pages!
And through it all, they never faltered. If any were experiencing anxiety about what they had signed on for it never showed, they were calm, cool, collected and confident. The questions were probing, the discussion animated at times and through it all they exhibited the most prized attributes of WALK Chairs: commitment, organizational skills, a willingness to approach strangers for help and fundraising, a quiet determination to make this happen and the most important thing: a passion for the mission!
Conversation and camaraderie continued during dinner. Our new WALK chairs shared many things. They shared ideas, shared “war stories” about their family member with hydrocephalus, shared phone numbers and email addresses (promising to keep in touch) and shared their hope for a better future for those they love.
The Hydrocephalus Association is extremely fortunate to have dedicated, committed, passionate volunteers like these to take this fight to their own towns and cities. For all that they have done and all that they will do over the coming months HA would like to thank the new “Class of 2011” for giving us their time, their talent and their treasure!
Kudos to our new WALK Chairs:
Jill Diedrich (Phoenix, AZ)
Daniel Solchanyk (Los Angeles, CA)
Jenifer Jeans and Cate Kolbash (Connecticut)
Martha Fleury and Barrett O’Connor (Washington, DC)
Kymmi Wilson (Atlanta, GA)
Danielle Gutshall (Hershey/Harrisburg, PA)
Judy Bulliner and Chara McLaughen (Chattanooga, TN)
Lindsey Lange (Seattle, WA)
Ed and Davina Lane (Cincinnati, OH)
If you live in or near any of these areas and would like to get more involved by serving on the WALK committee, please contact the HA national office at firstname.lastname@example.org. Any and all of these WALK Chairs would welcome your help!