courtesy Travis Hardin Home : Essays : Year 2014 LocSec Columns

Year 2014 - From the LocSec, North Alabama Mensa

by Travis Hardin

May 2014 -- New Officers and Extra Chairs

For your fellowship and enjoyment put Mensa’s fun activities on your
calendar. A highlight will be a spring picnic at Monte Sano Park. It’ll be
on the calendar, if not this month, then the next.

The annual musical chairs scramble has concluded and there are PLENTY OF EXTRA CHAIRS. Yours truly is sitting in the LocSec seat looking puzzled; Rebecca Podolski comes in as Recording Secretary;
Bob Ward continues as Treasurer; and Linda Graves has shifted to
Membership Chair, having completed a long run producing a beautiful newsletter using Microsoft Publisher. We are grateful for Linda for giving us an unmatched newsletter.

As past LocSec, Barbara Ward’s leadership kept the cats herded as
she arranged restaurants and planned programs --as did Shirley Sims-Shepard’s preceeding her. Both did much more than they had to
and were great cheerleaders for North Alabama Mensa.

Ray Cassell has come in as Scholarship Coordinator and Valeta Wheeler is back as FSM Scheduler. Martha Williams continues her long and enthusiastic run as Gifted Youth Coordinator. The indispensable Lance Wright continues as Circulation Manager.

We lost some officers:
David Allen,Testing Coordinator and general cheerleader has moved to Milwaukee. David had taken the place of Richard Randall, a long-time testing coordinator and proctor who retired last year. Pamelia Jackson asked to serve as membership chair, but withdrew for personal reasons. (Maybe later, Pamelia!)

As implied above, the same group of people, with occasional welcome new infusions, perform all the jobs to keep our group alive, and many have been doing so for a period counted in decades rather than years.

As much as we love making possible local Mensa meetings and ser-
vices, a point has been reached where a rest is needed. We have many vacancies. The LocSec is the fallback person to perform those duties. I have it on good authority he will pick and choose. Viz., until an editor comes along the LocSec and his wife Louise will publish some kind of newsletter. It may not be pretty. The group has been discussing converting to a full page style so the electronic version will flow as well as the printed version. That will be implemented if our new ExCom and circulation manager concur. 

June 2014 - FIRST ANNUAL JUNE PICNIC  Sunday June 29, 2014, lunch at 1:00p.m.

Bring the family and a potluck dish or drinks and have a great time all day. Yes, we have rented the Small Pavilion at Monte Sano State Park east of Huntsville. It is Mensa's playground from sun-up to 30 minutes before sundown, so come and enjoy its use. Scheduled activities will begin at 12:30 with setup of the food and drinks. Martha Williams will
coordinate the BBQ grill.  After lunch, there will be balloon animals, then Linda and Brent Graves will lead a 1 1/2 mile hike sometime after 2 p.m. Louise Hardin will have some cerebral games and activities throughout the afternoon. Ad-hoc activity is encouraged! Don't forget hats, mosquito repellant, and suntan oil.

Details: To avoid paying at the gate, say you are going to the small  pavilion or use my name, not Mensa's. The small pavilion is at the far right and back of the picnic area. To unload anything from your car you must call the park office at 256-534-3757 to unlock the chain. Alcohol IS permitted but must be discreet. You must drink alcohol from cups, not containers. So bring cups. Bathrooms are at the large pavilion. There is a playground nearby. For other details please see or call any of the above named people. Rain or shine!

And now a sneak preview:
the FIRST ANNUAL JULY PICNIC is scheduled for the same time and place on Sunday, July 27, 2014. Shirley Sims-Shepard will coordinate. Her contact info is :Home: 256-355-xxxx or Cell: 256-565-xxxx.

July 2014

An invitation to attend by Travis Hardin
Old-timers, like everybody else, want to attend local meetings and talks that interest them. They like to meet old friends and new people. They like to read a preview or a speaker's biography for an upcoming event. Unlike in the past, they now learn those things mostly through Web-based social media. In the past -- ten years ago -- you might have gotten a monthly newsletter from each club. Cancellations and changes were learned from the group leaders by telephone, by phone tree, or by a group email. Times have changed. Communication is all electronic now and it's way beyond email. As a group leader or volunteer, you are expected to post announcements and even photos and files to the group Web page and to the group's pages you create on current popular social media pages: Meetup, Facebook, and Twitter. Mention your group on Reddit, Instagram. You'll need to maintain your Yahoo Group, your Google Group and your Web page.  You'll want to post your group's link and maintain pages on umbrella sites and at your national group's Web page. In summary, we have to be quite computer literate to communicate with our members.

CURRENT COMPUTER TOPICS FOR OLD TIMERS will be a weekly gathering of Mensans, Humanists, and other interested friends at the home of Travis Hardin, 235 Wells Rd., Meridianville. It will begin Thursday, July 3, and continue every Thursday afternoon from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. Bring a laptop or desktop with a 3-foot or longer Ethernet cable. Seven Ethernet ports are available, as is a giant living room monitor and a large table. And air conditioning. The technical level will be intermediate. Topics are subject to change, and the instructor will be the person attending who is most knowledgeable of that day's subject. People of all ages and sexes are welcome, as are old geezers. I work with Windows 7, Vista, and XP, and earlier OS's. Windows 8 will be accommodated. Apple computers lacking a Windows virtual machine will require you to adapt the material.

The initial meeting will wrap up at 5 p.m. with grilled hot dogs, beer, and soda. RSVP, if possible, for this first meeting by phone or email. Also I'll be happy to talk in advance about the planned subject or about a change in subject. The list of topics and discussion about Current Computer Topics for Old Timers is on
connected-codgers/ . It is not necessary to register with Yahoo! in order to participate in Yahoo! Groups. The basic mailing list functionality is available to any e-mail address, but a Yahoo! ID is required to access most other features.

August 2014 - Our Favorite: Martha Williams

When awards were handed out at the July Annual Gathering in Boston, MARTHA FELD WILLIAMS was presented a Chair's Award by chairman Dan Berg for her long service to children in the Huntsville community as Kids Trek coordinator on behalf of North Alabama Mensa. Martha was not present; but Iuka, Mississippi, resident and North Alabama Mensa member SHIRLEY JACKSON was there to receive the award to take back to Martha.

In accepting the award at July's dinner meeting, Martha said the award is not hers alone, but is in honor of the Kids Trek program and all of the people who have contributed time, talents, and enthusiasm over the years. That would include the majority of our members who attend dinner meetings and also many who attend Kids Trek and no other events. The Kids Trek program has been active since August 1988, Martha said.

Other important services guided by Martha over the years have included organizing, in 1994, the Junior Cadet Program for the National Space Society and organizing and conducting Mensa Kids Trek for Annual Gatherings from 1997 to 2010, including the World Gathering in 2006. In October, Martha and her volunteers will present the 27th annual  Chemistry Night at Oakwood University Chemistry Lab.
Many families, because their children have enjoyed Kids Trek fun activities and learning over the years, have a good feeling for Mensa. Only last month, three Kids Trek aficionados, children from one family, qualified for and joined Mensa!

The love, the talent, and the money that have been gladly given by Martha and her volunteers over the years have provided an extraordinary and lasting gift. Kids Trek children as well as former elementary school students of Martha's have kept in touch with her, and she with them, often into adulthood. No award has ever been sought. Yet none has been more deserved than this one.

Shirley Jackson also returned from the July 5th Annual Gathering with an Emerald Award to North Alabama Mensa "in recognition of their exemplary performance as a local chapter. Their commitment to serving their members and striving to provide a stimulating intellectual environment for their members is a credit to the organization."

October 2014 - A Program of Storytelling

From the always-busy brain of program chair Jimmy McWilliams came September’s Dinner Meeting program, which he called HULLABALLOO. It was a program of short stories, told or read by the attendees themselves. It was very successful, drawing a dozen storytellers. An author of medieval fiction revealed herself, as did a few military adventur-
ers, some travelers on the Orient Express, and a couple of romantics. There were stories of the old days on the farm. Attendance was over 30. Jimmy had no trouble attracting women to help him organize the event. Thank you Jimmy and ladies.

The opportunity has just opened for Mensa scholarship essays. The window for graduating students (or any student in

higher education in the coming year) to submit essays is September 15 to January 15. It’s all done on-line at . There are separate contests for Mensans and for non-Mensans. Contact local scholarship coordinator Ray Cassell with any questions.

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Last updated March 2016