By Iona Robertson and Maxine Anderson
Although the teachers of Parkland School Division have always been politically active and rather influential at the provincial level, it was not until 2007 that Irl Miller and Aileen Munro, retirees from Memorial Composite High School in Stony Plain, began to gather names and contact information of fellow retirees to charter a Retired Teachers’ organization in the area.
Their enthusiasm for and dedication to this project resulted in a “Spring Fling” luncheon, held on May 19, 2009. Fifty-four individuals attended and encouraged further social functions such as wine and cheese receptions, brunches, and lunches. In May, 2010 an interim executive was appointed to recruit members and organize a local branch of Alberta Retired Teachers’ Association (ARTA) in the Parkland area. Under the leadership of Irl Miller, Aileen Munroe, Dave Johansson, and Maxine Anderson along with several experienced organizers, local events were planned and membership steadily grew. On May 27, 2010, Parkland Area Retired Teachers’ Association became an official branch of ARTA. Today, we have a paid membership of sixty-three with new registrations received at each monthly brunch. In addition, we have contact information for over two hundred retirees residing within our area.
Today, PARTA is fully up and running with a slate of executive officers and plans to develop committees to fully serve the membership and preserve the heritage of this fledgeling group. The secretary, treasurer, and phone convener have established a database of retirees within the area and a webmaster is learning necessary skills for the time PARTA will have its own web page.
A Marketing and Management Committee is planned to develop promotional strategies and events to increase active membership and so is a Care Committee to receive and provide timely information in order to bring social acknowledgements from PARTA to families and members as required. A Historical Committee will organize and preserve records and branch information.
In 2013, the Members’ Handbook, Bylaws, Logo, and History were made ready for publication and distribution. The ATA Local No. 10 has graciously agreed to help connect retiring staff with our association by allowing us to attend meetings, place our contact information on their website, and include an invitation to our branch in their retired teachers’ information package. PARTA is now a contributing member of the GERTA Second Wind Conference, has members serving on ARTA committees, and is committed to informing the membership of both the benefits of membership in ARTA and in the local group. PARTA contributes to the local food bank and the Kinettes Christmas Hamper Project.
One of the mandates of the executive is to ensure vibrant leadership by allowing co-positions and shared responsibilities that will enhance personal retirement objectives and not burden individuals with unwanted roles. It is hoped that this approach will encourage participation by many and promote fellowship and purpose for our members.
As we continue into our future, it is expected that PARTA will work to provide information, social events, and volunteer opportunities as well as encouragement and support for its diversified membership. We intend to put out the word that PARTA is not only an organization of select, specific individuals but also welcomes a variety of like-minded retirees whose contributions will strengthen the group and ensure its success.
This article on the history of PARTA was published in the Winter 2013 edition of News and Views.