By Shyla Esko Bare, Board Vice-Chair
With the intention of not just providing information but also building community, the US Servas 2023 annual meeting was virtual so members across the country could attend. And they did. Eighty-seven people joined the meeting on June 3rd.
“Helped me to feel a real part of the community of SERVAS,” said long-time member Ginger. While Ellyn, who recently joined, commented that, “As a new member, this was so informative.” Zooming in together Mary and Jon said, “Well worth our time!” And Steve even requested that we have “More meetings like this monthly!!!”
During the meeting we heard reports from each of the five US Servas Branches – Governance, Finance, Member Services, Technology, and Community. We learned that the organization is financially running in the “green” -- and growing! We have gained 800 new members over the past 20 months, 90 of whom are between the ages of. 18 and29. And there’s more!This summer we are adding a new Friend level of membership. The SYLE (student youth language exchange) application is being revamped. Yosi McIntire, our long-time Peace Secretary was thanked for his service and the job description for his replacement was reviewed. We touched on some of the main uses of the US Servas website.
These are just examples of some of the business that was covered during the meeting. To discover everything that was shared, and to see the 2022 financial reports, read the Annual Meeting Minutes on the US Servas website or listen to the recording (link to video is in the minutes).
The community building portion of the meeting included a discussion about peace.Attendees went to breakout rooms to consider what it means for Servas to be a peace organization and what activities the group could engage in to contribute to peace. This brainstorming exercise produced a wide range of great ideas reinforcing the core concept of peace. When we reconvened, the Board Chair, Richard Weaver, facilitated a discussion of some of the ideas that had been brought up to reinforce our vision of peace.As attendee Johan stated, “I believe Servas’ commitment to peace and justice issues presents a strong way to attract younger and diverse membership who care deeply about social justice.”