Our weekend community has a parents committee. They host monthly events for the children and grandchildren of residents. These events are wonderful, family-focused gatherings and often revolve around a theme for the month. For example, every year they have an Easter Egg hunt, breakfast with Santa and Halloween Party.
Several years ago I could not find any information about the upcoming Easter Egg hunt. The year prior I provided the chairwoman of this committee minimal help with the event. My husband and I stuffed about 500 plastic eggs with candy. And, I dressed up in my Easter Bunny costume for photos with the bunny. But, there was no mention of this year’s event in our newsletter.
I called the office and inquired about details of the event. Apparently, there was no Easter Egg hunt this year. The chairpeople of the committee had resigned. They served on the committee several years and were ready to pass the torch. However, there were no people interested in taking on this job and it seemed the flames in the torch would die.
Each committee in our community has a board representative to work as the liaison between the committee and the board of directors. I called the board representative for this committee, Dan. He was thrilled to learn of my interest in helping. I couldn’t possibly let this event end. It must continue.
Dan and I worked together for a few weeks planning the event. He seemed reluctant to let me and my husband assist. My husband and I ultimately coordinated all the plastic eggs, cookie making and decorating and the visits with the bunny. Dan made sure there were real eggs to decorate and the event was advertised in the newsletter.
The Easter Egg hunt was a success. Dan was pleased with our work. He said he could not do it alone though and we would need a new chairperson. I eagerly stepped up for the job. As if I had never said a word about helping he continued to talk about finding a chairperson. Again, I offered my husband and myself up for members. And, again it was as if I had never volunteered. Was I not good enough to chair the committee? No matter how many times I offered my services Dan continued to say, “We need more people; we need a chairperson.”
We were sitting in the lodge following the event. I was dumbfounded that I was actually offering to lead this initiative and it was as if I was speaking another language. At that point, a woman walked up to us, and introduced herself as, Peggy. We began chatting with Peggy and filled her in on our conundrum. Peggy quickly perked up with interest and said she would love to chair the committee. Dan quickly agreed, although he reminded Peggy her plate was rather full and perhaps she might not have time. She argued and said she would have more than enough time. I spoke up again and said Chris and I would be happy to help. Finally, finally at this moment I was granted permission to chair this committee with the assistance of Peggy.
I’m a control freak. I like to manage a program from beginning to end and I like to do it my way. Having a co-chair was the most unappealing idea to me. I was not very good at delegating let alone sharing a project I embrace.
Peggy and I met a few times and planned our first money-making event. Our event was a cookout with children’s activities. I planned most of it and involved her as little as possible. I offered her a few small tasks and really didn’t include her in much of the planning.
The event was Memorial Day weekend. The event was one of the worst events we have ever had. We were lucky to break even. We had many fun events planned and great food; however, the only attendees were my family, Dan’s family and Peggy’s family.
At one point in the event Peggy, very kindly asked how she could help. I said everything was under control. She mentioned something about not really being in the loop and not up to speed on what was going on. At that point it hit me. This woman is my co-chair and I have selfishly excluded her from all of the planning. She is trying to help and I am just not playing well with others.
That moment in our relationship I decided it was time to put my ego to bed and work like a team. Peggy and I met and discussed our skill set. We talked about what we do well. We talked about what interests us least. We broke up the responsibilities of this committee according to our strengths.
Three years later our committee and the events we hold kick ass. We hold an event every month with the exception of January. Our most recent event included more than eighty children. The events and quality of events continually grow in attendance and interest. We have profitable fundraisers that allow us to hire wonderful entertainers and pull off fabulous events. We even have a Facebook page.
Our committee wouldn’t be a committee without Peggy. She lives full-time there while I am there part time. She does a great job of managing the administrate elements which I loathe. Now we both do a great job of brainstorming and coming up with fun activities and ideas for the children and grandchildren. It is a mutually beneficial partnership.
It was truly a growth experience for me. I learned it isn’t always about me. I learned I am not an island unto myself. I learned to be a partner. I learned to play well with others and as a result we have a thriving and fabulous committee which lends itself nicely to the residents of our community.