By Karen Lane
Orlando Central Florida Chapter STC
How is your winter going so far? If your life is anything like mine, it’s going way too fast. Maybe because February is such a short month, maybe for other reasons, it seems as if deadlines approach as quickly as onrushing trains, and with as hefty an impact. But because most of us live in Florida, at least we’re not also grappling with record-breaking snowstorms as some of our northern neighbors are.
So since I’ve introduced a geographic reference, let me expand on that a little bit to tell you something about your fellow chapter members. If you’ve been paying attention you noticed a couple months ago that our 2012 State of the Chapter Survey results were collated so expertly by one of our members, Candace Du Lac, who is a student at UCF. Candace’s report was published on our chapter Web site (http://www.stc-orlando.org). Please visit the site and pull up the report, because it reveals information about who we are and what we hope to get from our membership.
In addition to the information you will find in the report, you may be interested in knowing a little bit more about our chapter members. At present we have 51 members, of whom 12 are students, 8 are regular members, 23 are senior members (5 or more years of membership), 1 is an Associate Fellow, and 7 are Fellows. We are spread out geographically: Our most distant member lives in Sweden and we have a members in California, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Kentucky. Fourteen of our members have addresses in Orlando, with the remainder sprinkled throughout Central Florida.
The fact that our membership is spread out over a wide area leads me back to a theme I wrote about last year, one I am now revisiting. Some of you participated in our Networking Meet and Greets last year. We held one in Brevard, one in Lake Mary, and one in the attractions area. Those who attended—members and non-members—were enthusiastic about the opportunity to meet other technical communicators, learn about our Orlando Central Florida STC Chapter, and catch up with chapter plans and events.
This year we are planning several such get-togethers. We will definitely have one in Brevard and one in Lake Mary, but we would also like to expand our reach and hold a couple of events in other places. If you would like us to hold a networking event in your area, please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let me know where you are and where you’d like to meet. These events are open to members and non-members, and there is no fee to attend. The chapter pays for snacks, and you buy your own drinks. We can hold them after work or on Saturday afternoon. When you let me know where you are, also mention your preference for weeknight or Saturday afternoon. If either is fine, mention that.
In other news, you will read elsewhere in this issue about the exciting changes to our meeting schedule, location, and fees. We hope we are making it easier for you to attend meetings and more attractive for you to become a member of the chapter. For membership information, check out the Society membership page (http://stc.org/membership/join-or-renew-now) or contact our membership manager, David Coverston (email@example.com). And don’t forget to RSVP for our February 21 meeting: http://stcorlando.eventbrite.com.
Next, if you have been thinking of becoming more active in our chapter and would like to get your toes wet in chapter leadership, we have a number of activities and positions that could use a volunteer or two. Some activities would require just a few hours work; others are a commitment for the year; and still others are in between. Make the chapter your own by volunteering. You will get more from it than you give, I promise. And you will also be earning Active Member points, valid towards earning a coveted Active Member shirt. When our June banquet comes around and your colleagues and friends are receiving their shirts, wouldn’t you like to be getting one, too? Contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) about volunteering; contact our Nominating Committee Chair, W.C. Wiese (email@example.com), about running for office.
And don’t forget our Rising Stars program. We support our chapter’s educational and professional development initiatives by fundraising through our Rising Stars program. You can contribute at several levels—no gift is too large or too small—and you will have the satisfaction of knowing that your tax-deductible contribution is used to fund scholarships and support the programs and speakers that you have come to expect and enjoy. To make a contribution or find out more, contact Erika Higgins (firstname.lastname@example.org), our Rising Stars chair.
See you next month—and stay cool!