It’s an uncertain and challenging time for LLI, as it is for most of us. It seems more important than ever that we all participate in choosing the volunteers who will guide LLI over the next two years. We did. Ballots for the election of Bard LLI Council members went out to all LLI members via email on March 15. The poll closed on March 29 and more than two-thirds of LLI’s membership voted, in a turnout that was higher than last year’s. Nanci Kryzak was elected President, Linda Stanley as 1st Vice President, Robert Beaury as Treasurer, and Chuck Mishaan and Margaret Moran as members at large.
Our outgoing (as of July 1) Council members (Tom Esposito, Mary Deady, Susan Hirsch) and continuing officers and committee chairs (Robert Ingish, Nanci Kryzak, Deborah Lanser, Jill Lundquist, Emily Michael, Ann Miller, Chuck Mishaan, Cathy Reinis, Deborah Schwartz, Anne Sunners and Maddy Watterson) brought LLI a long way towards the capabilities it needs to navigate the future: a growing membership, major advances in technology to support operations, and well-defined and growing volunteer opportunities for membership.
They will continue to make major decisions about online learning and how and when we can safely come together again. Three new members will be invited to participate in the Council meetings as guests until they begin their terms on July 1. They will also participate in a transition training session in June that ensures continuity. Nanci Kryzak and Chuck Mishaan already serve on Council.
They have a lot of weighty decisions ahead of them. We’re sure you’d like to know more about these dedicated volunteers.
Nancy Kryzak, our incoming President, is a down-to-earth person with a lot of heart. Here are a few of her observations:
“The people who volunteer for LLI do it to serve the membership. Through thick and thin they are doing it. That’s my goal as well. We will continue to do that. I feel only gratitude for those who do what they do.
I have come to know so many members, and I think of them now more than ever. We continue to make plans for LLI and will return to campus when everyone can be safe. We’re now finding new ways to gather and to learn, and everyone is so creative and committed. We’re an amazing LLI.
For myself, I am trying to reach out to people I see in the normal course of my life even if they are not my close friends. We don’t know the real situation of many people we know. I can’t go and sit with them but an email and phone call means a lot to them and to me. We have to be there for people and to extend ourselves.”
And one little known aspect — Nanci is a great baker. She claims to make the best brownies on the planet. (We are looking forward to the day we see those brownies in the hospitality room). But she says she really does not like to cook. She gives all credit for her children’s health and wellbeing to her husband’s meals.
Linda Stanley, our incoming 1st Vice President, is modest about her long history as a volunteer. She described her role as a founder and ultimately president of the Rhinebeck Farmers Market this way:
“John Honey knocked on our door and said ‘We need a farmers’ market.’ I didn’t even know what that was. He sold me on the idea. I was one of 15 people who met every other week with Judy from the Cornell Cooperative Extension who helped us find the farmers, then we found a potential manager and worked with the village to make sure we had the go-ahead. Those of us who got it going eventually became the board. I loved the market once I figured out what it was.”
Her experience with Wilderstein was not so different. “I was asked to join the board and did. I didn’t know much about it, so decided to be a docent to learn more. I love that… Wilderstein has been very fortunate to have a great board over the years of people who were very committed to it. And it has a great director. It’s a wonderful volunteer organization because there are only four paid positions. It’s like LLI. It brings out the best in people because they have a real commitment to the organization.”
Asked about her aspirations for the Council, she said she would like to see the volunteer program moving forward and growing. “The organization exists because volunteers do the work. I want to support Nanci who has some innovative ideas. It’s great to have new members as volunteers and officers.”
And, as always, “I’ll learn more.”
Linda is an excellent cook and, with an eye to the times in which we are living, shares this recipe for two.
Robert Beaury, our new Treasurer, wears many hats. As a town supervisor, he also holds a seat on the Columbia County legislature and serves on most of the County’s standing committees, including the Economic Development Committee, which he chairs. The coronavirus shutdown has him setting up platforms for grants to help small businesses, recruiting a small army of volunteers to reach out to people needing food and other support; procuring hand sanitizer for the retirement home, school district, fire company, and the general public; making sure town employees are safeguarded from contagion; and participating in county business via remote meetings.
As an historian and political science teacher, Robert is particularly interested in late 19th and early 20th century American history – looking at the progressive movement, populism,
imperialism, xenophobia, racism, and sexism, and he sees many of the same issues in
play today. His class Lessons from Our Civil War, sadly cancelled as part of this spring’s semester, would have focused on that period and how those issues are reflected in society today. We really look forward to its being rescheduled in the future.
Why did such a busy man agree to be our Treasurer? Tom Esposito told him he was the perfect person for the job. “As town CFO, I’m used to making the numbers work.”
Chuck Mishaan was re-elected to Council as a member at large. He’s already very well known to the LLI membership through his class series Opera as Politics. Chuck has been busy behind the scenes as well. He’s part of a group of tech-savvy LLI members who are contacting SummerFest presenters to see if they would be willing to teach online, and making sure that those who are willing have the necessary technical skills to offer a successful class. He’s also working on creating an online format for LLI’s annual meeting — one that would allow members to participate.
An important aim of this work is, as Chuck says, “… to stay in touch with the membership, especially the social component. There is lots of educational material available online, but we have a special, unique organization we want to nurture even when we cannot be physically together.”
He felt the impact of social distancing particularly poignantly with the loss of his mother at age 96. “She died peacefully in her sleep, just from old age. But what was difficult was that we had only a small graveside ceremony and then an online memorial—which was very moving, but certainly outside of how we would traditionally mark someone’s passing.”
He’s looking forward to warmer weather and the possibility of having some social gatherings — appropriately distanced — in his backyard.
Margaret Moran was elected to Council as one of four members at large. She has lived her entire adult life in Dutchess County – first in Clinton Corners, then in Rhinebeck. She feels really fortunate to be here during this time of social distancing. She is able to continue her life in the outdoors – in this season, walking or hiking every day if weather permits. She’s looking forward to summer and her true love — kayaking. “It’s a mini-vacation in itself. I bought my kayak as a present to myself when I was 60.” Her favorite spot to kayak is at the Cape but you can find her on the Hudson on a calm, sunny day as well.
Her work as a Reiki master (a post-retirement profession), along with meditation and mindfulness practice has been very helpful in getting through our social isolation.
Margaret is passing some of her stay-home time doing some creative Zoom calls with her grandchildren up and down the East Coast. She and the grandchildren have been taking turns reading to each other at night, and she’s done some virtual babysitting as well — keeping a Zoom eye on the younger ones playing in their backyard.
Like so many of us, it was word of mouth that brought her to LLI. She sat on the Stanford library board with Bobbi Post, who told her about LLI and convinced her to join. “I loved being on a college campus and Bard is one of the most beautiful. It’s invigorating to have the students there.” After a stint as a class manager, she went to a Curriculum committee meeting. “One meeting and I never stopped going. It was the perfect spot for me.” Right now she is working with some SummerFest presenters to see if they could teach their classes online. Stay tuned.