It was a gorgeous day in a perfect venue in a lovely setting. Around 90 Bard Lifelong Learning Institute members gathered on Wednesday, June 15th, at the Montgomery Place Visitor Center Pavilion. We were together to thank the many hardworking volunteers who made the continuation of our LLI program able to operate amid the challenges of years of COVID 19 restrictions, and to encourage new members to find a place among the many LLI volunteer opportunities. Members wore their lanyards showing proof of vaccination as we greeted each other face-to-face, at last, with big smiles.
Food, Drink and Music
Robert Inglish, Membership Development Chair, and host of this wonderful social event, and Jill Lundquist, Planning and Evaluation Chair, greeted folks as they arrived, steering them toward the beverage and food tables. An array of delicious hors d’oeuvres and four selected wines was organized by Irene Esposito, Hospitality Chair, and provided by Parkhurst Catering. Energetic LLI member and former DJ Susan Simon kept the music going all evening.
Time to Socialize
What quickly became obvious was that event attendees needed time to greet, in person, fellow LLI members we had not seen in months or years, except on Zoom, especially those who had been on our minds and in our thoughts. Identifying lanyards became quite useful. The happy chatter went on in twos, and threes, and small impromptu discussion groups. The like-mindedness of many who wore bright summer-spring colors added to the festive atmosphere.
Time to Say Thanks and Look Ahead
Then it was time to reflect. Robert Inglish took the microphone and reminded us of what a difficult transition it has been since COVID 19 hit. “How many of you had used Zoom before two years ago?” he asked. No hands were raised. He acknowledged that it was a steep learning curve for EVERYONE and still is for some. Nanci Kryzak, our outgoing LLI President, spoke with pride and gratitude about how LLI responded to the challenges of covid. Carmela Gersbeck, Program Support Chair, encouraged new and old members to volunteer for a role in LLI. She stressed the rewards of volunteering, emphasizing that there is something for everyone to do to contribute, including those less confident with technology. Incoming LLI President, Robert Beaury, offered his heartfelt thanks to all LLI volunteers and some thoughts for moving ahead, including how much we have learned about tech tools like Zoom, how they can continue to be useful, and where we go from here.
Thanks to all who helped make this well-deserved and happy event possible.