(Translated by David Robitaille, Vancouver)
Greetings Fellow Members
2017 – A Year Focusing on Change and Cohesion
Winter may not be over yet, but it has made its mark; whether through the loss of relatives or friends who were unable to make it to spring, or by the emergence of health problems for some of us following an interminable winter. But, to honor our ancestors, we must continue on our journey and set an example for those who follow us.
Over the past several months, your Association has put considerable energy into planning for the coming years. To this end, changes to our by-laws and regulations will be presented at our next general meeting. Out Association is active and alive despite a small but continuing decrease in our membership. All our projects are carried out by volunteers. We need your support through concrete actions, whether it be the renewal of your annual membership or suggestions for activities and topics of interest to all. We invite you to become proactive and in that way help create vitality in our Association and encourage others to act like you.
Closer to home, the Federation of Quebec Family Associations has suffered a 50 percent cut in government funding in the past two years, and has suspended its operations while seeking funding to resume operations. The Federation acts as the spokesperson and supporter for associations like ours and provides visibility and support for them.
Despite talks and promises of grants, no payments were made in 2016. I attended the annual general meeting of the Federation with René on March 25 to learn how the Federation plans to operate in the future, as many of us are wondering if we should leave the organization or not.
The Board of Directors of the Federation had to make many difficult decisions before it was too late. They let all their employees go, except one, and paid everyone what they were owed. The files were assigned to volunteers, and agreements were made with sub-contractors to continue offering the same services as before.
The Federation is aware that it must review its mission statement and that a new Board of Directors will be responsible for setting objectives, clarifying the financial situation, and finding new funding sources.
On the other hand, we learned that the Federation has contacts and relationships with some twenty active partners including government agencies, archives, libraries, history and genealogy societies, as well as the francophone Canadian, Franco-American, French, and Belgian communities which could be very useful to associations like ours, if they were better known and better used. A strong Federation needs strong associations,
I wish to thank all the generous people who, for many years have contributed to making the Robitaille Family Association both credible and well known. This recognition is shared by all those who engage actively in our Association as active members by participating in our activities and by offering their opinions on how the Association can improve.
May the light and warmth of spring be with us as we strive to realize our fondest hopes!
(Translation by Johanne Boucher, trad.A., Montréal)
After our annual general meeting (AGM) last June and after yet another meeting to elect the members of the Board of directors, we have voted for the status quo for the coming year in order to ensure continuity as the Association is facing major changes.
Here is the 2016-2017 Board of directors:
- Marc Robitaille, president
- Sonia Robitaille, vice-president
- Micheline Dussault, secretary
- Paul Robitaille, treasurer
The other Board members are:
- Louise Robitaille-Roy
- Marjolaine Michaud
- Pierre Robitaille and
- Florent Robitaille.
We extend our grateful thanks to these dedicated individuals.
This past summer was a busy period for all of us. In August, the Board members, our Commanders, plus a few members involved in the digital transition project, all met for a brainstorming session on the future of our Association. René Robitaille (St-Lambert) facilitated the discussion using a model that was published in the Journal Les Affaires (business newspaper) to help stagnating SMEs grow again.
First, we discussed the current state of affairs: little interest in succeeding to current Board members; slow but steady decline of the membership; information is provided to members but not everyone can access it; limited number of visits to our Website, though it has been revamped; the Familles Robitaille Facebook group seems to be thriving; our financials are sound; we will stop publishing a paper version of our newsletter Les Robitailleries on January 1, 2018, but how can we reach our members who do not have Internet; there are no examples of associations that have successfully implemented changes and no model at the Federation level.
The discussion that ensued, as you will read in the article that reports the results of this exercise, concluded that the need to work with our members and their families in the following manner: via our Facebook group, you can feature your region, the members of your family and their activities, refraining from gossiping, naturally. Maybe a Robitaille relative acted bravely, reached a milestone, had an important business success…
You can judge by yourself how entertaining or informative your story can be, all we want is that we get to know each other better.
In the coming months, we will try and setup lunchtime conferences or talks on various topics. We want to have a dynamic association and it is through your participation that we will achieve our goal.
I thank you in advance for your cooperation.
Your president for 2016-2017,