(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)
I hope you have been well throughout the winter, once again. Some, I’m sure found it more challenging than those who have been able to go south and enjoy the sun.
The Association des familles Robitaille also survived the winter, but its future is bleak. The main factor impacting our Association’s ability to function is the reduction in membership combined with the growing cost of printing and mailing our newsletter Les Robitailleries. This is why our Association finally decided to go digital and issue no 81 has been delivered via Internet to most our members. In general, all went well and we received many positive comments which allowed us to establish a dialog with our members. There is still some tweaking to be done, and we are convinced we can continue to offer an interesting and user-friendly newsletter. Our main concern now is to make sure we have the correct email addresses and that you notify us when your address changes.
Some members of the Board are working to setup a Facebook page to remain in contact with all those who have an affective or bloodline connection with the Robitaille families. I sincerely hope that this social media will forge closer ties between members and even with non-members. Do not hesitate to participate and to make it known to your friends, relatives and members of your extended families.
A second factor will have a short-term impact on our ability to move forward, and it is the lack of succession at the Board of directors which is composed of nine members. We’ve been only eight members for several years now, and one of us will not renew his mandate in June. This shows a critical lack of succession and even a waning interest in sitting on the Board of directors.
One of the ways you can show your support for our current Board members’ involvement, is to come and attend our general annual assembly. It will be held on Sunday, June 19, at the historical site of the old Vincennes mill in Beaumont. This location is a showcase for the charm of this region. Thus, we are inviting all of you to come, take the time to talk with us on the future of our Association, share your projects and socialize with other members.
Again, I hope to greet you in person in Beaumont, on June 19!
Marc Robitaille, president