PRESIDENT’S ACCEPTANCE SPEECH
Carolyn McCafferty, WVGC President 2017-2019
Madam National President, SAR Director, Past Presidents, Officers of West Virginia Garden Club, members, and guests: I am humbled that you have chosen me to be your president. It is truly an honor to represent this great organization.
I thank all of the past presidents for their advice and support. Joan Tuckwiller was a friend to me, when I didn’t have many friends, Carolyn Patterson has always been an adviser to me, and Patty Arndt and Brenda Moore, have been my friends.
As your president, it is incumbent upon me to set goals for our organization, that we will work together to achieve. I have set my theme as, “Opening the Doors to the Future.” We need to remember our past, but not live there.
I realize that we have lost many garden club members over the years. And we have less clubs than we did, even one year ago, but we cannot dwell on what has already happened. If we do, we will loose more members and have even less clubs.
Those of us that are here, that members of garden club, are here because we love gardening, we love getting out there in the garden and getting dirty. We love the pride we feel when we see those beautiful flowers bloom or bring in an armful of vegetables we have grown ourselves. We plant because we know that great things are going to happen when we do. We don’t spend lots of time feeling bad, when a flower dies. We don’t like it, but we plant more seeds, more flowers, and the process begins again.
Guandi once said, “The future depends on what we do in the present.” Everything we as garden club members are doing now, will reflect on the future of this organization. Garden club has great people with great ideas, and because of that, I know that we can make great things happen!
To bring my theme to life, I have set up four K.E.Y.S., that I ask you to implement to Open those doors for us.
K–Keep Planting America
Nancy Hargroves, the National Garden Club President-Elect has set her theme as Plant America. In support of her and National Garden Club, we will share in that unified spirit, as we plant West Virginia. President Elect Hargroves has applied her theme to every kind of gardening. But my focus will be container gardens. It is such an easy way to show our cities and towns that we are a part of them. We want everyone to take notice of us, as if we just stood up and said, “Hey, remember us–the garden club?” We are alive and well! As we plant containers around churches, schools, public buildings, or even hang baskets down the streets of our towns, you are displaying your garden club’s love of gardening. And for your effort, I will be presenting a Presidential Award for the most outstanding container garden.
Are you a flower show judge? A landscape design consultant? An environmental consultant? Do you know what a flower show judge does? or a landscape design consultant? or an environmental consultant? Would you like to learn? WELL YOU CAN!! We have just the place for you! WE HAVE SCHOOLS!! Lots of garden club members work very hard to provide these schools for us. And we do not have nearly enough students. We need to participate in all aspects of West Virginia Garden Club. Just think of the many things you have yet to learn about flower design, landscape design, or our environment. I am challenging each and every garden club, to send at least one student to at least one school. The garden club with the most students attending this year, will be presented with a Presidential Award.
There are four people in my life, that are my pride and joy. I love spending time with them. They are: Hannah, Mya, Brynna, and Ella. They are my grandchildren. They are our youth. They are our future. John F. Kennedy said it best, when he said, “Children are the world’s most valuable resource, and it’s best hope for the future.” Every garden club wants to grow, to get new member–do we care the age? Why not get involved with a girl scout troop? or 4-H group? There is much they can learn from us, and much more, we can learn from them. I once read that, “Education is the most powerful weapon for change in our world.” Don’t be afraid to get out there and get involved with our youth. Get out there and bring on a little change! And for doing this, my third Presidential Award could belong to your garden club.
S–Saving Our Environment
“I don’t want to protect the environment, I want to create a world, where the environment doesn’t need protecting.” What a wonderful quote! My fourth key focuses on the way we treat our world. We need to do better–much better. National Garden Club says, “Renew, Reuse, Reduce, Reclaim.” They are taking steps forward by continuing and broadening their recycling efforts. We need to follow their initiative. Do you throw out old papers? ink cartridges? What about batteries? The list goes on and on. We are living on this planet as if we have another one to go to. I am asking garden club members to work to protect the environment around us. Recycling takes little effort on your part, but makes a big difference to our world. As my last award, I am offering you the opportunity to get creative with your recycling. Create something for your garden–from something else, and you could take home a Presidential Award for yourself.
It is my hope and expectation, that you will get excited and accept the challenges that I have laid before you. Together we can “Open the Doors to the Future.” George Burns once said, “I look to the future, because that’s where I’m going to spend the rest of my life.” We all plan to do just that. We need to be focused on our goals. We need to work to make West Virginia Garden Club, bigger and better. We need to get out there and–let everyone know what we are doing. We need to get out there and–learn more. We need to get out there and–experience life with our youth. We need to get out there and–renew, reuse, reduce and reclaim,”
I cannot close this evening, without expressing my gratitude to those who mean the most to me: I want to thank God, for without him, nothing is possible. My loving husband of 40 years, Dan, who has always supported me, no matter what I tell him I’m going to do. My wonderful daughters, Sara and Dana, who are my best friends. My son-in-laws, Mike and Brian, who I am thankful for everyday. My four granddaughters who bring joy and fun to my life. And last, my friend, Lea Ann Terrell, who never seems to say no, even when I asked one day, come on, join garden club–even if you don’t know how to garden!
I thank you for believing in me and once again, I want to express my gratitude for your love and support.